Technostism is a sociopolitical philosophy concerning the effects of automation and artificial intelligence on traditional economics while seeking to profit from these developments through various methods. The current primary theory supports the creation of worker-run co-operatives as a method of dealing with technological unemployment, as well as an alternative to or extension of a Universal Basic Income. Technostism also refers to a case of workplace automation, or the pursuit of automation.
Etymology[edit | edit source]
The term 'technostism' derives from the words 'technology' and 'gnostism' and initially was nothing more than a futurist byword for "knowing the outcomes of technology."
Fundamentals[edit | edit source]
Technostists are defined by these five basic ideas
- Advancements in technology will beget artificial general intelligence capable of learning new skills at an equal or greater level than humans
- The cost of automation will decrease and become affordable to even the poorest of people, dubbed the 'event horizon'
- The application of intelligent automation alongside several other important technologies will decentralize politicoeconomics to a point of near anarchy, while also replacing the working class with the technotariat as the only profitable means of labour.
- The current mode of neoliberalism cannot survive such a transition without heavy government intervention
- The inability to prepare for the transition will cause a socioeconomic collapse before the event horizon can be met unless technostism is pursued.
Technostist Economy[edit | edit source]
Technostism alone is neither capitalist nor socialist— it is simply the pursuit of automation with the aim of reducing the need of labour. In practice, however, it may follow traditional economic models.
Relation to modern capitalism[edit | edit source]
Capitalism is "production for exchange" driven by the desire for personal accumulation of money receipts in such exchanges, mediated by free markets. The markets themselves are driven by the needs and wants of consumers and those of society as a whole. If these wants and needs would (in the socialist or communist society envisioned by Marx, Engels and others) be the driving force, it would be "production for use". Contemporary mainstream economics, particularly that associated with the right, holds that an "invisible hand", through little more than the freedom of the market, is able to match social production to these needs and desires.
Both the inputs and outputs of production are mainly privately owned, priced goods and services purchased in the market. Production is carried out for exchange and circulation in the market, aiming to obtain a net profit income from it. The owners of the means of production (capitalists) are the dominant class (bourgeoisie) who derive their income from the surplus product produced by the workers and appropriated freely by the capitalists.
A defining feature of capitalism is the dependency on wage-labor for a large segment of the population; specifically, the working class (proletariat) do not own capital and must live by selling their labour power in exchange for a wage.
Relation to Marxism[edit | edit source]
According to Marxism, capitalism is a system based on the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. This exploitation takes place as follows: the workers, who own no means of production of their own, must use the means of production that are property of others in order to produce, and, consequently, earn their living. Instead of hiring those means of production, they themselves get hired by capitalists and work for them, producing goods or services. These goods or services become the property of the capitalist, who sells them at the market.
One part of the wealth produced is used to pay the workers' wages (variable costs), another part to renew the means of production (constant costs) while the third part, surplus value is split between the capitalist's private takings (profit), and the money used to pay rents, taxes, interests, etc. Surplus value is the difference between the wealth that the proletariat produces through its work, and the wealth it consumes to survive and to provide labor to the capitalist companies. A part of the surplus value is used to renew or increase the means of production, either in quantity or quality (i.e., it is turned into capital), and is called capitalised surplus value. What remains is consumed by the capitalist class.
Marxism sees the proletariat and bourgeoisie as occupying conflicting positions, since workers automatically wish their wages to be as high as possible, while owners and their proxies wish for wages (costs) to be as low as possible.
Technostist transition[edit | edit source]
The technostist mode of thought asserts that capitalists will compete to pay the lowest wages and earn the highest profits by refining their capital until the capital is capable of working autonomously, producing goods and services without the proletariat's involvement and capable of renewing itself indefinitely, thus freeing capitalists to the profits. However, without the proletariat to act as a consumer class, there will be an extreme oversupply of products incapable of being exchanged on the market. With little to no exchange occurring, the existing economies collapse. If there's no attempt towards extending ownership to the proletariat or providing financial aid to those unemployed, the result could be a widescale purge of either the former workers or the capitalists.
If ownership is extended, or if worker ownership is attained before the event horizon, the result will be a vastly smoother transition period.