, ScanIAm wrote

I agree with the ideals of taking people out of hard or dangerous work, but unless we pull them off the game board, they still need something to do.  The bootstrappers who complain about freeloaders aren't going to allow those folks to work less hours through public support, so again.  I'm not hearing any actual solution to what they will do. 

Yes, if we automate stuff lots of unskilled jobs vanish in the naieve very short term, but if a consequence of doing so means that we can compete once again with countries like India and China by being able to build stuff reliablycheaply and at scale then those unskilled workers can work in my big callcentre selling our cheap wares to joe average in China, India and around the world.

It seems to me that deciding not to automate because we have lots of people is a pretty silly notion. Unskilled labour in the west is far too expensive for a global market. If someone in China is willing to sew socks for $1 a day, we shouldn't try and compete on their terms. If we're going to compete, we need to do it with technology.

Unskilled people slot into the workforce when the economy is good because there's money to go around and because demand is high. The worst thing we can do for our unskilled workforce is to cripple our own economy by failing to update it to be competitive - because in a recession, unskilled workers are the easiest to fire, the most likely to find it hard to get jobs and the most rapidly shrinking part of the economy.

So I contest quite the reverse. If we automate more, we'll be more competitive, which will drive the economy to have higher exports, leading to more domestic jobs which can be filled by unskilled labour.