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The repercussions, ethics, and morality of a post-scarcity society:

scratching at .8, just hopin'
I'm detecting a potential derail/interesting topic here and here. See also this old thread.

So:
  1. Is it ethical or moral to create a post-scarcity society where people do not have to have a job to survive?
  2. It's arguable that this means they won't be taught responsibility, but let's look at the flip side: is it ethical or moral to force people to starve, when they could be fed, just to 'punish' them?
  3. A lot of people seemed to suggest that we should create a post-scarcity society, but still punish people who just want to lay on their asses all day. Is that ethical, moral, practical, or feasible? How do we go around looking for these people - mass surveillance? And would it create a culture of snitching, where the most vulnerable in society are encouraged to mark each other as layabouts?
  4. Is it moral or ethical not to establish such a society in a capitalist economy? Think about what this means for many economic sectors - people would work only for money to buy what they want. That means that your customer base no longer has to choose between money to spend on necessities and what they want to buy. That is potentially a huge amount of capital entering the economy. It also means that many jobs would no longer be filled by people who have no interest working there, which implies that employee performance and motivation would rise.
  5. What of immigration? If a country manages to become post-scarcity in truth, do they have the right to bar the doors to immigrants from the other, scarcity-economy countries? And there will be a lot of people at the gates of any such country that achieves post-scarcity.

I figured five questions would be enough to start discussion.

EDIT: I link two videos in this post. You should watch them if you're joining the conversation.

edited 12th Aug '13 3:33:11 PM by RadicalTaoist

 2 Blue Ninja 0, Sun, 11th Aug '13 8:18:26 AM from The Middle of Nowhere Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Plotting my Escape
I can only think of two books where I've seen a fairly realistic post-scarcity society described, both science fiction. One is Isaac Asimov 's robot novels, and I can't remember the title of the other off the top of my head.

The robot novels, no one has to work. In the early Spacer society, in fact, the only jobs that are considered worthwhile is 1) artist/author of some kind, 2) roboticist. That's it. People who don't do anything are kind of looked down on, but the longer their society stands the less people are doing either of those two jobs. Now, Spacer society is basically slavery taken to the extreme, with slaves that are literally programmed to be happy and obedient in their servitude, but there is clearly no lack of resources to go around.

The other one was a sci-fi novel about the first extra-solar colony, which was done by having frozen embryos brought up in artificial wombs and the children then raised the rest of the way by human-like robots until they could make their own society. They have no money, no barter system, everything that a person needs is freely provided due largely to some Applied Phlebotinum. But people who aren't working at something are looked down upon, more in pity than anger. The citizens take a great deal of pride in being able to do something useful, whether that's running the fusion plant, growing food, cleaning up the park, or building houses. The people who don't have the drive to find something to contribute aren't exactly ostracized, but they aren't exactly full members of society either.

In the current day, I don't think it's possible to build a post-scarcity society for one country without making it world-wide, because the country that had it would be besieged by immigrants, and possibly military forces, from everywhere else in the world. Both of my examples worked largely because the number of people involved was relatively small, population growth was controllable (or, in Spacer worlds, shrinking), and the labor force didn't hate their jobs.
The mark of a place joining the civilised section of the Internet is when it starts banning people being assholes in their space-Silas W
 3 Barkey, Sun, 11th Aug '13 8:44:50 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
I had this discussion with my roomate, who is currently on one of his depressed zeitgeist kicks and keeps mumbling about a resource based economy and the evils of the monetary system, despite having a great job that makes him lots of money.

There are a few particular problems that present themselves to me that I honestly can't think of a fix for, though there may be one out there.

The first is that there needs to be an incentive to work. Even if all of manufacturing and harvesting is automated, even if all the service jobs are automated, there will still be some people who have to work. People have to call the shots, set policy, repair broken systems, et cetera. No matter what, there will be jobs out there which people have to be doing. There is work to be done, and providing everything for everyone means there isn't any incentive to actually do any work aside from personal motivation.

The second, and more realistic to the current world version of this is that the type of places that would try to do this need to be able to get all the raw materials to manufacture these goods, even if construction is automated. This is going to involve interacting with the rest of the world, and the rest of the world isn't running on a resource based economy, it's running, more or less, on the same economic model as the rest of the world. If the US said "We will open food kitchens across the US which are free to eat at, and open stores which have all of your basic hygienic necessities available for free." There are a few problems posed by this. Who is going to be working in these places? Will they be paid or just volunteers? Who is paying for the materials and the places themselves? The government? With what money? Taxpayer money? Well if everyone wants to sit on their asses and have a free ride, where does taxpayer money come from? Is this infrastructure all going to be build, managed, and ran, all by volunteers for free? So for no charge, dudes are going to be out there cutting down trees to send to volunteer people who turn it into toilet paper which will be shipped by volunteer truck drivers to the hygiene store ran by volunteer people?

Do most people want to work? Yeah, I would like to think so. But they want to do the shit they want to do, if people had the option, they would sit around and be unemployed until a job that they feel is "a fit for them" or "is fun" comes along. Good job if you get a job that you think is rewarding or fun, I'm certainly happy that I have one that I feel that way about, but there are a lot of jobs that nobody in particular will think are rewarding are fun. Those jobs still need to be done, and there are two ways to incentivize those jobs, either because no other jobs are available and a job is necessary for survival, or by boosting the pay to where people want to do that job despite it being a shitty job. If you take away money, and you provide a free and unlimited social safety net to where if you want to just sit around on your ass and eat free food and wipe your ass with free toilet paper in your free house and never work, then who the hell wants to be the dude making toilet paper?

It's just not a sustainable model. Unless the entire world just falls on its own ass and collapses, and this model is being built and sustained from the very beginning on a worldwide level, it just isn't sustainable on that sort of scale. It can be sustainable on essentially a very small community-based scale, or a worldwide scale. There isn't really an in-between, because nobody has all of the resources needed right in their own backyard to get all those things done.

Then, there's ambition. I don't want to have the exact same shit everyone else has. I don't necessarily have gaudy ambitions, I don't have the goal that someday I'm going to own a Maserati, but there are things that I want which aren't necessarily going to be provided for everyone. It isn't sustainable to give everybody a massive mansion all to themselves, but if you want a massive mansion, how do you get one?

Personally, I don't want it to be viable or socially acceptable to just not work because it's your decision and you don't want to. While I'm a big fan of economic regulation, I do like capitalism. I don't like laziness. I like that you pretty much have to have a job to get by, I don't want people to get a free ride. Because other people will get a free ride, and that free ride has to be paid for. And it's going to be paid for by people who are actually working. That isn't fair, it's punishing people for wanting to be successful and saying "The free ride is obviously the better choice." I don't like the idea of incentivizing freeloading.

I do, however, support the existence of welfare programs and the social safety net. After a fashion, I'm all about it. It's just that I feel we need to have federally funded job placement and job training programs for people who are out of work and actively looking. If you're out of work and you aren't actively looking, I don't particularly want you to be helped. I'd rather you either changed your tune and started looking, or you fucking starved, I don't particularly care about those people. But if you're struggling to find a job, I'm 110 percent behind tax breaks for hiring people who are unemployed, federally funded training to give people skills and certifications, and people there to assist in resume writing and interview skills, and being able to help people get by in the time between and overall improve themselves.

I believe we're a species made special by our ambitions, I don't want us to be a bunch of lazy assholes sitting in lawn chairs and drinking beer while robots do all the work. Maybe it's just because of the way my own personality is built that I have that worldview, but even short of money, I'm a career driven guy. I derive my purpose from my work, if I didn't have a job and wasn't forced to have a job, I don't know what the hell I would do. Probably sit around trolling the internet, getting really fucking fat, and playing lots of videogames. I'm someone who needs to have a job. And I want to get paid for it, because I want to go get things that I want. Short of technology that lets us materialize any items that we want out of thin air with no resource cost, a post-scarcity society isn't sustainable or possible in the long term, unless you shrink down the level of material wealth and use of the entire world by a massive order of magnitude. My ambitions are tempered and measured by my realistic financial expectations for myself. If a post-scarcity society requires that we all live like rats and don't get to have our own material things, I don't really want to live that way, and that's what it seems to require, a massive drop in the standard of living for first world countries so that we can bootstrap everyone else up to that same and equal level.

edited 11th Aug '13 8:47:43 AM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 4 optimusjamie, Sun, 11th Aug '13 8:56:39 AM from Mega-City One Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
I would say that a post-scarcity society would only be sustainable if it were a spacefaring one, sort of like Star Trek: instead of laying around being hedonistic, everyone who is able goes off into space to explore strange new worlds, etc.
 5 Dr Tentacles, Sun, 11th Aug '13 9:00:47 AM from your bed. Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Cephalopod Lothario
I haven't had enough coffee to respond to every point (I plan to) but the part about people having no incentive to work caught my eye. The general line of thought is that people will-and do-want to work. We like to work. But we like to feel like we've accomplished something. In a post scarcity society, the general assumption is that people will have the incentive to do the things that they enjoy-work, in a sense, but work that's "pleasent" not slaving over a McDonald's grill.

I think this is largely a correct assumption for most people,

I'll try to cover the rest of your points later, once I've had coffee.
And who are you, the proud lord said, that I must bow so low? Only a cat of a different coat, that's all the truth I know...
 6 Wildcard, Sun, 11th Aug '13 9:02:14 AM from Somewhere in the galaxy
Go! Fly! Win!
I think the post scarcity society would work if the incentive to work was to acquire luxuries. While all the needs were taken care of for you. Basically you get a decent hot meal at home, but if you want to eat out at a fancy restaurant you have to work.

[up]Essentially yes, no skill or easily replaceable jobs won't need to be done by humans and humans can take the better ones as incentive to work. Humans want to innovate to create, they don't want to be expendable, and the only incentive most people have to work expendable jobs is the money. Stuff like that won't need a human hand.

edited 11th Aug '13 9:04:26 AM by Wildcard

Whatever tomorrow brings I'll be there. With open arms and open eyes.
Pretty much agreed with Barkey. The purpose of welfare should be to help people get back on their feet and start being productive, or helping them to learn marketable skills so they can do the same, not to give people a free ride.

On the other hand, if you want to subsidize the lazy, there's nothing stopping you from opening your wallet. Just don't try to open mine.

 8 Wildcard, Sun, 11th Aug '13 9:13:58 AM from Somewhere in the galaxy
Go! Fly! Win!
What does this have to do with the welfare system? If the resources were unlimited as the idea implies than there would be no need for the program or we would all be on it until we get income.

How it works now is okay though, 91% of people on welfare work.
Whatever tomorrow brings I'll be there. With open arms and open eyes.
 9 Barkey, Sun, 11th Aug '13 9:16:52 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
One of the points I was making is that there are some jobs people don't want to do that can't quite be automated or done by robots, not at any point in time realistically soon.

One thing I'm happy with is that robotic or automated police officers aren't happening anytime soon, not until long after I'm dead. And that opens the AI making decisions can of worms.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 10 Wildcard, Sun, 11th Aug '13 9:19:56 AM from Somewhere in the galaxy
Go! Fly! Win!
Such as? I understand something like a police officer or a fireman can't be automated, but why in twenty years couldn't say a cashier or a fry cook be automated?
Whatever tomorrow brings I'll be there. With open arms and open eyes.
 11 Best Of, Sun, 11th Aug '13 9:25:00 AM from Finland Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC!
Barkey, I think your post describes the attitudes of most Western people. And that's why I don't think a post-scarcity society is impossible. People need something meaningful to do, and people have differing preferences regarding the things they want to do in their free time and the things they want to have in their home; so people will work.

Also, I don't know about the US but in Europe most feel an obligation to work for their society. After all, it's the society that brought us up. Even without a hand forcing us to work most Europeans would probably feel compelled to make sacrifices to maintain and improve their society. And I'm almost certain that it's the same for most Americans.

The shitty jobs could be rotated somehow - you do it for a couple of years and then someone else takes your shift and does it for a couple of years. They'd get some kind of reward that is superior to the default, and when they're released they'll feel that they've made a contribution.
Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
 12 Radical Taoist, Sun, 11th Aug '13 9:37:20 AM from the #GUniverse
scratching at .8, just hopin'
I feel that there is a big effect your starting assumptions about human psychology have on your position in this debate. I think people want to work. People want to do shit. No one likes being idle. I know people who have been on the couch playing Xbox all day because their job search skills sucked and there wasn't work they could pick up easily, living off government assistance. Sounds fun, right? They fucking hated it. Would have jumped for a half-decent job if that job was there and looking for them.

The thing is, as Barkey noted, while people like doing stuff, they don't like being told to do something they don't like doing. Rewards and punishments don't seem to matter as much as intrinsic motivation and purpose. (If you ignore the rest of my post, watch the two videos I just linked. They'll blow your socks off.) So we need to adjust our systems of incentives accordingly.

That said, if we have to pay by job unpopularity, I'm totally cool with paying the guy who cleans toilets more per hour than we pay financial executives. I can live with that.

ALSO: What Wildcard and Best Of said. I would disagree with
How it works now is okay
though.

edited 11th Aug '13 9:45:50 AM by RadicalTaoist

 13 Barkey, Sun, 11th Aug '13 10:10:16 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
I can see trying to automate the simpler jobs and the Mc Jobs that are low wage anyway, but I guess in a big way what it comes down to for me is that I have a lot of contempt for the people who pass up jobs they have a chance at because they don't think they would like them.

If you can get a job you like, great. But that isn't the reason you get a job, you get a job to be productive and get that cash money and most grown adults have realized this. Even though I like my job, it can be pretty shitty sometimes. I definitely don't want to come into work every single day, I'd work half as much if I just got to decide on if I wanted to come in or not.

But that wouldn't work at my job, we need people to reliably be there. I can't just not show up, the mission would fail if we just decided not to get out of bed sometimes. Those aren't conditions an operation can run on. And if people have nothing to lose by losing their job, that's the attitude they will have.

I like the way things work right now. They could use a healthy bit of tweaking in the form of reasonable oversight and regulation as well as closing lots of tax loopholes, but overall I feel the whole "Go to work, get paid" philosophy is superior to anything else out there right now. People shouldn't be sitting on their asses, and lots of people need to be less goddamn picky about where they work. The friend that was mentioned with the shitty job skills? Then he needs to improve those job skills. Jobs don't look for you, you look for them. That's just fucking lazy.

EDIT: ^ Regarding your videos Taoist, I'll agree that they are good, and I wholly agree with them. It also highlights something worth talking about kind of in relation to my earlier comments about why I like my job and feel like it's my purpose, to do my job.

This isn't anything specifically related to what the military does, it's not about the jobs that my chosen career does, but how our particular culture treats it. To borrow from that penny arcade video where it talked about how if you're a tank or a healer, you know exactly what your job is and why it's important. That's something that gets stressed a lot in my chosen field, and it's something that more places in the private sector need to put some effort into to give their employees a greater sense of participation and worth in doing their jobs. Your MOS(military occupational specialty, or the code for the specific job you do) is pretty specific there. You might do other things, or you might specialize, but overall I can look at people on base and go "That dude is a cop." "That dude is a mechanic." "That dude works in supply." "This person is a finance clerk." The more mundane a job is, the less it is held up by others and praised, which leads people further off the beaten path to seeing the value in their labors.

As an example, my job is being military police. My purpose is really clearly outlined, protect the base and the people in it. That's my job description, 110 percent. My purpose while I'm at work is to keep everyone safe. That can be responding to medical emergencies, making sure people are behaving in a safe manner while driving, dealing with combative individuals, et cetera. I'm an enabler to our overall mission. Another guy might fabricate spare parts for aircraft. He goes through his whole career knowing why he does what he does. He takes raw materials and makes the spare parts that our planes need to keep flying. Without people like him, we would be grounded, and we wouldn't be able to accomplish our mission. The military is a very driven organization in that manner, your MOS or branch equivalent is what you do, and it's explained to you very in-depth, and why it's important. If you fuck up and make a mistake, the consequences and echoes of your actions will get explained to you in no uncertain terms. If someone doing my job isn't paying attention at the gate, you'll hear someone explain "What if someone sneaks by you and kills a bunch of people or blows up some of our planes? Then the entire mission is tanked and those people are dead! So do your damn job!"

What I'm getting at here isn't that the military is one of the only career fields where it works like that or can work like that, any job can be explained in such a way. Every job has some sort of purpose, otherwise it wouldn't exist because it wouldn't be needed. What I am saying though, is that the overall workplaces at large don't take the time to make sure their employees grasp that concept. If you're the guy who does quality control on an assembly line for car parts, then it needs to be hammered into his skull that if he slacks and lets a bad part go by, a car could fail at a critical moment and people could die. Or that bad parts will lead to people having an opinion that your product is a shoddy one. I think it's of paramount importance to explain to the people under you how they fit in to the whole master plan, so they can derive that purpose or meaning in why they come to work. Sometimes people figure that out on their own, but for managers and supervisors, that should be an issue of paramount importance, and it frequently isn't.

When we work, we're all working towards a goal, there's a good reason for the work we do, and people need to take the time to think about what that reason is. Is it to produce a superior product? To protect other people from harm and keep them safe? To be part of a team that is crucial in enabling others to do things of great importance? It's one of the things that my private sector experiences have never really had. Unless you can derive that satisfaction on your own, or you just have pride in your own efforts, it's a connection that often needs to be made from the top-down in an organization, and it's definitely an important one. Going back to that penny arcade video, when people have a purpose(in the cobbler example) they know why they are valued. But with things being on a global scale the way they are now, people need to really put conscious effort(or have someone help them) realize why what they do has value, even if you might not get a chance to see the finished product and visually appreciate the end result.

edited 11th Aug '13 10:31:21 AM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 14 Achaemenid, Sun, 11th Aug '13 10:19:31 AM from Mitakihara Town, Copenhagen Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Personally, I am continually astonished by the American attitude to work whenever I'm there. US workers seem to put up with a lot more shit than their British counterparts; sometimes this is an admirably strong work ethic, other times it seems akin to bending over backwards for the company.

edited 11th Aug '13 10:19:42 AM by Achaemenid

Sie gönnen mir nicht Schleisien und die Grafschatz Glatz,

Und die hundert Millionen in meinem Schatz!
scratching at .8, just hopin'
On the other hand, if you want to subsidize the lazy, there's nothing stopping you from opening your wallet. Just don't try to open mine.
What if you're better off?

I'm serious. What if the return you get in a post-scarcity economy is greater than the cost you pay for maintaining a post-scarcity economy? What if you end up getting more from the boost in economic activity when everyone is free to spend money without fear of starving? What if you get more back?

In such a scenario, wouldn't I be punishing you by not opening your wallet? And wouldn't it be a rather lose-lose attitude not to?
If you can get a job you like, great. But that isn't the reason you get a job
Why not?

Again, I'm serious. I get that your job, and a lot of jobs like it (in medicine, emergency response, stuff like nuclear power plant maintenance, etc.) have to be done. It's quite good that you have that attitude towards your job.

But what is wrong with getting a job primarily for fulfillment and pushing your skills? There's a lot of jobs that just do not work if they're not done by people who are passionate about what they do. Again, Wikipedia was built by volunteers. Take academia - a lot of academics really get paid for giving lectures, marking assignments, and attending boring ass department meetings. The meat of the job - publishing, research, mentoring - they'd do for free. And the work wouldn't get done if it wasn't done that way. Carpentry. Social work. Civic planning. Software design. Why would you not want these jobs to be done by the people who love doing it for the sake of the thing?

And what better way to match these people to these jobs by making sure they're free to pursue the work they love to do - by making sure they're not scared of starving if they don't accept the work they're forced to do? At some point the output in productivity outweighs the cost of feeding and housing everyone. We can feed and house people very cheaply.
People shouldn't be sitting on their asses, and lots of people need to be less goddamn picky about where they work.
This makes more sense to say when we're not in the worst economic recession since the Depression, when entry-level jobs are disappearing now that companies can hire experienced people for lower-paying position and shove the rest off on unpaid interns, and when minimum wage jobs do not pay enough to live on.

Which is another reason to pursue a post-scarcity economy. Nothing drives up wages like worker independence; take away the fear of starvation and homelessness, and people just won't do the jobs unless you pay enough for them to buy the stuff they're interested in. Drive up worker wages and drive down cost of living, and you drive up consumer disposable income; economic growth follows after.
The friend that was mentioned with the shitty job skills? Then he needs to improve those job skills. Jobs don't look for you, you look for them. That's just fucking lazy.
Again: do you think he liked that? You don't need to punish people in that situation more; they know it sucks.
 16 Barkey, Sun, 11th Aug '13 11:00:35 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Again: do you think he liked that? You don't need to punish people in that situation more; they know it sucks.

Fucking adapt. "I can't not be lazy!" isn't an excuse. It's not a valid reason for not doing anything.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
[up]

to be fair. getting valid job skills might mean 40k in debt to a school.
Going Forth!
scratching at .8, just hopin'
Again: he did adapt. He has a job in security now, watches the door for events and apartment buildings. The point is, do you think the threat of starvation and living on the street helped?
 19 Barkey, Sun, 11th Aug '13 11:38:33 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Would he have sat around playing xbox and not looking for jobs because of his "poor job searching skills" infinitely if there wasn't the threat of homelessness and starvation?
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 20 Meklar, Sun, 11th Aug '13 12:03:00 PM from Milky Way Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
@OP:

1. Absofuckinglutely. The fact that there is even contention over this, to me, is just evidence of how sadly primitive a lot of our cultural philosophies still are.

2. Punishment itself is only justifiable to the extent that it is worthwhile for the purposes of deterrence, security, or revenge (all three of which are, at various levels, necessarily only because of inadequacies in human thinking). Starvation probably isn't a good punishment most of the time.

3. It's not moral, it's not practical, and it's probably only feasible in the short term, until people get used to the idea that having to suffer through work is no more necessary or good than, say, having to suffer through smallpox (not very many people miss smallpox).

4. See (1).

5. The question is, will the immigrants reintroduce problems that have been eliminated, or new problems for which no total solution is yet known?

I believe we're a species made special by our ambitions, I don't want us to be a bunch of lazy assholes sitting in lawn chairs and drinking beer while robots do all the work.
Having ambitions doesn't mean having to slog our way there. Moreover, if an automated economy can guarantee everyone a basic supply of food, shelter, health and entertainment, that would give us all a lot more free time in which to sit down and think about the long term and what we really want to do next as a civilization. It doesn't really matter whether we know right now what answer we'll come up with at that point. Even just having the freedom to pursue ambitions rather than necessities would be a huge step forward.

scratching at .8, just hopin'
Would he have sat around playing xbox and not looking for jobs because of his "poor job searching skills" infinitely if there wasn't the threat of homelessness and starvation?
No, he wouldn't have. It got boring (and he didn't have money to buy new games). People don't like feeling like bums.

@Meklar: Elaborate on your answer to 5; I'm intrigued.

edited 11th Aug '13 12:08:15 PM by RadicalTaoist

 22 Ogodei, Sun, 11th Aug '13 12:15:21 PM from stalking Sakaki
go on, pet him
The threat of living on the street and dying certainly is a motivator, but when people get *really* motivated like that, bad things tend to happen. This is where we get crime, selling yourself into slavery, and revolutions and such. If you keep people's basic needs met, they're far less likely to turn to crime, and give them the idea that "okay, i'll be fine without a job for a while, so let me look for something productive to do" is more likely to lead to someone doing something good with their life rather than bad.

 23 Meklar, Sun, 11th Aug '13 12:21:18 PM from Milky Way Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
Elaborate on your answer to 5; I'm intrigued.
Well, it's just the obvious problem: That a post-scarcity society that works because the people in it managed to agree to make it work might stop working if lots of people with very different ideas arrive from elsewhere. Even if the automated economy could technically support any number of totally idle people, immigrants with the wrong ideas could actively damage its efficiency by trying to control things for themselves or carry out feuds that the native society has already outgrown. If this keeps happening and threatens the stability of the economy or the lifestyles of the natives, they might decide to close their gates rather than risk everything they've already achieved.

 24 Blue Ninja 0, Sun, 11th Aug '13 12:24:09 PM from The Middle of Nowhere Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Plotting my Escape
We like to work. But we like to feel like we've accomplished something. - Dr. Tentacles
Pardon me if this seems a little Devil's Advocate here, but why isn't being a Mc Donald's cook "accomplishing something"? You're feeding dozens, if not hundreds, of hungry people every shift. It's looked down on as a job because it's not seen as "glamourous" or "skilled" even when it's necessary, right along with jobs like trash collecting, stocking shelves, or yardwork. Maybe if people stopped treating minimum wage jobs as some kind of horrific basic step to "the ultimate job" we wouldn't have quite this much of a problem.
The mark of a place joining the civilised section of the Internet is when it starts banning people being assholes in their space-Silas W
Well, for starters:

It's not a job that produces skills you can carry to any job. Mc Food jobs are a specific skillset that is only relevant in that occupation. It's not even like being a butcher or chef, where learning how to cook or prepare food is useful in everyday life.

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