Letters to the Editor: Embrace a future of shorter hours and shared wealth
Published 02/08/2014 | 02:30
I REFER to an article by Mr Brendan Keenan in the Irish Independent, July 31, 2014; "the machines will take our jobs if we don't get smart".
The machines are taking our jobs because we are smart; amazingly smart. Smart to genius levels of innovation and invention in automation that can do practically everything better, faster, more efficiently and in greater quantity than human labour ever could.
What is not so smart is pretending such technological development has no economic impact whatsoever and idiotic persistence with economic ideology and policy outdated and irrelevant in unprecedented conditions of abundance and leisure.
Those who consider it at all delude themselves that automation eliminates only manual work; in reality every profession or task from scientist to scavenger is in the mix.
Complacency and optimism that we are "recovering" is extraordinarily misleading and dangerous. We don't need "recovery"; we need to adapt to the best economic conditions that ever existed. In such abundant economic conditions we no longer need to, or can, sustain "growth".
Economic growth was possible and very necessary as long as we could never produce enough. While there was shortfall between what we could produce and what we could consume there was opportunity and need for growth. Now that we can grossly overproduce practically everything, growth is a no no; unnecessary and unsustainable.
A recent report from the EU itself of more than 50pc elimination of jobs is being ignored by idiotic self deception.
For the first time in history we can produce everything in abundance without having to work very hard. We either recognise, embrace, adapt and enjoy our amazing good fortune or we ignore, deny and pretend it never happened and precipitate absolute employment collapse. We appear hell bent on the latter.
Generating jobs is the greatest and most urgent challenge humanity faces. Secure employment with pension entitlements is what keeps society from disintegration.
We can achieve it only by spreading work as widely as possible, shorter hours, longer holidays and earlier retirement.
Luckily we have the means to finance it; the machines create the wealth, we need employment to share it out.
Education into the future will be more for life and society rather than a job. We will always have the 20pc/30pc workforce inventing.
Innovating and providing crucial services probably working every hour available.
The remaining 70pc/80pc employment will be very different indeed; an exercise of dignified inclusion in society rather than performing vital hard work tasks.
Padraic Neary, Sligo
Wait to rejoin Commonwealth
In response to Lord Kilclooney's letter on Thursday 31 about his despair of our absence from the Commonwealth Games, I suggest we wait until the 1916 commemorations before we rejoin.
President Higgins could even sign the agreement on the steps of the GPO while the Proclamation is being read out.
Keelan O'Neill, Tullow, Co Carlow
Hamas must be disarmed
In response to Zoe Lawlor and Mags O' Brien's letter, I must object to the one-sidedness and imbalance. Israel is defending its citizens against the continuous bombardment by Hamas. They claim that Palestinians citizens are being held captive, and they are correct in that, but they are being held captive by their own leaders. Israel is not an occupying power, they withdrew fully from Gaza in 2005.
It was repaid with rockets, rockets launched indiscriminately at civilian targets.
Israel enforced a blockade and built a wall to stop suicide bombers from murdering its civilians and to stop Hamas from launching even more attacks. Hamas is using building equipment and cement to build terror tunnels, it is not using them to enhance the lives of its citizens. Hamas is not building schools or hospitals, instead it is launching rockets from them. It has also been found to be using UN schools to store weapons and rocket ordnance. While Israel develops the Iron Dome to protect its citizens and builds shelters, Hamas build tunnels.
There cannot be peace in the region until Hamas relinquishes power and withdraws its charter - the charter that states that only the complete annihilation of Israel and its citizens (Jew, Arab or Christian) is achieved. Jordan, Qatar, Israel and a reformed Hamas must solve this issue together. Hamas started this. Israel must endeavour to end it as soon as possible to ensure that there are no more civilian deaths, on either side, but Hamas must be demilitarised.
Jason Davis, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford
Israel betraying its past
I am ashamed to belong to this 'Godless' body the EU, including Ireland, which does not have the moral strength to vote against the slaughter of the innocents.
Israel is betraying the memory of its own past suffering; the trapped of the infamous Warsaw Ghetto has parallels with those now caged in the Gaza strip with no escape from the missiles. Israeli aggression created Hamas and its killing machine will create even more extreme terrorists or is that 'Freedom Fighters'?
John-Patrick Bell, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim
Hatred behind criticism
It needs to be asked why people never get emotional and righteousness about other conflicts in the world, only whenever a conflict involves Israel. Over the past three years hundreds of thousands of Muslims Arabs have been killed by other Muslim Arabs and the ancient Christian communities in the Arab world have been systematically destroyed. Yet the letters pages of Irish newspapers have been empty about all that.
Also, thousands of Palestinians have been killed in Syria in recent years, yet nothing has been said about that either. One can only conclude that such people have only one motive: sheer hatred of Israel.
Dr Derek O'Flynn, Embassy of Israel
Will we all get Ebola?
The Irish Independent is to be commended on two very informative articles recently.
On Friday, you informed us of yet more obfuscation by the present Government regarding the hugely unpopular projected water tax.
On Thursday, you made us aware of the dangers of a hitherto virtually unknown disease, the Ebola virus.
Could the two ever be connected?
Could Ireland become the first first-world country to suffer an outbreak of Ebola, simply because the people cannot afford to wash properly, or even to flush the toilet?
D K Henderson, Clontarf, Dublin 3
Cost of filling the kettle
With the proposed 0.5c per litre charge for domestic water, it will soon be considerably more expensive to fill a kettle than to boil one. This is a startling fact that should help us reflect on both the cost and value of both water and electricity.
James McCarthy, Cork
Holy seating hopes
Do the people who stole the pew from a Kerry church want to be seated at the right hand of the Father?
John Williams, Co Tipperary