Path to Post-Scarcity - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14230786
We've discussed how post-scarcity economies would work on here in detail, going over different minutae involved. However, I don't think we've established a viable plan for instituting a post-scarcity economy as of yet.

The first part would being exposing money for what it is; our current system does its best to promote the illusion of money being a fixed-good rather than a vehicle for value exchange, and promotes a usury-based system. This is why we need a reform and a stimulus-

  • The first step would be removing the shroud around monetary policy and usury. We'd need to renovate our monetary-banking system first off to do this; eliminating restrictions on field-of-membership and lending requirements for Credit Unions would be a first step to remove profit-motive from monetary policy. I would also suggest raising the reserve ratio to slow endogenous money creation. Eliminate debt-issuance for money creation, as well- we create money in Fed deposits whenever we borrow, so this is a core illusion to value-exchange. Toping it all off, we should pay off intragovernmental debt and forgive public loans to reduce both public and private debt levels.
  • The second step would be to improve infrastructure. Creating a high-speed rail system in the US, preferably MagLev and VacTrains, would reduce energy requirements for transportation and cost as it exists. I believe it's 60% of our fuel being used by trucking, whereas current rail allows ~100 tonnes to be shipped ~100 miles on a gallon of gas, and MagLev is much more effecient. Simultaneously, we need to improve energy availability. Building a smartgrid will allow greater flow of energy across the US and Canada, and a new "TVA" type program that expands wind, solar-thermal, and LFTR reactors will provide cheap, (mostly) renewable energy moving away from fossil fuels. The third leg would be to build up zero-energy housing; using HUD grants alongside homesteading to develop vacant and condemned properties w/ passive heating/cooling and microgeneration before providing them to residents.
  • The third proposal would deal with consumerism and leisure time. Again, three programs. The first two are lesiure- reducing the workweek to 32 hours (a modest reduction for post-scarcity, I know, but a start), and reduce the retirement age to 55. The third is to create a system of vouchers for new technologies- a 3D printer in every house, internet and smartphones for every adult.

This isn't to ignore other necessities, such as geoengineering or funding scientific research, but those aren't directly applicable to instituting a post-scarce system. Hopefully such a program as I've outlined would radically change the economy, exposing the illusions of scarcity; as a result, neither personal goods, nor energy, nor even currency, would be held in short supply. As secondary and tertiary sectors condense, this shifts labor to a ZMP scenerio, the programs instuted would be necessary and continue to drive public opinion to post-scarcity.

Once such a stimulus has been accomplished, akin to a five or ten year plan, we'll need to keep moving. At this point, we'll have a flexible monetary policy and not-for-profit fiscal sector, as well as universal zero-energy homes and 3D printing. The economy at this time would likely be mostly ZMP work, with CAD designs, IT systems, and the materials still needing to be purchased. However, we'd still be using montary transactions rather than energy accounting, and scarcity would still present itself. A second stage would be needed to breech further into post-scarcity.

  • Transitioning the elimination of money, we'd have to transform Credit Unions into clearing centers for mutual credit. Unfortunately, I'm not to well-versed on it's operations, so I'd have to read up more on a clear proposal.
  • Much of the scarcity left will exist because of patents; medicines, apparati, appliances, 3D printed goods, and even foodstuffs will have patents on them, allowing them to charge for the use of their ideas and allowing them to limit access to such goods. Eliminating patents outright would raise objections, and likely very loud ones from small and large businesses alike. A transitory approach would be to offer investment capital rather than patents for new ideas at that point, and purchase back existing patents where possible.
  • Create a "Call to National Service". This would be larger than the military alone, incorporating Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, geoengineering projects, roadworks, etc. for both full-time and reserve options. Those who volunteer and their family would be provided vouchers for housing, education, healthcare, public transportation services, food supply, entertainment (military provides some free theater already), etc.- essentially creating a post-scarcity bubble.

As a result of the second stage implementation, the result would be a two-tiered economy that mixes mutual credit and post-scarcity. Fiat would occur nominally, with the government creating/destroying currency in a single loop for many households (such as paying a geoengineer's property taxes), while peer-to-peer exchanges that continue to exist would largely be performed by mutual credit with no patent-based or capital restrictions, so that what value-exchange continues occurs with no lack of currency, information, or resource restriction.
By mikema63
#14231200
My little scifi stories are planned to set up a post scarcity society of some kind.

Though the path to post scarcity there involves a conspiracy of the government and corporations and an outright rebellion.
#14231594
Warning: this post will be disorganized, as I'm somewhat pressed for time.

Question number one. What is a post-scarcity society? It can mean many things, but at a minimum it means that basic needs (food, shelter, medical care, education) will not be allocated based on possession of money. Not that they must be free necessarily (although that might be an ultimate goal) but that they are available to anyone through means directly at his disposal, such as volunteerism or national service.

Question number two. Is a post-scarcity society feasible right now? The answer is both yes and no. This apparent equivocation requires me to distinguish between the real and virtual economies. Within the real economy (the economy of goods and services) modern industrial societies already have the resources to achieve a stable post-scarcity society. Within the virtual economy (the money ecosystem which determines allocation of resources) the answer is no.

Question number three. Why is a money society incompatible with the post-scarcity ethos? Money is the chief form of social control. Money is debt (literally a bond or bondage) - for most people money is a bondage of time (labor) or a bondage of one's future time (debt). Our current system is two-tiered, consisting of those indentured only of their personal time, and those who leverage control of other people's time.

Question four. How does the money system actually work, in terms of personal autonomy? Money controls access to resources and is a form of political power...increasingly is political power. Such power can't be exercised outside of a system that denies access to those without money - this is the core meaning of having money. The result is that those who don't (or can't) leverage other people's time are deprived of personal autonomy, to the tune of 40 hours a week.

First reaction. The movement to transition to a post-scarcity society will have to be fought on two fronts: legal/regulatory (top down) and political (top up). Figlio has outlined a good beginning framework for such a transition...but such a plan will be quite difficult to implement absent a critical mass of political pressure.

Which brings me to the question of politics. What is required, in my estimation, is a full-fledged political movement. It must be vivid and simplistic, and focus on the millions of people rendered obsolete in the economic sense...we have referred to them as ZMP workers in another thread. I'll have more to add when I have time, but the bottom line is a kind of radical populism combined with full-bore class warfare politics. People have been hurt and they need somebody to blame. The regressive elements of the unprincipled right have been the most successful in channeling that rage, but it need not be so.
#14236784
quetzalcoatl wrote:Question number one. What is a post-scarcity society? It can mean many things, but at a minimum it means that basic needs (food, shelter, medical care, education) will not be allocated based on possession of money. Not that they must be free necessarily (although that might be an ultimate goal) but that they are available to anyone through means directly at his disposal, such as volunteerism or national service.


More or less; technocracy essentially means everything free, though I think mutual credit will stand in for a few naturally scarce items such as fur coats or fine wine, etc.

quetzelcoatl wrote:Question number two. Is a post-scarcity society feasible right now? The answer is both yes and no. This apparent equivocation requires me to distinguish between the real and virtual economies. Within the real economy (the economy of goods and services) modern industrial societies already have the resources to achieve a stable post-scarcity society. Within the virtual economy (the money ecosystem which determines allocation of resources) the answer is no.


Well, that's true, but that's why I outlined a little plan to breech the gap between our current system and a functionable post-scarcity.

quetzalcoatl wrote:Question number three. Why is a money society incompatible with the post-scarcity ethos? Money is the chief form of social control. Money is debt (literally a bond or bondage) - for most people money is a bondage of time (labor) or a bondage of one's future time (debt). Our current system is two-tiered, consisting of those indentured only of their personal time, and those who leverage control of other people's time.


Is this a condemnation of money? I think money has some viable functions, though so much of it we can move beyond. Mutual credit is a much less of a chain, and to the extent we can't have so many necessities free, it performs the function in a much more viable, less manipulative manner.

However, the form in which logistics occurs today, I don't believe such structures would be quite so completely necessary. "Energy accounting" itself might not need to be so necessary w/ automatic accounting.

quetzalcoatl wrote:Question four. How does the money system actually work, in terms of personal autonomy? Money controls access to resources and is a form of political power...increasingly is political power. Such power can't be exercised outside of a system that denies access to those without money - this is the core meaning of having money. The result is that those who don't (or can't) leverage other people's time are deprived of personal autonomy, to the tune of 40 hours a week.





quetzalcoatl wrote:First reaction. The movement to transition to a post-scarcity society will have to be fought on two fronts: legal/regulatory (top down) and political (top up). Figlio has outlined a good beginning framework for such a transition...but such a plan will be quite difficult to implement absent a critical mass of political pressure.

Which brings me to the question of politics. What is required, in my estimation, is a full-fledged political movement. It must be vivid and simplistic, and focus on the millions of people rendered obsolete in the economic sense...we have referred to them as ZMP workers in another thread. I'll have more to add when I have time, but the bottom line is a kind of radical populism combined with full-bore class warfare politics. People have been hurt and they need somebody to blame. The regressive elements of the unprincipled right have been the most successful in channeling that rage, but it need not be so.


I would be first to point out that I, a member of the radical right, created this thread- what you mean are neoliberals, specifically liberal-capitalists. I prefer to take this more from a cyclical view, wherein they're not regressive but degenerate. Capitalism will attempt to adapt, but I certainly agree we need to build political pressure for post-scarcity. It's part of why I called for a two-part approach, we'll have to fight for many small things along the way.

I think the fight for cutting away restrictions is one of the first steps, disempowering the banking elite will be a vital step to removing the moneyed interests who strangle our economic policy. It should also be able to receive broad agreement across the political spectrum, and the question today is why are we not enraged? There are several points that only benefit the elites and that we could focus on- left, right, and liberal- to break down this privilege.
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By Poelmo
#14244080
Figlio di Moros wrote:We've discussed how post-scarcity economies would work on here in detail, going over different minutae involved. However, I don't think we've established a viable plan for instituting a post-scarcity economy as of yet.


True post-scarcity is impossible: you already mentioned intellectual property but there is also limited real estate and the number of people in the world is also limited: a stripper (a job that will never be replaced by robots) can only be at one bachelor party at the same time and in the end there is always a limit to how efficiently we can harness a finite amount of natural resources at any given time. Some form of rationing will be with us for all of eternity I'm afraid.
#14244174
Poelmo wrote:
True post-scarcity is impossible: you already mentioned intellectual property but there is also limited real estate and the number of people in the world is also limited: a stripper (a job that will never be replaced by robots) can only be at one bachelor party at the same time and in the end there is always a limit to how efficiently we can harness a finite amount of natural resources at any given time. Some form of rationing will be with us for all of eternity I'm afraid.


Post-scarcity does not have to be unlimited in nature. It simply requires a basic minimum, either of income or equivalent goods, to enable a modest standard of living. Competition and ambition will still exist, but those who chose to pursue their own individual goals will be able to do so, uninhibited by fear of privation.
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By Poelmo
#14244190
quetzalcoatl wrote:Post-scarcity does not have to be unlimited in nature. It simply requires a basic minimum, either of income or equivalent goods, to enable a modest standard of living. Competition and ambition will still exist, but those who chose to pursue their own individual goals will be able to do so, uninhibited by fear of privation.


That's not how it is usually defined. While I would gladly live in a society like you describe here, it cannot be called "post-scarcity". In Post-scarcity stuff is free because no matter how much you use there is always plenty for everyone else. What this means is that either there is a near unlimited amount of stuff or greed and hoarding have been eliminated to such an extend that nobody ever finds him/herself wanting more than is available. The latter is unlikely because greed and hoarding are part of human nature and some stuff is so limited that even a modest way of living make them appear pretty scarce (even if we were all content vegetarian Buddhist monks living in small huts the area humanity would occupy would not be negligible compared to the Earth's surface).
#14245908
Poelmo wrote:True post-scarcity is impossible: you already mentioned intellectual property but there is also limited real estate and the number of people in the world is also limited: a stripper (a job that will never be replaced by robots) can only be at one bachelor party at the same time and in the end there is always a limit to how efficiently we can harness a finite amount of natural resources at any given time. Some form of rationing will be with us for all of eternity I'm afraid.


1) Nothing could be further from the truth. Any bachelor party with less than two strippers can hardly be called a bachelor party, and even then they'd have to be "strippers" for it to count.

2) Intellectual property is a legal fiction; once an idea is created or discovered it can freely be possessed by anyone with the capacity to do so, and only state force and capital might prevent such a person from using it.

3) Land is fixed; real estate is not. There may also only be so many people, but the point of industrialization, and today automation, is to replace their labor. As has been pointed out innumerable times in this subforum, economy of scale is preventing us from putting in the economy of scale necessary to replace labor; more so, planned obsolescence and systemic inefficiencies increase resource use and consumption. Those issues are also dealt with throughout this subforum.

4) I don't disagree that certain luxuries will remain scarce; however, I believe they can be more evenly and honestly distributed. Fur coats, an exceptionally good mead/wine/bourbon/coffee/etc., or a concert might be shared with friends or exchanged via mutual credit, with mass-produced goods and basic necessities being free. We might not all eat foie gras and caviar daily, nor would many if it were possible (Observe how bone marrow, cheek meat, tongue, heart, etc. is both cheap and ignored), but healthy, delicious food for all would still be possible.
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By Poelmo
#14246177
Figlio di Moros wrote:4) I don't disagree that certain luxuries will remain scarce; however, I believe they can be more evenly and honestly distributed. Fur coats, an exceptionally good mead/wine/bourbon/coffee/etc., or a concert might be shared with friends or exchanged via mutual credit, with mass-produced goods and basic necessities being free. We might not all eat foie gras and caviar daily, nor would many if it were possible (Observe how bone marrow, cheek meat, tongue, heart, etc. is both cheap and ignored), but healthy, delicious food for all would still be possible.


Scarce good don't have to be really luxurious: even electric cars may remain scarce because the metals they require are scarce. A scoiety where your immediate needs are taken care off but many technologies and housing are still scarce is not a post-scarcity society, simply a very wealthy and egalitarian society, still a nice place to live though.
#14246550
That's not true- lithium itself isn't scarce, it's a matter of economy of scale. The technology for efficient batteries exist, but they are not produced in scale. Furthermore, the manner in which we distribute is equally inefficient- car shares and public transportation being far more resource-efficient than POV. I'd go so far as to say POV's and even cabs in NYC or other large cities are entirely unnecessary wastes of resources, and even capital.

Even if we assume people will want POV's when not necessary, as we can see they do, mining and manufacturing them en mass w/ the greatest efficiency is still possible. Any further questions about the plausibility or workings of a post-scarcity society can be answered by almost any other thread on the first page, such as this one. This thread is not about how post-scarcity might work, but how it might be established.
#14268751
Is anyone here familiar with JS Albus’ proposal for a ‘Peoples’ Capitalism’? It seems to me that his proposal would be a large step towards a post-subsistence economy. He aimed to tackle three inherent defects within capitalism. The main defects being:
(1)Wages and salaries are primary source of income.
(2)Access to credit for investment is primarily available to only the rich.
(3)Monetary restraint is a counterproductive mechanism for fighting inflation

Albus argued that points 1 and 2 could be dealt with simultaneously by having the state issue annual interest free loans to all adult citizens for investment in eligible enterprises. The new state issued credit would not exceed the amount of private investment in the economy. Businesses accepting investment from the loans scheme would be required to use the funds to invest in capital assets. The investors would gain a share in the business and would be paid dividends on a bi-weekly basis. Each adult US citizen would receive a loan worth approximately $6000(based on 2006 values). The loans would be repayable over 30 years with a 3% service charge.

In order to control inflation, a compulsory savings surcharge would be introduced. In times of stability the saving rate would be 0% and it would be adjusted regularly to keep on top of inflation. The withdrawn rate would be graduated based on income. The sum withdrawn would be put in a savings account which, ordinarily, could not be accessed for a period of at least 5 years. The deposit would eventually be returned to the owner with interest (above inflation). If demand is lower than expected, the state could allow individuals to access these savings earlier than planned. In this scenario, the interest on the savings would also be lowered to encourage spending.

Albus predicted that if his proposal was adopted, and monetary restraint was abandoned as a mechanism for fighting inflation, the annual income floor for an adult US citizen would be equivalent to $29000 (based on 2006 dollars).Naturally, a doubling of capital investment in the economy would lead to significant increases in productivity; lowering costs and producing more goods with fewer resources. The costs of developing new technologies would decrease due to more pervasive automation in the work place. As workers are made redundant due to technological progress; they will benefit due to an increase in their dividend income and the lower costs of the goods they once produced.


Reference: Albus, J. S. Peoples' Capitalism. A PLAN FOR PROSPERITY AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE. Global Business and Economics Anthology, Vol. I, Dec 2007
. Available here: http://www.peoplescapitalism.org/presen ... paper3.pdf
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By AFAIK
#14274369
Radiohead self published an album after funding it by soliciting donations online.
Open source software is developed by hobbyists and shared online free of charge.
Some artists (particularly in Korea) voluntarily upload music to the internet for others to access freely. They make money from other sources- (product endorsements, live performances, merchandise).
There are various crowd-sourcing venues online.

Many people are currently working long hours in jobs they are massively overqualified for. If the state provided for their needs free of charge they would have more free time to pursue other interests (as well as family time).

Our access to entertainment is massively restricted because gatekeepers are reluctant to invest in projects that don't promise profits. Artists also get very small royalties in relation to the retail price.

If we explained these phenomena and worked through real world examples interest in and support for technocracy is likely to grow.
#14275177
May I present you ReverbNation? You might also have heard of spotify and youtube. The gatekeepers are loosing strength; they maintain their hold on entertainment w/ TV and radio, ensuring their band, say One Direction, is far more prevelent and does guest apparences, etc. Yet, CD sales are dropping, except for independent/small artists- I bought a Rachel Brooke album for my dad, because 1) he might like it, and 2) I support her music. The main source of revenue for large companies are shows, and some for, say, an appearance on NCIS, but concerts are a massive rip-off and many bands are making a living on the road still.

While the power of the music industry is being chipped away today, it would implode in Post-Scarcity, since 1) no profits to be made, and 2) no giant reserves of cash to ensure prominence and appearances to nudge out competition.
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By Ummon
#14365263
Poelmo wrote:True post-scarcity is impossible: you already mentioned intellectual property but there is also limited real estate and the number of people in the world is also limited: a stripper (a job that will never be replaced by robots) can only be at one bachelor party at the same time and in the end there is always a limit to how efficiently we can harness a finite amount of natural resources at any given time. Some form of rationing will be with us for all of eternity I'm afraid.


This is not necessarily true except in regard to resources that are very limited and desirable such as beach front property and even that may become a non factor with the advent of VR/Augmented Reality. 1) Aquaponics and other sustainable methods could be utilized to allow people to individually create their own food, 2) sustainable energy is a problem for individuals to achieve because of non-equal distribution of sunlight across the earth however large grids in high density areas could funnel electricity to areas where this is not the case such as the American southwest or the Sahara. 3) VR/Augmented reality could replace/reduce the desire for things like expensive vacations as they will be available on demand for a fraction of the cost 4) asteroid mining and bases on Mars and the Moon WILL be with us in the next 200 years and they will likely supplement much of the decline of resources on earth 5) in cultures where women are more well educated and are independent in terms of resources they tend to have fewer children which will likely help with overpopulation. The big problem is fossil fuels as they are needed for fertilizer, plastics, and rocket launches. The only solutions I can see on the horizon that may be workable are a) biofuels generated using cellular automata b) nuclear fusion (any barriers to it have been overcome recently) 3) metamaterials to replace plastics.
#14413419
"Values and Marx

The disappearance of 'values' in tangible objects with the advancing technology approaching full automatically is a fundamental factor not anticipated by Marxian theory of 'values,' nor by any other social philosophy. The disappearance of 'value' automatically invalidates all social philosophies as potential solutions of our social problems. Social philosophies are based on assumed moral values of human effort.

Previously, that item which was scarcest and involved the largest expenditure of human effort was the highest in 'value.' Now, in a sea of abundance, one who stubbornly holds fast to a social philosophy and values is much like the poor hen who with bewilderment watches the ducklings she has hatched take to the water. She herself lacks the webbed feet required for swimming, and cannot understand such peculiar goings-on.

As a case in point, let us consider one material without which no life can continue on this globe—air. Air has never yet been subjected to the operations of trading, financing, mortgaging, loaning, borrowing, evaluating, or any other manipulations of the Price System. Why? Because its bountiful supply has never permitted the creation of a demand. With it there never has existed the opportunity of introducing the concepts of 'value' and human labor which form the basis of Marxian theory.

The characteristics of air can be duplicated with any other needful thing, if we establish the requirement of abundance.

There might be much said in disposing of Major Douglas' Social Credit theory, Fischer's commodity dollar, Soddy's treatment of monetary structure, and other such schemes. In theory they differ, but in application they all deal in evaluation and therefore must be declared inapplicable in an era of abundance where there are no values. It did not happen that Soddy, an outstanding scientist, came remarkably close to the projection of the unique civilization required in an era of abundance—but ere too late he remembered that he was an English gentleman, inescapably charged with the preservation of all that for which Oxonian tradition stands.

The energy certificate furnishes the molecular mass with a medium whereby it presents its mandate unequivocally and continually to the administrative mechanism, without representation, delegation, referendum, or any other device of previous social administration.

The Energy certificate is the only instrument of distribution which can be used in this Continent's emerging era of abundance.

There can be no era of abundance without a New America.

The energy certificate will be the instrument of distribution in the New America."

- THE ENERGY CERTIFICATE
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By KlassWar
#14413423
Parahprasing the Buddhists in a very Maoist way, to achieve a post-scarcity society we gotta follow the Threefold Path:

-> Development of Productive Forces.
-> Mechanization and Automatization.
-> Social control over the means of production.

The third one's the charm :P. In the absence of social control over the MOP, the propertied classes will simply introduce artificial scarcity in order to preserve their status and privilege.
#14413861
KlassWar wrote:Parahprasing the Buddhists in a very Maoist way, to achieve a post-scarcity society we gotta follow the Threefold Path:

-> Development of Productive Forces.
-> Mechanization and Automatization.
-> Social control over the means of production.

The third one's the charm :P. In the absence of social control over the MOP, the propertied classes will simply introduce artificial scarcity in order to preserve their status and privilege.


"The Marxian political philosophy was a condemnation of the ills of so-called capitalist society and a propaganda political document that all wealth was created by work, labor and toil, a theme which he sums up in his ``Workers of the World Unite.'' Marx, of course, envisaged abolition of one estate and the creation of another, and that the capitalist class should be expropriated and the workers be installed as the new social elite in a socialist world.

Technocracy Inc. has never held any brief for the so-called ``capitalist class,'' or for that matter for any proprietary interest or group in our social structure. Marx only wanted to eliminate the so-called exploiting and owning classes. We contend that it is hardly worth undertaking.

What Technocracy has always contended is that if sufficient energy consuming devices are installed and the total amount of extraneous energy consumed per capita reaches or exceeds 200,000 kilogram calories per capita per day, toil and workers alike will be eliminated, and, when toil is eliminated, the bourgeoisie will likewise go down the drain of history.

Technocracy has always contended that Marxian political philosophy and Marxian economics were never sufficiently radical or revolutionary to handle the problems brought on by the impact of technology in a large size national society of today. It is sufficiently revolutionary to be of some importance and temporary application to under-developed areas of the globe. We have always contended that Marxian communism, so far as this Continent is concerned, is so far to the right that it is bourgeois.

It is well here to bear in mind; the technological progression of the next 30 minutes invalidates all the social wisdom of previous history.

Technology has no ancestors in the social history of man. It creates its own."

https://archive.org/details/HistoryAndP ... owardScott
#14414100
Howard Scott must be some kind of dunce, at least judging from the quotes you are providing.

The pace of technological change is radically slowing down, not accelerating.

Consider the changes seen by someone born in 1900 in the US. He would have been born most likely in a hard scrabble farm without running water or electricity. Within his lifetime he would have seen universal electrification, the advent of aviation, great advances in the control of infectious disease, the invention of the digital computer, nuclear weapons, and humans landing on the moon.

What are the comparable experiences of someone born in 1950 in the US? I was born in 1949, and life is the almost exactly the same now as it was when I first started working 45 years ago. The cars may look a little different, the pay is less and the hours longer. The streets are a little more crowded and people are a little meaner. Besides that what have you got? The internet? Give me a break.

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