How do you incentivize people in a Technocracy? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14828905
This is actually kind of a two part question:

1) If there's a shortage of labor in one sector, how do we measure/record this? E.g.let's say the technate is short on surgeons and is in dire need of more.

2) If you're trying to fill this shortage, how do you incentivize people to do it? Especially for work that requires a lot of skill, training and sacrifice? By sacrifice, I don't mean taking on debt or anything (since obviously money does not exist in a technate), but the sacrifice of one's own time (surgeons, and medical doctors in general work notoriously long hours). The price system kind of solves this problem in capitalism -- but how is it solved in a moneyless system?
#14828929
Ergosphere wrote:1) If there's a shortage of labor in one sector, how do we measure/record this? E.g.let's say the technate is short on surgeons and is in dire need of more.

Given the katascopic nature of the Technate, it is already known ahead of time how many of each type of profession is needed. The Technate is a single organization, unlike today where we have thousands of organizations either trying sloppily to work together at best, or at worse fighting against each other wastefully (competition). Using Energy Accounting, it would know exactly what the consumption patterns of the population would be in any area, including health care, so we'd know in real time how many of whatever resources we had available compared to how much was being used (including labor), and to a degree even how much that was likely to change in the future. So we'd probably know of any shortages that were likely to occur even before they happened. In the example of surgeons, we would see how many people were likely to graduate from medical school in the coming years, and if that number were to drop below what was projected that we'd need in the future, we'd know about the coming shortage. I hope that answers your question.

Ergosphere wrote:2) If you're trying to fill this shortage, how do you incentivize people to do it? Especially for work that requires a lot of skill, training and sacrifice? By sacrifice, I don't mean taking on debt or anything (since obviously money does not exist in a technate), but the sacrifice of one's own time (surgeons, and medical doctors in general work notoriously long hours). The price system kind of solves this problem in capitalism -- but how is it solved in a moneyless system?

While the Technate primarily works on intrinsic motivations like personal desire and satisfaction, there are extrinsic ones like incentives that can and will likely exist as well, even without as you point out the motivation of an increase in personal standard of living. Things like prestige, fame, or the respect of one's peers can all exist perfectly fine in a Technate. Even today there is a certain prestige that comes with being a doctor, particularly a surgeon. Even awards like the Nobel Prize can serve as an incentive for some people.

But supposing as you say that this was not sufficient and a shortage was anticipated or even being experienced by the Technate in any area, well then we have to look to this axiom: Problems of abundance require solutions of abundance, while problems of scarcity require scarcity solutions. So here we have a scarcity problem, which as the axiom dictates cannot be handled by a "technocratic" solution. So we must rely on a solution of scarcity. How do we do that in a society of abundance? Well, unlike how many people mistakenly believe, (or mistakenly believe would be a problem for Technocracy), there will always be some things is that remain scarce in a Technate. A classic example I like to use, at least for our current level of technology, is space travel. Even if we were a Technate today, it is highly unlikely that we would be able to provide all the travel into space that people would want. But this "problem" can actually be used as a solution to our hypothetical problem of a scarcity of labor. We can simply use opportunities to travel into space (or whatever else is still considered scarce) as an award for people choosing to serve in areas they might not otherwise consider. (If you are worried about space travel being an insufficient incentive for, as you say, this level of sacrifice, then consider that some people today are so desirous of it that they are considering one-way trips to Mars, from which they will never return, and their life expectancy likely shortened.) But there could be other things as well. Perhaps opportunities to work in other countries would be limited, and if there was demand for it, then that could be used as an award as well. Being able to live in space, such as on a space station or on another planet will certainly be possible soon enough, and that will likely be scarce for quite some time. So it is possible, but it is a problem that will have to be worked out by the people of the Technate at the time, and they will be far more qualified than I to figure it out.

Another solution to this problem lies in the fact that most people in the Technate will be working a lot less than they do today. It was projected in the 1930s that people would only have to work 16 hours a week in order to operate the Technate given the level of technology available at the time. This of course was long before computers and robotics, and today there exist things like completely automated "lights-out" factories and even self-cleaning toilets. So this number would undoubtedly be even less. So an easier solution to trying to incentivize more people to become anything, including surgeons, would be to simply increase the number of hours worked by the existing ones until the problem is solved some other way. Even using the far outdated number of 16 hours a week, if we were to say increase that to a mere 20 hours a week (so 5 hours a day instead of four, for a four day work week), would increase production in the field by 25%! A smaller initial work-week would require even less of an increase in order to solve any shortages, even severe ones.

But overall it is not considered likely that labor shortages will be a problem in a Technate. Mostly this is because the number of people that will be needed to operate the machinery of the Technate will be pretty low (hence the small number of hours needed to be worked by each person as stated above) thanks to automation. While automation might not give as much of an increase in productivity in a field like health care, the many other factors of living in a Technate would substantially reduce the need for it, and hence the need for doctors of any kind. Now couple this with the fact that one of the many reasons for shortages in doctors today (or indeed in many professions) is simply the barrier to entry. The types of professions you are concerned about usually require a great deal of education, which is expensive, and not many people can afford it. In a Technate, everyone would have access to all the education they could want, for free. So many people who would like to become doctors today but did not have the opportunity to would have no such problems in a Technate. Also, since the Technate would have a superior education system, people who might not make it through medical school today would have fewer problems as well. The end result is that in a Technate we would have many more people wanting to become doctors (or whatever), while needing a lot less of them.

And touching upon the intrinsic motivations topic again, I believe that there would be people who are more concerned with helping others, or even just keeping the Technate functioning, that they are with how. Given a shortage of labor in any area, there will be some people willing to switch jobs simply to help out. But again, it's just not likely to be a problem in the first place.
#14829244
Kolzene wrote:Given the katascopic nature of the Technate, it is already known ahead of time how many of each type of profession is needed. The Technate is a single organization, unlike today where we have thousands of organizations either trying sloppily to work together at best, or at worse fighting against each other wastefully (competition). Using Energy Accounting, it would know exactly what the consumption patterns of the population would be in any area, including health care, so we'd know in real time how many of whatever resources we had available compared to how much was being used (including labor), and to a degree even how much that was likely to change in the future. So we'd probably know of any shortages that were likely to occur even before they happened. In the example of surgeons, we would see how many people were likely to graduate from medical school in the coming years, and if that number were to drop below what was projected that we'd need in the future, we'd know about the coming shortage. I hope that answers your question.

Thanks, it kind of does, but now I'm left with another question -- how would we de-incentivize when there are too many surgeons (or whatever)? In a price system, the feedback mechanism would be salaries/pay, and they would start going down when a field gets saturated, thus discouraging people from wanting to enter the field.

Kolzene wrote:While the Technate primarily works on intrinsic motivations like personal desire and satisfaction, there are extrinsic ones like incentives that can and will likely exist as well, even without as you point out the motivation of an increase in personal standard of living. Things like prestige, fame, or the respect of one's peers can all exist perfectly fine in a Technate. Even today there is a certain prestige that comes with being a doctor, particularly a surgeon. Even awards like the Nobel Prize can serve as an incentive for some people.


I am aware intrinsic motivations exist, and that people would work in certain sectors/fields because they genuinely wanted to. I an not disputing that point, but I am not really convinced intrinsic motivation alone is enough to get you the right amount of laborers in every sector/field that is required to run a technate. I feel like there will always be the looming possibility of having shortages and/or saturations. Which is where incentive comes in.


Kolzene wrote:But supposing as you say that this was not sufficient and a shortage was anticipated or even being experienced by the Technate in any area, well then we have to look to this axiom: Problems of abundance require solutions of abundance, while problems of scarcity require scarcity solutions.
So here we have a scarcity problem, which as the axiom dictates cannot be handled by a "technocratic" solution. So we must rely on a solution of scarcity.


I'm glad you acknowledge this. I feel like this is one of the most important questions to be answered before we start implementing any kind of post-scarcity society that still depends on human labor.

Kolzene wrote:But there could be other things as well. Perhaps opportunities to work in other countries would be limited, and if there was demand for it, then that could be used as an award as well. Being able to live in space, such as on a space station or on another planet will certainly be possible soon enough, and that will likely be scarce for quite some time. So it is possible, but it is a problem that will have to be worked out by the people of the Technate at the time, and they will be far more qualified than I to figure it out.


Those seem like reasonable incentives, although a tad speculative (considering where we are today with space tech).

I guess the real question is: are these enough incentives? Going to space is cool, and so is getting to work in another country, but the benefit you get is immediate as opposed to perpetual throughout your career. What I mean by that is if you move another country, you get your reward immediately and it's kind of a one-time thing -- your reward is living there. But you might get tired of it and/or not enjoy it there, and decide being a surgeon isn't worth it. In a price system, a surgeon's reward is perpetual -- meaning his salary allows him to have a very high standard of living compared to most others throughout his entire life. What kind of incentive could you have in a moneyless system that would match this?


Kolzene wrote:Another solution to this problem lies in the fact that most people in the Technate will be working a lot less than they do today. It was projected in the 1930s that people would only have to work 16 hours a week in order to operate the Technate given the level of technology available at the time. This of course was long before computers and robotics, and today there exist things like completely automated "lights-out" factories and even self-cleaning toilets. So this number would undoubtedly be even less. So an easier solution to trying to incentivize more people to become anything, including surgeons, would be to simply increase the number of hours worked by the existing ones until the problem is solved some other way. Even using the far outdated number of 16 hours a week, if we were to say increase that to a mere 20 hours a week (so 5 hours a day instead of four, for a four day work week), would increase production in the field by 25%! A smaller initial work-week would require even less of an increase in order to solve any shortages, even severe ones.


So I've read about the 16-hour week in Technocracy, but I cannot see how this would apply to every field/sector. Off the top of my head, medicine and software development are not jobs where you would be able to keep strict 16 hour work weeks, every single week. Being on-call is pretty standard in these fields, especially if you work in the ER as a surgeon.

Kolzene wrote:While automation might not give as much of an increase in productivity in a field like health care, the many other factors of living in a Technate would substantially reduce the need for it, and hence the need for doctors of any kind.


Could you expand on that? Are you talking about preventative medicine?

Even in a Technate, you will need something like the E.R. People will always hurt themselves by accident, or get heart attacks, etc.



Kolzene wrote:Now couple this with the fact that one of the many reasons for shortages in doctors today (or indeed in many professions) is simply the barrier to entry. The types of professions you are concerned about usually require a great deal of education, which is expensive, and not many people can afford it. In a Technate, everyone would have access to all the education they could want, for free. So many people who would like to become doctors today but did not have the opportunity to would have no such problems in a Technate. Also, since the Technate would have a superior education system, people who might not make it through medical school today would have fewer problems as well. The end result is that in a Technate we would have many more people wanting to become doctors (or whatever), while needing a lot less of them.


I agree with you here -- lowering the barriers to entry would create opportunities for those that can't pursue it today.

Kolzene wrote:And touching upon the intrinsic motivations topic again, I believe that there would be people who are more concerned with helping others, or even just keeping the Technate functioning, that they are with how. Given a shortage of labor in any area, there will be some people willing to switch jobs simply to help out. But again, it's just not likely to be a problem in the first place.


I don't think that's a good way of going about it. We should assume it will be a problem (because unfortunately most people don't do things out of the goodness of their hearts), and try to address it. At least that way, we will have a plan.

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