We are told that Capitalism, at its core, is a crisis-driven economic system. Crises are at the heart of its innovation, transformation of the economy, and are the reason creative destruction is the defining point raised by proponents of this economy-first, anti-social system. However, any reader of history knows that it is only through the leverage and investment of the state that capitalism can find the path around the economic crises it creates. Capital needs to be held-up and protected or -- like most short-sighted adventures -- it runs aground. The alternative is not to hold capitalism up, but to replace it and the response to COVID-19 shows a way forward.
Working people have been dealing with changes in the application of technology in their workplaces since the beginning of capitalism. The recent interest in the subject has largely been driven by the tech industry's promises of automated production and job-destroying robots, which will still somehow deliver a type of techno-Utopia. It is time for workers to take back the discussion and drive an agenda for the future based on clear analysis and the broader community's interests. In this full-length article, we revisit some of the issues and concepts around automation and its affects on workers.