22 July 2017   Leave a comment

Poland is worrying many in Europe.  Under the leadership of President Jaroslaw Kaczynski  and his Law and Justice Party, Poland has systematically abandoned some important democratic principles.  Most recently, there is a bill, which has passed the lower house of the Parliament, which will give the President and the party the power to appoint justices which few restrictions, including justices on the Supreme Court. The departure from traditional liberal checks on the concentration of political power threatens Poland’s commitment to the European Union.  The European Commission is investigating Poland’s vote in the Union, but all its decisions require unanimous votes and Hungary, led by Viktor Orban, himself no friend to liberal values, has indicated that it would veto any sanction against Poland.

Humanity has developed through three phases of material production:  hunting/gathering; agriculture; and industrialization.  There is increasing evidence that the human role in industrialization is becoming more and more circumscribed as manufacturing has automated, and is seems as if humanity is entering a fourth phase which is as of yet unnamed but which will rely on digitization and robotization.  As this process unfolds, the role of labor in human society will dramatically change.  Right now, everyone has to produce something (a good or a service) to sell in order to secure an income.  What will happen when every good and service is produced by a machine or a robot?  How will people earn an income?  That future has always seemed remote, but the future is now in the most important human activity: food production, historically the most labor intensive of all activities.

Jobs and Automation

Citi automation

Violence broke out in Jerusalem and the West Bank as tensions rose over Israel’s decision to place metal detectors at the entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque.  The violence was predictable, but what is not clear is whether the impasse can be resolved.  Israel responded to the violence by banning all men under the age of 50 from entering the Mosque, but that policy is not sustainable over the long run.  Al Jazeera  published a video of the violence and raised questions about the long-term security arrangements at the Mosque.

Protests outside the al Aqsa Mosque

Posted July 22, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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