Science and Technology

Automation and the working class

Published on: Tue, 14/01/2020 - 19:13

Martin Thomas

According to one account in 2013, 47% of jobs in the USA risk being automated away within “a decade or two”.[1] That prospect has been interpreted as utopia or as dystopia. The near future will be one of networked individuals freed from drudgery by automation, and able easily to get what they want to consume and to undermine all hierarchies. Or: only a techno-elite will retain employment and wages. The rest of us will be reduced to a new pauper class vegetating on “universal basic income” handouts.

Further research has queried the projections. Many tasks can be automated, but jobs involve more

The future and robots

Published on: Tue, 14/01/2020 - 17:46

Charlie Applebaum

Fuelled by rapid developments in technological innovation hyped in recent years, although mostly developed over the last two decades, many cerebral types suggest we may be at the start of some significant changes in capitalist production. They even gave it a grandiose name: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

Socialists, Marxists, progressives have a history of taking technology and advocating its use for more than just the most efficient exploitation. Perhaps however, the pace of innovation is making this harder. The techy elite, a traditionally well-meaning liberal bunch, and the


Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 12:20

Revolution by stealth

I’m surprised that Katy Dollar’s report on the 14 December Labour Transformed conference (Solidarity 529) does not mention the repeated, unpleasant attempts of the organisers to prevent Workers’ Liberty members selling our materials and running a small stall in a corridor.

I’m surprised, also, that the report does not mention the organisers’ comments to our members that AWL supporters would not be welcome in the organisation they were setting up, or their silly attempts to demagogically label us as the people who are members of the “democratic centralist organisation in

Letter: The placebo effect

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 10:51

Reading Richard Shield’s letter (Solidarity 527,, I have no doubt that taking his homeopathic remedy really is helping him.

Taking such remedies can lead to a measurable, and clinically significant change in someone’s symptoms — symptoms like vomiting, symptoms like intractable pain that has not responded to morphine. And unlike morphine these remedies have no side effects at all.

Everything that we experience in our brains is connected to our bodies. Our brains thin at the base of the skull and are continuous with the thick spinal cord that runs down our spine and spreads its

"Phase out almost all animal products” is wrong - debate

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 10:23

Paul Vernadsky

See here for the original article which Paul Vernadsky is responding to. See Misha Zubrowski's reply to the article below, here.

The article ‘A workers’ answer to climate change’ (Solidarity 522, 23 October contains a flawed formulation, which would disorientate socialist climate politics if it were accepted. The sentence reads:

“Crucially, phasing out almost all animal products (with the added benefit of reducing the needless extreme suffering of billions of sentient beings)”.

The demand to “phase out almost all animal products” is incoherent:
• “Almost all animal products”

Reforestation: A science-based argument

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 10:12

Misha Zubrowski

The article below is a response to one written by Paul Vernadsky, linked. See here for the original article which Paul Vernadsky is responding to.

The insights from Paul Vernadsky’s discussion piece point towards an expansion of what we say on transitioning away from animal-based food production, not a deletion.

The piece also, I think, makes some spurious assertions or arguments.

A general argument and detailed backup from scientific literature demonstrate — contrary to Paul’s unsubstantiated assertion to the contrary — that an aim of “phasing out of almost all animal products” is based on

Scientific testing should decide

Published on: Tue, 10/12/2019 - 16:54

Martin H Goodman

Scientific testing should decide

By Martin H Goodman

Richard Shield's response to my very brief presentation of the facts relating to the deadly and entirely fraudulent "alternative medical discipline" of homeopathy is a remarkably dense collection of the most common responses both by those who are sincere truebelievers in this malignant quackery, and those who cynically promote it for their own profit.

His response reflects a profound ignorance of how scientific and medical truth is established. He is unable to distinguish between what is and isn't intellectually honestly conducted scientific

Homeopathy: comments by a far left physician

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:59

Martin H. Goodman

In France, where up to 60% of the population seeks homeopathic treatments, the government has now announced it will no longer reimburse the bills for those treatments through social insurance. In Britain, support from the Royal Family long kept some homeopathic provision within the NHS, but in 2017 the NHS recommended that GPs should stop providing for homeopathic treatments.

First off, let’s be clear: “alternative medicine” (also referred to as “complementary”, “integrative”, and “holistic” medicine) is quackery. At best worthless, often harmful, and at times deadly.

Alternative medicine is

“Heat death” of the cosmos

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 09:18

Misha Zubrowski

Paul Vernadsky (Solidarity 520) wrote a valuable article on Marx and the environment, and a review of a book on the same topic. I want to pick up on one point.

“Similarly, Engels is sometimes accused of rejecting the second law of thermodynamics in the course of an argument with scientists over the heat death hypothesis. William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) had supported the latter claim to justify the role of God in the universe. Engels rejected the role of a deity on materialist grounds, while accepting that entropy was a feature of the universe. Latter day scientists agree with Engels:

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