Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Was Obama's quip about ATMs rooted in a classic Marxist theme?

Unemployment is up because teller machines and other automated services have replaced human workers.

That's the assessment of President Barack Obama. His comments aired on NBC's Today show.

To those who have studied Marxism, it's a common theme.

Here's a sample page from a Marxist tract published in 1960:

                                                        From Hathi Trust Digital Library

Here's another example of automation vilification  from 1965 as transcribed by the Marxists Internet Archive:

"The automated equipment of the future will, like that of the present, become instruments for the exploitation of the working class in the interest of the owning class. Automation will neither destroy capitalism nor change its nature into something beneficial to humanity."

In another archive, a Marxist article from 1992 states:

"There was a time when it was hoped that the mere development of technical and industrial progress, the increase in mechanization and automation, would contribute to the well-being of the masses. This has once again shown itself to be a hollow mockery. The truth is that the development of higher and more sophisticated technology under capitalism doesn't contribute to the welfare of the masses but on the contrary, throws them into greater misery."

Many see Mr. Obama's comment about ATMs as nothing more than a silly, flippant  remark.

But these seemingly flippant words  may provide a glimpse into the deeper mindset of our president. And a hint at the kind of philosophies he embraced as a college student who, by his own admission, sought out Marxist professors as his friends.

1 comment:

  1. The Government can make work, in the main, only by appropriating those jobs already created by private enterprise, and doling them out less efficiently. A perfect example is the Civilian Conservation Corps of the New Deal, which, as Thomas Sowell has pointed out, was merely giving twenty thousand shovels out to do the work which could be accomplished by fifty bulldozers. Why not then, as he suggested, enlarge the paradigm, and replace the shovels with three million teaspoons? Government intervention in private enterprise is the death of private enterprise (cf. East versus west Germany; Havana versus Miami; Palestine versus Israel). Has the case not already been settled?

    - David Mamet, 2011, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, Chap. 31.