computing hot take: Moore's Law, the idea that over time, the number of transistors on a microchip doubles, while the price is halved, doesn't account for exponentially increasing human exploitation of the workers that manufacture electronics.
if the rate of exploitation for these workers had stayed the same, rather than increased, the cost of computers would probably not have become as cheap as they are, and therefore the market for faster, cheaper devices wouldn't have taken hold
this marxist analysis of the iPhone's production got me thinking about this. it calculates that if the iPhone were made under US labor law, through all of production, one iPhone would cost $30,000 to produce, much higher than it's use-value https://www.thetricontinental.org/the-rate-of-exploitation-the-case-of-the-iphone/
@thatsmycheesemonster the only part of this I take issue with is the last bit, because modern CEOs are so expensive that if you cut them out it's genuinely possible that you can both raise wages and cut prices if you get rid of them
obviously depends on the individual firm, but still
@melissasage I stand by it. by cutting out the capitalist class from tech production, the profit incentive for making digital devices evaporates. under communist modes of production, there would be no need to every year make phones that replace the one you bought last year. we might have one model of smartphone that works and is easily repairable and durable for say 10 years. there would be no need or desire to make all of these devices
@thatsmycheesemonster no I agree with that, i was just saying that the relationship between the rate of exploitation and the price to the end consumer is probably not that simple
@thatsmycheesemonster a lot of it is automated and Moore's law says nothing about cost but you're right pretty much
@thatsmycheesemonster The worker exploitation should decrease regardless of increases in computing power.
The rate of exploitation has increased in every industry, probably in different exponential rates as well.
Computing power does increase more than is needed to get lots of things done, but there are NP-complete problems that need to be done on large orders & for some problems the smallest range u can probe them at involves huge computations.
The idea that scientific progress would stop if workers werent exploited comes from how few ppl are allowed to practice science by starving them of the means to survive while practicing, namely housing, food, & access to the community & lab equipment.
If real resources arent widely producible, ppl wouldnt be able to put them towards progress, but they need to be widely distributed.
Increases in computing power do reinforce the ability to make scientific progress when they allow problems to be solved without knowing quick solutions.
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