Anyone know their Voltaire?

Came across something over the weekend. Can\’t recall where.

But the writer said that Voltaire\’s view of industry was along the lines that the machines would take all the jobs and this would lead to tyranny.

Anyone know their Voltaire well enough to be able to track that down? For it sounds very like the complaints being made now that the robots are going to take all our jobs and this will lead to tyranny.

6 comments on “Anyone know their Voltaire?

  1. Doesn’t sound like Voltaire to me. He spent some time in England at the very start of the industrial revolution when employment substitution would not have been an issue.

    Doesn’t sound like Rousseau either, Matthew. Where would he have plagiarised the idea from?

  2. It’s maybe older than Voltaire. This shit gets a runout every millennium. The Romans (Seneca?) were worried that if you freed the slaves they’d have nothing to do.

  3. To be fair to Seneca, they would have had to provide them with land or they would have had nothing to do – the problem with slavery (at least on the latifunda or the plantation model) was that slaves had no property, and thus no means of supporting themselves (and there was no welfare net – unless they could get the bread ration in Rome).

    Not sure about Romans, but in medieval times if you freed a slave, the freedman (or woman) was still your responsibility, as you had to ensure they could live. Admittedly, as most freed slaves were skilled individuals (smiths and priests are prominent, as are brewers) they could make their own living and create more wealth (maybe a quesiton mark on priests there?), but the principle stood.

    But it’s the old issue of immediate effect (as far as the wonderful statist-lefties can ever see) against the fact that freeing people from labour creates opportuntity again isn’t it?

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