Will Automation Make Your Job Redundant?

Matthew Hughes 12-02-2016

Last year, the BBC launched a website where people could see how likely it was that a robot would take their job in the future. It was based on some research from Oxford University and Deloitte. All you had to do was select your job title, and it would give you your odds as a percentage.


Journalists like myself are lucky. We have just an eight percent chance of being replaced. Medical practitioners were even safer, with odds of just two percent. That’s because it’s hard to teach a robot creativity and imagination. It’s even harder to teach how to interact with humans.


But others aren’t as lucky. Take retail cashiers, for example. They have a 90% chance of being replaced by machines. You can already see this happening in most supermarkets, as automated self-checkout machines increasingly take up more floorspace.

Taxi drivers have reason to be worried too. They’ve got a 57% chance of being replaced by robots. Hardly surprising, given the incredible progress being made with self-driving cars.

It may come as a surprise that a number of desk-based office jobs are under threat too. In fact, of the top ten most at-risk jobs, virtually all of them are office-based.



If you’re a finance manager, you’re almost certain to be replaced with an AI program. They’re at a 97% risk. Receptionists and Personal Assistants aren’t much better off, as they’ve got 96% and a 68% chance, respectively.

As it turns out, there’s a number of historical precedents for office jobs being automated.

A Long, Machinated Past

Jobs have traditionally been categorized as either white collar or blue collar.


White collar jobs tend to require higher academic certifications and professional skills, are based in offices, and tend to be centered around administration and management. Blue-collar jobs tend to involve manual labor. Actually, physically doing something.


More recently, another “collar” has been defined. Pink collar jobs are those that are centered around customer interaction and sales. These are jobs that are based in restaurants and shops.

There’s a kind-of collective assumption that blue-collar jobs are the first to go when technology advances. Meanwhile, jobs based around soft, interpersonal skills (those would be your pink-collar jobs) and those that require high levels of expertise and specialization are secure. And why wouldn’t we think so? Our collective cultural and historical canon are filled with examples of how semi-skilled and unskilled workers lost their jobs, thanks to new technologies.


One of the best examples of this was found in 19th century England, during the Industrial Revolution. Advances in machinery and technology, coupled with steam and water power, had allowed the factories of the North to become the most productive in the world.

Stocking frames, spinning frames, and power looms had allowed factories to reduce labor costs, and to produce large quantities of textiles that were previously unthinkable.


This resulted in the small towns and cities that dot Greater Manchester and Northern Yorkshire to become some of the richest in the British Empire. But this technological advance left a great many people behind.


Previously, the textile industry was dominated by skilled craftsmen, who were made redundant by the shift to machination. They simply couldn’t compete. They cost more to employ, and they worked slower. The machines, on the other hand, could be operated by an unskilled worker with just the minimal amount of training.

This shift to machination resulted in an extended period of civil turmoil, as the now-unemployed craftsmen attacked the factories operating the new equipment. Machines were smashed, factories and warehouses were torched, and industrialists were murdered.

It has been claimed that the first person to destroy these machines was called Ned Ludd. It is from Ludd where they derived their name – Luddites. This term persists today, and is a derisory word used to describe those opposed to technology, not just that used in textile fabrication.


There are, of course, more contemporary examples of how automation has devastated the employment prospects of blue-collar workers. You need only look at the automobile industry.

The first move to automation was made in 1961, when General Motors introduced their first robotic arm. Since then, robotics have became common-place in the factory floors of Detroit and Kentucky. Subsequently, Europe, Japan, and North America have hemorrhaged auto jobs.

Office Employment and the Machine

But you’d be mistaken if you thought it was just blue-collar employment that has fallen victim to automation and improved industrial processes. The same has happened to office-based employment. We just don’t talk about it all that much.

Long before the invention of the transistor and the vacuum tube, and before digital computers became financially viable for large companies, computers were actual people. The job of a human computer was to quite literally compute things. They would perform complex calculations by hand, following pre-defined algorithms and algebra.


These were commonplace in the offices of science, industry, military, and finance. But ultimately, they were replaced as it became affordable for businesses to buy their own electronic computers. Not only did they allow companies to save on labor costs, but they also worked faster than the human computers, and with greater precision.

Computers don’t make mistakes. They just do what you tell them to do.

There was a deeply sad side to these “Human Computers”. The early 20th century was a fundamentally patriarchal society, and for many highly educated women, it represented the highest position they could get in the sciences. One of the most touching accounts of this can be found in “When Computers Were Human” by David Alan Grier, whose own grandmother worked as a computer.

When Computers Were Human When Computers Were Human Buy Now On Amazon $42.00

Another long-forgotten casualty of the digital age was the typing pools, often called “secretarial pools”.

These were secretaries who weren’t assigned to any one employee in particular, but were shared among an entire company. Their job was to type, store, and manage documents, minutes, and correspondence.


Again, this was a highly female dominated field, largely as a consequence of the time in which they existed. Secretarial jobs were seen as being best suited to women.

The electronic computer was the death-knell for the typing pool. Companies no longer needed twenty employees to type the same letter, when mail merge in Microsoft Word How to Print Labels with Mail Merge in Microsoft Word and Excel Are you still using copy-and-paste to create labels, name badges, or other personalized mass communications? Mail Merge, a simple Microsoft Office automation tool, will let you print your labels in seconds. Read More worked just as well. They no longer needed people to manually type copies of documents, when they could just be saved to a hard drive.

Automation and the Office: What’s Happening Now

I think we’re close to seeing the end of many office-based jobs.

Companies, who are under increasing financial pressure, are looking to innovations in machine learning 4 Machine Learning Algorithms That Shape Your Life You may not realize it but machine learning is already all around you, and it can exert a surprising degree of influence over your life. Don't believe me? You might be surprised. Read More and artificial intelligence What Artificial Intelligence Isn't Are intelligent, sentient robots going to take over the world? Not today -- and maybe not ever. Read More , as well as the automation of repetitive tasks, in order to drastically cut costs. It’s been happening for a while.

One personal account of this dates back to 1997, and was published on the Tales from Tech Support community on Reddit. This largely consists of stories from front-line IT support workers, who are complaining about the challenging customers and clients they’ve had to support.

The story, which was titled “My first day on the job, and I accidentally got the secretary fired”, was published by user Zarokima. It describes the first day on his job, after he completed his masters degree in Computer Science.

“While the boss is showing me around, he gets an important phone call leaving me outside with his 3 secretaries — he was always very busy, and would be lost without their assistance. We strike up some conversation about our jobs, and one complains about how she has to keep track of some stuff on the server to make reports that the boss wanted daily, and it’s just the most boring, tedious crap.”

Eager to impress the boss, and to help the secretary with her day-to-day tasks, he wrote a small script on his lunch hour that automatically created the reports for her. It transpired that the creation of these reports was the sole duty of the secretary, and she was immediately made redundant.

The author of the story ended up receiving a promotion, and a subsequent rise in his wages.

While we can’t guarantee that this story is accurate, or just something that was contrived for Reddit Karma, I don’t doubt that many jobs could be replaced with automated scripts 4 Boring Tasks You Can Automate With the Windows Task Scheduler Your time is too valuable to be wasted with repetitive tasks. Let us show you how to automate and schedule tasks. We have a few great examples, too. Read More . Jobs where tasks are repetitive and outcomes are predictable are especially vulnerable to this.

This is essentially what happened to the automotive industry.

The Threat From Consumer Grade Automation

But we’ve also seen jobs which require creativity and human interaction become machinated. Translators, for example, have a mere 33% chance of being automated. There have been advances in translation algorithms, but they still can’t match a human translator when it comes to accuracy, and understanding the nuance of a language.

Last year, we came across a Portuguese startup called Unbabel, which offers quick, semi-automated translations Forget Google Translate: 3 Ways to Get an Accurate, Quick Translation Whether you're planning to apply for a job or an apartment abroad, or are looking to translate your web page, you need to get things right even with a foreign language. Read More . These were far cheaper than those done completely by hand.

Unbabel works by first translating the passage of text through an algorithm, much like Google Translate. A human fluent in that language would then go through the text, and check that it reads correctly, and would resolve any errors. While not fully automated, it’s certainly not far off.


Personal assistants (PAs, who if you’ll remember, had a 68% chance of being automated) are another profession that’s presently being replaced by complicated, AI algorithms.

PAs have a lot of responsibilities. They manage correspondence and maintain calendars. They prioritize schedules and make travel and hospitality bookings. But many of these tasks can now be performed (and performed well) with cheap, consumer-grade artificial intelligence.

Right now, Facebook is road-testing their flagship personal assistant AI, called Facebook M. Although it’s only available to a small cadre of US-based beta testers, it’s looking really promising.

That’s because it uses a medium of interaction that almost all of us are familiar with – Facebook Messenger. It’s also great at understanding what you mean, thanks to its use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms. So, if you type something “Find me somewhere to take a client to lunch”, or “send my mom some flowers”, the odds are good it will understand you.

Facebook M is so potent because it ties into a number of third-party services through its APIs (Application Programming Interfaces What Are APIs, And How Are Open APIs Changing The Internet Have you ever wondered how programs on your computer and the websites you visit "talk" to each other? Read More ). This allows it to make travel bookings, order products, make reservations, and even provide recommendations about places to eat and visit.

Although Apple’s Siri If You're Not Using Siri By Now, You Should Be Most of the commercials, jokes, and media hype about Apple's iOS voice assistant, Siri, have subsided, but I still run into iPhone users who don't take advantage of this powerful feature. Just the other day... Read More and Microsoft’s Cortana How Cortana Became The "Other Woman" In My Life She appeared one day and changed my life. She knows exactly what I need and has a wicked sense of humour. It's little wonder that I've fallen for the charms of Cortana. Read More have both made overtures at being truly comprehensive personal assistants, very few have come close to Facebook M. I can imagine Facebook M one day being a business-class product, that will ultimately make some question the value in having a human-based personal assistant on the payroll.

How Businesses Are Using Bespoke and Enterprise-Grade Automation

Some businesses have tasks which are so complicated, they cannot depend on off-the-shelf automation and AI products. They have to either create their own, or outsource the problem to another company. Britain’s New Statesman magazine profiled a number of these companies last year.

One of the companies highlighted was the mobile network O2.

Owned by the Spanish phone giant Telefonica, the O2 brand is present throughout much of Europe, with operations in Ireland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and the UK.

In the face of an ever-crowded mobile marketplace, and increasing threats from budget carriers, O2 launched a campaign of cost-cutting in 2012. By using an automation program bought from Blue Prism, they were able to reduce their dependence on offshoring and slash the number of customer service jobs.

This automation program allowed them to process simple customer service tasks with a minimal of human interaction. These tasks include the replacement of SIM cards, the porting of phone numbers, unlocking phones after the conclusion of a contract, and migrating customers from prepaid plans to contracts.

One of the UK’s largest banks, Barclays, has also been using an AI built by the Blue Prism Limited. This is the same company that produced the software used by O2 to streamline their customer service processes.

This AI was used to help the bank cope with the thousands of requests for insurance reimbursements, in the wake of the Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) scandal.

In both of these cases, AI and automation was used to replace jobs that were either occupied by humans, or could have been.

Not Just Automation: How the Sharing Economy Threatens Office Work

Could a change in business model also have an equally damaging effect on office-based jobs as automation?

Over the past ten years, we have seen the world of work become increasingly casual. Jobs which were once steady, and came with benefits like healthcare and paid time off, are being transformed into digital services that you can summon with a smartphone. This is a natural consequence of the mainstreaming of the sharing economy What Is The Sharing Economy, And What Does It Mean For You? It's really just ordinary people meeting a demand with resources they own, in order to make a profit – but what does that look like? Read More , and our increasing appetite for cheap, on-demand labor.

This race-to-the-bottom started off with traditionally blue-collar work, but increasingly, office-based jobs have been falling under the spell of the sharing economy.

The quintessential sharing economy product is Uber, which seemingly has just as many detractors as fans. Uber works by pairing casual drivers with willing passengers What Is Uber and Why Is It Threatening Traditional Taxi Services? Uber has landed, and it's fundamentally changing inner-city transit. And some might say, not entirely for the better. Read More , essentially creating a new class of taxi driver overnight. On one hand, they had to pay their own expenses. However, they were not beholden to same rules as traditional taxi drivers, and they could work the hours that suited them.


Services like Handy and TaskRabbit soon followed. These allow people to request the services of casual laborers and workers, who can be assigned to single tasks.

Through the tap of an app, you could summon a craftsman or cleaner. You can even summon someone to assemble your flat-pack Ikea furniture. But don’t confuse them with mainstream employment. You’re being connected with an independent contractor, and you have little-to-no ongoing obligations to them.

In recent years, we’ve seen a few of these companies transition from unskilled and semi-skilled jobs, as they start to offer on-demand, skilled labour.

TaskRabbit in particular have pivoted, and now they allow companies to employ personal assistants, data entry workers, and even web-developers and designers on the same informal, short-term basis as they would a cleaner. Although these would be considered office-based jobs, these “TaskRabbits” work remotely, and can be based anywhere.


Another service, called UpCounsel [No Longer Available], allows people to hire lawyers on a similar basis. The range of legal specialties on offer is absolutely dizzying, and it promises to be as much as 60% cheaper than engaging directly with a law firm.

The End of Employment as We Know It?

The office of the future will look a lot different to how it does today.

It will be leaner and depend more on automated processes and artificial intelligence than on human assets. It will probably be more elastic too. When demand increases, offices will be able to simply increase the number of machines they have running in order to cope. When the task can’t be automated, they’ll be able to summon some short-term workers from a service like Task Rabbit.


But what does the bigger picture look like?

For years now, people have been predicting that computer technologies and automation will have a destructive effect on employment. What Happens When Robots Can Do All the Jobs? Robots are getting smarter fast -- what happens when they can do every job better and cheaper than human beings? Read More Some have predicted that they’ll cost more jobs than they’ll create, and ultimately there won’t be enough to go around. There’s even a term for it – “technological unemployment”.

Perhaps the cruelest irony is that while the first jobs to be lost to computerization were predominantly held by women, the jobs that are currently most vulnerable to automation are being held by men.

It’s important to remember that these jobs will be lost at every end of the employment spectrum – from the blue-collar jobs, to those in administration, and beyond.

It’s what we do next that counts.

There’s always a hope that a future breakthrough will make up for the jobs that have been lost to AI and automation. This seems plausible. After all, although human computers and typing pools were made redundant by the electronic computer, it resulted in the creation of thousands of jobs in IT departments.


These new systems needed people to maintain them, and people to write software for them. They needed people to train others in how to use them.

But if that breakthrough fails to happen, our society will look radically different.

We might all find ourselves working part-time, in order to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to have gainful employment.

Our leaders might introduce an unconditional, minimum basic income (often called “mincome” after the Canadian program of the same name), where those unable to find employment will be free to pursue their own interests, hobbies, and spend time raising their families.

Experiments with basic income in Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands have been incredibly promising.

Our Automated Future Awaits

If we can learn anything from the Luddites, it’s that technological advances are a kind-of Pandora’s Box that cannot be undone after the fact. Automation and AI will undoubtedly have a radically transformative effect on our labor force, and it’s too late to stop it.

Whether that will necessarily be a bad thing remains to be seen.

Are you worried about automation? Do you think it could ultimately be beneficial? Are you in a job that’s at risk of being automated? How are you planning to cope? I want to hear about it. Leave me a comment below, and we’ll chat.

Photo Credits: People Walking by via Shutterstock, Large modern empty storehouse by Alexey Fursov via Shutterstock, Dead Office (Nicholas Eckhart), IT Department (Tim Dorr)

Explore more about: Automotive Technology, Computer Automation, Longform Feature, Longform History, Productivity.

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  1. NonHuman
    January 29, 2017 at 5:39 am

    Why this notion of "working" is so getting into the minds of humans? No body has to "work" just for the sake of it. The term "work" must be associated with the productivity from the organisation point of view and the sustainability from the environmental point of view. As these factors are constantly changing, so will be the very meaning of work. So I agree with the "minicome" theory rather than wasting and destroying resources to make some people happy to get short term political advantage.

  2. Anonymous
    February 13, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Minimum wages are state-mandated wages and state-mandated association as opposed to free ones. Those supporting state-mandated associations over free ones I call fascists - regardless of left-wing or right-wing.

    I always support freedom of association. It's clear many people do not support that liberal view turning instead to state-mandates enforced through the threat of state force.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 16, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      Yeah, but when you start calling everyone a fascist, that word starts to lose its meaning.

      For what it's worth, I always support living wages, neutral networks, and single-payer healthcare.

      Not that it (or your comment, for that matter) has anything to do with the article though.

      • Anonymous
        February 16, 2016 at 9:43 pm

        I call it fascist because it is based upon state-mandated association ----- whether right -wing or left. Those who support freedom of association I don't call fascist regardless of their beliefs !.

        You always support living wages ? That's interesting, so if it's coupled with "kill all Jews" , you'd be there supporting it. :D

        Fine, you don't give a damn how those living wages are instituted.

      • Anonymous
        February 16, 2016 at 10:34 pm

        And I support freedom Freedom of Communication - Internet, oral(speech), and printed(press) communication.

        Net Neutrality is state-mandated communication and inherently a violation of freedom of communication.

  3. Michael
    February 13, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    It's worth looking at the future of work as an exchange of personal time for compensation, or expected compensation (example, studying or interning for a specific marketable skill set). Most of the digital immigrants in my generation will be shoved aside, finding their college degrees and 20th-century experiences valueless. Why should the government guarantee us more than enough to keep a roof over our heads and dogfood on our tables?

    Yet some digital natives will fall into the same trap, believing that the college loans they are still paying off decades after the information became obsolete justifies enough compensation to live a fulfilling life (and pay off those college loans, of course).

    What we all need is instruction in slurping from the Money River, as Kurt Vonnegut called it, because there has been incredible wealth flowing through the world for decades, orders of magnitude greater than the small amounts that we eagerly accept in exchange for the very few hours we have in our lives.

  4. Blackpearl1477
    February 13, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    The way I see the future is a society working when needed in a form of free labor. Meaning working for society instead for a company. Thus a financial economy will be of the past too. I know this is hard to explain in deeper context but it's more a societal egotistical problem we individually create.

    • Anonymous
      February 13, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Sounds very much like Karl Marx's vision of communism "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." IOW, everybody works for the government without getting paid but gets all their needs satisfied for free. It would require a major change in human nature to make this work.

    • Anonymous
      February 14, 2016 at 12:25 am

      Working for society instead of a company? You will be doing this by state-mandated associations, right -- as opposed to free ones. Fascism.

      • Rob Nightingale
        February 16, 2016 at 5:57 pm

        You seem to talk about state-mandated associations a lot, Howard. I would suggest finding a simpler term that more people can understand instantly, instead of a piece of state-mandated jargon ;)

        Ps. From your comments, can I assume you are an anarchist?

        Relating to the article, I see basic income as the most promising option to fight technological unemployment. It still allows for capitalism, and strong aspects of socialism, without degrading into communism. Plus, there's a good number of trials happening around the world right now, which fills me with hope.

        • Anonymous
          February 16, 2016 at 9:55 pm

          State-mandated associations is a fairly simple term, you failed to understand ? Please tell me why and I will try to enlighten you.

          You can assume I don't support coercive monopolies - business or government.

          Basic income ... you mean state-mandated income ? or how to you plan to actually implement that ? Through the threat of state force ?

          I support a market based upon freedom of association ( a free market) NOT capitalism, as such, which is merely 1 form. If you don't support freedom of association but prefer to rely on state-mandated ones, just tell us .

        • Rob Nightingale
          February 23, 2016 at 8:31 pm

          I believe freedom of association can only work if there are some forms of restrictions on those associations. As the age old idea goes, all freedom requires some form of restriction, else we'd have chaos and randomness.

          A basic income is usually seen as a replacement for complex welfare systems. Governments already charge corporations tax. This would just be an alternative way of distributing that income. Citizens are still free to work- there is no state mandated employment or unemployment (using your own terms).

          And if we went one step further, we could see that the requirement to have a job to earn money (instead of the state allocating basic income to everyone) is essentially the state mandating that everyone of working age must work. A basic income potentially does away with this mandate, giving citizens even more freedom, which I assume you would support?

        • Anonymous
          February 23, 2016 at 10:03 pm

          >I believe freedom of association can only work if there are some forms of restrictions on those associations.

          Do not confuse FREE with FREEDOM ! Freedom of association already has restrictions as the associations must be voluntary and free for ALL associates.

          >A basic income is usually seen as a replacement for complex welfare systems.

          A Basic income is a state-mandated income backed by the threat of state force just like the minimum wage is a state-mandated wage.

          >And if we went one step further, we could see that the requirement to have a job to earn money (instead of the state allocating basic income to everyone) is essentially the state mandating that everyone of working age must work.

          In a free society there is no requirement to have a job. That is basically your CHOICE and those willing to hire you. Choice is gone if the job is state-mandated.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 16, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Oh, you're right Blackpearl1477. I can't wait for it, to tell you the truth. It'll nice for people to be motivated by something besides money.

  5. Anonymous
    February 13, 2016 at 2:48 am

    "Our leaders might introduce an unconditional, minimum basic income "
    Typical pollyannaish liberal bovine manure. Sounds great in theory and in small pilot projects but when scaled up to real life proportions, it is a complete failure. Where will the money come from to pay this "minimum basic income"? What happens when most people's jobs have been automated out of existence? Who is going to pay the taxes that support this? Or are governments just print more money?

    A good preview of the Guaranteed Minimum Income debacle are the various private and public retirement systems in the US. They looked great when many more people were paying into them than were drawing from them. Now that the Baby Boomers have begun to retire in numbers, some retirement systems have gone bankrupt, others are $Billions in the red. Add to that stock market fluctuations and inept investing by the retirement fund managers, and many retirees that thought they had a "guaranteed income" for their golden years have been forced back to work.

    Another good (or bad, depending on your point of view) example is the federal government's Social Secuirty Insurance. When it was started, there were something like 20 workers working to support one retiree. IIRC, the last figures I saw showed that now there only 8 workers working to support one retiree. That does not mean that the system has become more efficient. It means that there are so many more retirees. When SS was started, the tax was 1% for the employee, 1% for the employer and the retirement age was 65. In 1965 only the first $6600 of a workers salary had SS Tax on it. Even in the 1970s, it was possible for workers to reach their SS Tax limit before the end of the year. For those entering the work force today the employer and employee are taxed at 6% each, salaries up to $114,000 are taxed and the retirement age is 67 years and a couple of months. Congress is considering raising all three limits to make sure that Social Security Fund does not dry up. Let's also not forget that, because of advances in medicine, life expectancy today is about 20 years more than when Social Security started. More SS beneficiaries are living, and collecting benefits, much longer.

    Has anybody considered the emotional and societal impact of "minimum basic income"? What happens when only a small percentage of the population is working to support the vast majority on "minimum basic income", in other words the unemployed? I certainly would resent having to work for a salary while others just sit at home and collect checks for doing nothing.

    • Anonymous
      February 14, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      The mistake is for conservatives to continually talk about the concept of minimum wage and how it works - almost never mentioning the fact that it is a state-mandated wage.

      Probably because ultimately they gave into supporting it like they will do with Obamacare if not repealed soon.

    • Matthew Hughes
      February 16, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      > Where will the money come from to pay this “minimum basic income”?

      Consolidation of existing entitlement programs and taxation, which is way too low at the moment.

      > A good preview of the Guaranteed Minimum Income debacle are the various private and public retirement systems in the US. They looked great when many more people were paying into them than were drawing from them. Now that the Baby Boomers have begun to retire in numbers, some retirement systems have gone bankrupt, others are $Billions in the red.

      That's a problem, but one that can be addressed with better management of pension funds (read: the opposite of what New Jersey has done), and with later retirement ages.

      > Has anybody considered the emotional and societal impact of “minimum basic income”?

      Time to work on your own interests and hobbies, to spend with your families, and freedom from financial anxieties? Sounds terrible.

      > What happens when only a small percentage of the population is working to support the vast majority on “minimum basic income”, in other words the unemployed?

      I pay taxes. I don't mind that my hard-earned dollars goes towards helping my fellow human beings, through free healthcare and unemployment benefits. Most decent people are the same. I imagine that'll diminish at scale.

      Proud liberal socialist reporting in.

      • Anonymous
        February 16, 2016 at 6:51 pm

        "I pay taxes. I don’t mind that my hard-earned dollars goes towards helping my fellow human beings, through free healthcare and unemployment benefits."
        BRAVO! A very noble sentiment when your taxes are minimal. I wonder if you would feel the same way if you were one of the just 5% still working for a living and paying taxes at a 90%-95% rate supporting the other 95% of the population that was "working on their own interests and hobbies" while munching on bon-bons.

        "Proud liberal socialist"
        Once upon the time I used to be one of those. Then reality bit me on the ass.

      • Anonymous
        February 16, 2016 at 10:05 pm

        Consolidation of state programs ? Programs already supported and installed thru legalized state theft. The state has no resources of it's own that it doesn't "TAKE" .

        Better management of pension funds already forced on people through state-mandated association ?

        Actually what you mind or don't mind is really only relevant for your own choices (as long as we are not talking murder ,theft, etc) ..... not mine or others just because you think you know what is good and proper for the state to mandate onto others without their consent.

        And ALL state-mandated socialism where associations are mandated on to people is fascism until communism.

      • Anonymous
        February 17, 2016 at 9:46 am

        You support taxation ? Legalized state-theft.

        "In common usage, theft is the taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it"

        I do believe taxation qualifies under that definition. Unless of course you consider the state the rightful owner of the citizens assets. My guess is that your do.

        A liberal is someone who supports freedom of association rather than state-mandated ones; and freedom of press - not state-mandated printed income forms or state-mandated printed (product) labels.

        Voluntary socialism is fine. State-mandated association/socialism is fascism.