After the precariat, the unnecessariat: the humans who are superfluous to corporations

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Iffy claim. Part of Obamacare was Medicaid expansion.


It’s by lottery, though. I know many people who can neither afford Obamacare nor qualify for Medicare. Don’t get me wrong: I am a happy Obamacare user, and my family would not have emigrated to the USA if not for it.



Part of the book “The R-Master” was about this: what happens if an inhumane government decides that the vast majority of humanity is superfluous?

The only solution the protagonists could come up with was BTFSTTG and start fresh with a new system, built from the ground up on more humane principles.

I hope it doesn’t need to come to that.


It won’t be the guvmint.

It’ll be the computers. They will decide this.


The gap is a terrible thing, and the GOP’s refusal to adopt Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in many states has kept it far worse than it needs to be out of spiteful partisanship (gleefully screwing the Unnecessariat). My point was tersely intended to point out that Obamacare did increase coverage for the Unnecessariat, so it’s not really the ideal thing to point fingers at. Obamacare doesn’t do enough (no private insurance scheme can), but what it did made things less bad for some of the Unnecessariat.


An ex of mine is caught in this valley. She makes too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet after paying her unsubsidized monthly premium, her bottom line is actually worse off than if her income had been below the qualification threshold to begin with. Her situation is further compounded by her student loans, which are now in repayment.

It’s a systemic fault that’s crippling mobility among young and new workers in the U.S. even as they’re told by their supposed representatives that their country fosters mobility better than any other country on Earth. I can’t think of a more efficient way to breed cynicism.


I have a friend in the same boat and it doesn’t help that she’s a conservative who totally hates Obama to begin with. :stuck_out_tongue:


Are not the states that are the darkest red in the reference map those that are fighting the Medicaid expansion the hardest?


Reminds me of Manna, by Marshall Brain (the prose isn’t the best, but it’s mostly designed as an essay on the effects of automation on a US-style capitalistic society delivered via a story perspective). The vastly expanded unnecessariat are imprisoned/housed in robot-built “welfare terrafoam housing” by chapter 4. (then the viewpoint character is rescued by a long-term investment made by her father and taken to a robot-supported anarcho-communist society in Australia, which is very much a Mary Suetopia with glaring single-points-of-failure)


As prophesized in the Terminator, the Matrix, the 13th Floor and every other AI-centric dystopian future story.


I’ve never tried, but I suspect that negotiating your income down is pretty easy.


I have a relative who wrote a big long raging facebook post about how obamacare was going to cost her way more than not having insurance and explicitly commanded that nobody reply with anything that contradicted her.

And then she mentioned as an aside in a reply to some other comment on facebook a month later that actually the subsidy made the premium almost zero.


While this seems to make her look like an idiot, I think it’s in fact indicative of how bad things have got in American politics if at first she (presumably) believed with all her heart that elected politicians would screw her over so completely. Either that, or it shows how poorly the Obamacare idea was communicated.


I think its more subtle than idiocy. She isn’t particularly dim.

It is an excellent example of how worldviews become un-mooored from reality. Surely the many people who posted supportive comments to her initial complaint never noticed that it had actually turned out to be unfounded. And they go on to repeat this story to others. The story is that she is getting screwed by obamacare, the reality is that she is getting super cheap coverage (actually I think she has a job again that has benefits, so was). Basically she told the story her friends want to hear very loudly, but was very quiet when the reality didn’t match the worldview.


My experience with extended family members has been – the less able the person is, the louder he/she carps in public about how ‘those people’ are injuring him/her. (Obama being King of Those People, rather than POTUS in their eyes). The loudest of all were the ones I knew to be living on some kind of dole, either the bank of Dad, social security, Medicaid + inheritance, etc.

Seems like with my people at least that it’s more common in those over 40. Which is why I’m able to use the past tense now. Unfortunately.

Not all the Unnecessariat are high school dropouts shooting up in Deadville, IN. They are scattered throughout the nation, ineffectually protected by extended family.


A very evocative article. I find myself reading it and looking at my kids, thinking “What can I do to keep them out of the Unnecessariat?”

I think the last 30 years of rapid change have taught us that whatever they learn in school (outside basic RRR and social skills) is not job training in any meaningful way. The next 30 years will continue the trend and see most current jobs automated out of existence.

I really don’t want my kids to experience the kind of despair that writer is presenting.


What an unbelievably cynical, disgusting response for people caught, through no fault of their own, in bureaucratic red tape designed to, also, cynically dismiss such people.

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I agree, I am concerned about my own skill mix for the next 30 years, let alone the children.
There is technological unemployment but also under-employment - the jobs growth currently is in low paying, no advancement personal care and food service roles.

This is an interesting podcast from KMO at the C-Realm last year