Newer Times

Andy Pearmain's Newer Times takes up a generation later the idea of the famous Marxism Today ‘New Times’ thesis. Pearmain suggests that the coming of robotisation is going to fundamentally change the nature of our society and our politics.

It means an end to Labourism, and suggests new opportunities and a new need for Green ideas such as the Citizens Income. For, under the influence of robotisation, we face either a hideously unequal future where a few are rich while the rest are unneeded, or a genuine leisure society at last for all.

Simultaneously, Green House is publishing a response by its Chair, Rupert Read, to Pearmain’s pamphlet. This Gas argues in response to Pearmain that robotisation itself is going to be a very temporary phenomenon: planetary limits will (within a generation or at most two) severely limit the supplies of raw materials and energy needed to enable large-scale robotisation, and pollution-crises part-speeded-up by huge investments in automation will have the same effect. The question is whether we can rein in robotisation soon enough to ensure that ‘Peak Robot’ occurs under our control, and not as a result of a crash forced on us by collapsing ecosystems.

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