Economic warfare in Venezuela

November 14th, 2017

by STEVE ELLNER

Given the thick haze of disinformation surrounding the economic situation in Venezuela, we thought it would be useful to publish the first chapter of Professor Pasqualina C. Curcio’s excellent volume, The Visible Hand of the Market: Economic Warfare in Venezuela (available for free online). We are grateful to Steve Ellner for writing a brief introduction to Professor Curico and the excerpted chapter. Note that the present version has been edited from the original PDF to improve readability. —Eds.

Introduction by Steve Ellner

For several years, university professor Pasqualina C. Curcio has presented a wealth of empirical information in order to refute the notion that market logic, government incompetence and a flawed socialist model are responsible for the severe problems of shortages and inflation that afflict Venezuela. In The Visible Hand of the Market: Economic Warfare in Venezuela, Curcio discards the various explanations put forward by the Venezuelan opposition and the corporate media and concludes that the shortages have been induced as has the nation’s triple-digit inflation. The shortages are the result of hoarding and contraband, not due to the decline in national production or the failure of the government to provide the commercial sector with the necessary foreign currency to pay for imports. In fact, for the years that she analyzes between 2003 and 2013, the correlations claimed by government adversaries were not borne out by the facts: declining national production did not produce shortages nor did the state’s failure to sell sufficient dollars to finance imports. Furthermore, the types of goods that are in short supply are those controlled by oligopolistic companies, as opposed to small-sized businesses. All this demonstrates that what Curcio calls “planned shortages,” or economic sabotage, are largely responsible for the pressing economic problems facing the nation, similar to the case in Chile under Allende and in other leftist-governing nations throughout history.
Chapter I. Planned Shortages1

Shortage, along with inflation, is one of the two main hardships that Venezuelans have been facing from the economic and social point of view since mid-2012. Both phenomena have repercussions not only on aspects related to the economy of households but also on the standards of living of the population.

Shortage has been particularly apparent in the case of essential items, such as food staples, medicines, toiletries and household products. But shortages have also extended to raw materials and inputs necessary for local production, including agriculture, and machinery spare parts for the manufacturing sector; as well as goods essential to invigorate and mobilize the economy, such as the transport of goods and people, has been hard to find – car spare parts, accumulators, among others.

Even goods necessary for health care, with a great possibility of negatively impacting the standards of living of the population, have also been unavailable. Particularly medicines for outpatient and hospital use, as well as surgical equipment used in health care facilities.

Interestingly, shortage is rather more frequent in the case of goods than in the case of services. This issue is analysed later so as to understand both part of this phenomenon and draw a clear distinction between economic crisis and economic warfare.

While inflation is analysed in detail in the next chapter, it is worth discussing its wicked effects on the social and economic situation of households, particularly those depending on a salary for labour (as the only factor of production they own). Households whose income derives from the profits of the capital are in a better position to adjust their income to the levels of inflation. In Venezuela, as in all countries, most households live on a salary.

Inflation deteriorates the purchasing power of workers, thus forcing them to reschedule their spending structure and prioritize the satisfaction of their basic necessities – food, transport and medicines. In other words, and in terms of the economy as a whole, inflationary processes of this type in the medium and long term will adversely affect the sectors of the economy, as a result of a decrease in the demand for other items due to the shrinking purchasing power of the working class. Failure to address inflationary phenomenon can result in serious economic situations in the medium term.

So far I have said nothing new. Venezuelans have experienced this. Further, the Government has denounced, nationally and internationally, such destabilization plans, labelling them as “economic warfare” and has announced and taken measures to counter them accordingly.

This work is intended to demonstrate—with data, official figures and economic analysis—that shortage and inflation result from destabilization and manipulation plans carried out by specific sectors, and are not the result of macroeconomic imbalances caused by a failed model, as argued by opposition sectors.

Monthly Review Online for more

New York Times acknowledges US global empire

November 14th, 2017

by SHELDON RICHMAN

IMAGE/Revolution Chronicles

One big advantage the war party has is the public’s ignorance about the activities of the far-flung American empire. Athough frustrating, that ignorance is easy to understand and has been explained countless times by writers in the public choice tradition. Most people are too busy with their lives, families, and communities to pay the close attention required to know that the empire exists and what it is up to. The opportunity cost of paying attention is huge, considering that the payoff is so small: even a well-informed individual could not take decisive action to rein in the out-of-control national security state. One vote means nothing, and being knowledgeable about the U.S. government’s nefarious foreign policy is more likely to alienate friends and other people than influence them. Why give up time with family and friends just so one can be accused of “hating America”?

In light of this systemic rational ignorance, we must be grateful when a prominent institution acknowledges how much the government intervenes around the world. Such an acknowledgment came from the New York Times editorial board this week. The editorial drips with irony since the Times has done so much to gin up public support for America’s imperial wars. (See, for example, its 2001-02 coverage of Iraq and its phantom WMD.) Stlll, the piece is noteworthy.

The Oct. 22 editorial began:

The United States has been at war continuously since the attacks of 9/11 and now has just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories.

That alone ought to come as a shock to nearly all Americans. The UN has 193 member states — and the U.S. government has a military presence in at least 89 percent of them! The Times does not mention that the government also maintains at least 800 military bases and installations around the world. That’s a big government we’re talking about. And empires are bloody expensive.

The Times went on:


While the number of men and women deployed overseas has shrunk considerably over the past 60 years, the military’s reach has not. American forces are actively engaged not only in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen that have dominated the news, but also in Niger and Somalia, both recently the scene of deadly attacks, as well as Jordan, Thailand and elsewhere.

The editorial writer might have mentioned that the U.S. government has been bombing seven Muslim countries for years when you count Pakistan and Libya. Civilian casualties were high under Barack Obama and are growing under Donald Trump. Having an alleged isolationist in the White House hasn’t done much for the long-suffering Muslims in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa.

The Times then provided this useful tidbit: “An additional 37,813 troops serve on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as ‘unknown.’ The Pentagon provided no further explanation.”

Unknown, that is, to the people whom in theory the government is of, by, and for. Under the government’s actual operating principle, no explanation is required. Who the hell do the people think they are anyway?

To its credit, the Times reminded us “there are traditional deployments in Japan (39,980 troops) and South Korea (23,591) … along with 36,034 troops in Germany, 8,286 in Britain and 1,364 in Turkey — all NATO allies. There are 6,524 troops in Bahrain and 3,055 in Qatar, where the United States has naval bases.”

The writer suggested these are defensive deployments. I guess it’s too much to expect the Times to acknowledge that the U.S. government has a knack for creating the threats it then claims it must defend against.

The editorial writer pointed out that

America’s operations in conflict zones like those in Africa are expanding: 400 American Special Forces personnel in Somalia train local troops fighting the Shabab Islamist group, providing intelligence and sometimes going into battle with them. One member of the Navy SEALs was killed there in a mission in May. On Oct. 14, a massive attack widely attributed to the Shabab on a Mogadishu street killed more than 270 people, which would show the group’s increased reach. About 800 troops are based in Niger, where four Green Berets died on Oct. 4.

The U.S. presence in Niger was surely news to most people — it certainly was to senior members of the U.S. Senate.

CounterPunch for more

October 30-November 5: Bolsheviks marshal forces for the revolution

November 14th, 2017

WORLD SOCIALIST WEB SITE

The Russian writer Maxim Gorky, editor of Novaya Zhizn

With the Military Revolutionary Committee in open defiance of government authority, the loyalties of key sections of workers and soldiers are tested and confirmed. Meanwhile, the forces of the Provisional Government are isolated and undermined. Without firing a shot, the Bolsheviks begin transferring power into their hands, while the government forces feel it slipping away.

Opposing the decision of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party to prepare for an armed uprising, Lev Kamenev resigns from the CC on October 29 (October 16, O.S.). He demands that his objections to Lenin’s resolution be published in the party’s central organ, Rabochii put’ (The Workers’ Path). When the editorial board rejects this demand, Kamenev sends a brief summary of his position to Maxim Gorky’s newspaper Novaya Zhizn’ (The New Life). Gorky’s newspaper promptly publishes Kamenev’s attack on the Bolshevik leadership and reveals the Bolshevik preparations for an uprising, adding a condemnation of the Bolsheviks by Gorky himself. The letter by Kamenev stated:

Not only Comrade [Grigory] Zinoviev and I, but also a number of practical comrades think that to assume the initiative of an armed insurrection at the present moment, with the given correlation of forces, independently of and several days before the Congress of Soviets, is an inadmissible step ruinous to the proletariat and to the revolution. …it is our obligation under the given conditions to speak out against any attempt to take the initiative for an armed uprising, which would be doomed to defeat and would entail the most devastating consequences for the party, for the proletariat, for the fate of the revolution…

Lenin, who learns about the letter from a comrade who dictates it to him over the phone, is furious. Fearing that the publication could explode the plans for a seizure of power, he demands that the Central Committee expel Kamenev and Zinoviev for their violation of party discipline. In a letter to Bolshevik party members, written that same day, he denounces their “strike-breaking act:”

It is perfectly clear from the text of Kamenev’s and Zinoviev’s statement that they have gone against the Central Committee, for otherwise their statement would be meaningless. But they do not say what specific decision of the Central Committee they are disputing. Why? The reason is obvious: because it has not been published by the Central Committee. What does this boil down to? On a burning question of supreme importance, on the eve of the critical day of October 20, two “prominent Bolsheviks” attack an unpublished decision of the Party centre and attack it in the non-Party press and, furthermore, in a paper which on this very question is hand in glove with the bourgeoisie against the workers’ party! This is a thousand times more despicable and a million times more harmful than all the statements Plekhanov, for example, made in the non-Party press in 1906-07, and which the Party so sharply condemned! At that time it was only a question of elections, whereas now it is a question of an insurrection for the conquest of power! On such a question, after a decision has been taken by the centre, to dispute this unpublished decision in front of the Rodziankos and Kerenskys in a non-Party paper—can you imagine an act more treacherous or blacklegging any worse? I should consider it disgraceful on my part if I were to hesitate to condemn these former comrades because of my earlier close relations with them. I declare outright that I no longer consider either of them comrades and that I will fight with all my might, both in the Central Committee and at the Congress, to secure the expulsion of both of them from the Party.

World Socialist Web Site for more

India: Busting the myths and and propaganda regarding Taj Mahal propagated by the Hindutva right wing

November 13th, 2017

by MANIMUGDHA S SHARMA

PHOTO/Getty

Busting the Taj fake news

First it was UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath saying the Taj Mahal didn’t reflect Indian culture.
Then, UP Tourism removed the 17th-century monument from a tourist booklet. Sardhana MLA Sangeet Som went on to call it a “blot on India” and another senior BJP leader, Vinay Katiyar, shared the ‘Taj-is-a-Hindu-temple’ story. With so many controversies, perhaps it’s worthwhile to bust some myths surrounding the Taj.

The hands of Taj’s workers were cut off

A popular tale about the Taj that crops up in the stories of local guides in Agra and on various Right-wing websites says that after the Taj was finished, Shah Jahan ordered his soldiers to cut off the hands of the master masons so that they could never replicate the wonder.

This story contrasts with available evidence and a vast settlement called Taj Ganj that still exists today. It was set up by Emperor Shah Jahan to house the thousands of masons, artisans and other workers who had assembled from the distant parts of his empire. The descendants of those workers still live there and practise the skills of their forefathers.

The fact remains that after finishing the Taj, Shah Jahan’s workers built for him a whole new imperial city called Shahjahanabad in Delhi. It would have been well nigh impossible to maim thousands of expert artisan and find replacements to work on another equally grand project in such a short time.

It was originally Tejo Mahalaya

Another story in circulation is that the Taj Mahal and Red Fort had been built by Hindu kings. In fact, the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, had once published an article to theorise this, much to the chagrin of Right-leaning historian R C Majumdar who, according to historian Irfan Habib, refused to write for it ever again for publishing such “nonsense”.

But facts have never come in the way of a good Taj story as a former Indian National Army propaganda officer Purshottam Nagesh Oak showed. In a 1989 book, Oak, who worked with the I&B ministry after Independence, claimed that Taj Mahal was a corruption of Tejo Mahalaya, an ancient Shiva temple that was made into a Muslim tomb. Oak cited things like Hindu motifs in the building and the absence of the name Taj Mahal in Mughal records to build a castle in thin air. Historians point out that Taj was never called that in the Mughal period but Rauza-i-Munavvara, or that Mughal buildings have traditionally had Hindu motifs. They dismissed Oak as a “mythistorian”.

The British wanted to dismantle the Taj

This myth arose in the first half of the 19th century during the tenure of Governor General Lord William Bentinck, best known to Indians as the man who abolished Suttee. So, how did this myth come about?

In 1830, Bentinck had undertaken an expedition to North India, which brought him to Agra. There, he found the building that once housed the royal hammam (Mughal bath) in a decrepit condition. The bath had been earlier removed by Governor General Lord Hastings in 1815, as he thought it was the only way to save it. Bentinck felt the same way and ordered the marble there to be sold off piecemeal. A rumour soon spread in military circles that Bentinck wanted to dismantle and sell off the Taj. This gossip soon reached Calcutta, the British capital, where the story was further embellished upon in the English-language press.

This soon became a theory that made its appearance in art historian E B Havell’s 1908 work, Indian Sculpture and Painting. G T Garratt in his The Legacy of India (1937) and H G Rawlinson in his British Achievement in India (1948) repeated it.

Communalism Combat for more for more

Monuments to unbelief

November 13th, 2017

by LEIGH E, SCHMIDT

Detail of the inscription upon the tombstone of Christian Roman in Sidney, Ohio PHOTO/Leigh E. Schmidt

Atheist museums, Satanic temples and Thomas Paine statues: how secularists push back against religion in the public sphere

In the hospital with severe heart problems, Christian Roman had been told he was dying. Then in his mid-60s, the sometime teacher, travelling salesman, farmer and lawyer from the town of Sidney in Ohio was counting up his regrets from his hospital bed, and the one that gnawed at him the most was that he had done nothing to advance the cause of freethinking secularism. Fearing the damage that an open avowal of unbelief would do locally to his business and reputation, he had kept his irreligious views concealed for decades. With various ministers visiting him uninvited in his infirmity – there were 17 churches in town, and Roman cared for none of them – he decided that he would commission a glorious cemetery monument through which he would finally ‘speak my mind without reservation’.

Roman’s heart did not fail him this time (it would a few years later, in 1951). Still, he wanted to make good on his hospital pledge, and saw no need now to wait for a posthumous testimonial. Why not proactively erect his ‘Agnostic Monument’ in Graceland Cemetery for all to see ‘regardless of public censure’? Investing much of his savings in the project, he wanted it to be the largest monument in the Sidney graveyard, and he pulled off the installation in August 1948. The result was imposing: a giant granite block heralding the freethinking triumvirate of the deistic revolutionary Thomas Paine, the infidel orator Robert Ingersoll, and the Cornell president Andrew Dickson White. ‘READ THEIR WORKS,’ the megalith advised. An anti-sermon in stone, Roman’s monument declared science the ‘SOLE REVELATION’, and repeated Ingersoll’s freethinking thoughts on death and immortality. Also, as his beloved Ingersoll was wont to do, Roman slipped in some bourgeois moralising with his irreligious polemic: ‘EVILS OF MY DAY; USE OF TOBACCO, ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AND RELIGIOUS SUPERSTITION.’ He wanted his neighbours to know that he could be good – and just as abstemious as a Methodist teetotaller – without God.

The monument certainly got the community talking, attracting ‘a constant stream’ of curious visitors to ponder its bold message. The pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, John W Meister, devoted a whole sermon to the subject of ‘Christian Roman’s Tombstone’, which conjured to him a spectre of infidelity weirdly out of place amid the United States’ postwar religious upswing. ‘I never seriously thought that in my generation there would be cause for argument with a real, live agnostic,’ Meister preached to a crowded congregation. After two world wars and the Great Depression, humanistic self-regard paled before the sterner stuff of neo-orthodox faith and, with the dawning of the Cold War, there was little room for doubting God, Jesus and the Bible without seeming to underwrite Soviet communism and atheism.

Aeon for more

Kaleb and Kordale: Meet America’s new model family

November 13th, 2017

by AARON HICKLIN

Picture perfect: (from left) Desmiray, Kordale, Kaleb, baby Caleb IV, Kordale Jr and Maliyah PHOTO/Raymond McCrea Jones/Observer

Kordale Lewis, Kaleb Anthony and their four children have taken social media by storm, creating an inspiring all-American family. Aaron Hicklin visits them in Georgia

Kordale Lewis has just returned from a late-night visit to the shops with his daughters, Desmiray, 11, and Maliyah, 10. Their large, grandly furnished home in the Atlanta suburbs is humming with anticipation of an imminent family trip to Paris. The girls have bought some accessories and Kaleb Anthony, Kordale’s partner, is taking an inventory.

“What did you dress them in?” he asks. Kordale replies that he bought pink trousers to go with Maliyah’s black flats and grey sweater. Kaleb is dubious: “Black flats with light colours?” Kordale ignores the provocation. “Desmiray is wearing black leggings with that sweater and her brown heels,” he says.


Two black gay men clowning around with their kids is still an arresting image in 2017 as it’s so rarely shown

Another grimace from Kaleb. “Black on top of brown?” Behind us, Desmiray is practising a model’s snaking walk in her heels. Her fathers enrolled her in the Barbizon modelling school and have high hopes for her future career. She and Maliyah recently received video cameras in order to blog their journey into adolescence, and trailed one another around the Target store recording stray observations. This is a household profoundly comfortable with the social-media age.

Neither Kordale nor Kaleb have been to Europe – and this will be no ordinary family vacation. The two men and their four children are attending Paris Fashion Week as guests of Acne Studios – the avant-garde, often precious, Swedish brand that cast the family as the face of its latest campaign after spotting them on Instagram. The Acne images were shot by fashion faves Inez & Vinoodh, who have also photographed Lady Gaga and Barack Obama, among others.

One shot shows the family in the master bedroom, Kaleb resting on the bed, shirt pulled up around his neck to reveal his buff chest and tattoos, while Kordale stands in the foreground, balancing their youngest child, now aged one, on his shoulder. Their three other children, Desmiray, Maliyah, and Kordale Jr, nine, pose and pirouette on the bed behind Kaleb. It is not their first advertising campaign – in 2015 they were in a popular digital video for Nikon cameras– and the couple are determined to make sure it won’t be their last.

The Guardian for more

Weekend Edition

November 10th, 2017

Enemies of people, nation, democracy

November 10th, 2017

by B. R. GOWANI

IMAGE/Institute for Policy Studies

3 have more wealth then the bottom 50% of the people in the US
i.e., Jeff Bezos, Bill gates, and Warren Buffet = 160 million people
25 billionaires = 178 million people
400 billionaire = 204 million people

most of the money sits in offshore accounts
even though most of the money is made out of US people

19% people in the US have zero or negative wealth
insecurity, desperation, uncertainty gnaws them

super rich have no love for the common people
else they would invest their money in creating jobs

they use United States as a hotel
where they stay without any affinity

these people are harmful to the democracy
because they constantly widen the gap between the people

English social reformerJeremy Bentham‘s philosophy was

“it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number
that is the measure of right and wrong.”

government has lost the power to control these wolves
so these wolves are calling the shots
which is a dangerous trend emerging around the world
this will lead to more death and destruction

solution: governments need to think seriously about this menace
and should take steps which could arrest this loss of power
it should minimize to the maximum, the happiness of these filthy rich
and should distribute the remaining happiness among the 204 million people

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

Pakistan, land of the intolerant

November 10th, 2017

by MOHAMMED HANIF

Pakistanis in Lahore mourned outside one of two mosques of the minority Ahmadi sect that were attacked on May 28, 2010, killing some 90 Ahmadis PHOTO/Arif Ali/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

This country has a poor record of protecting its religious minorities, but we outdo ourselves when it comes to Ahmadis. Members of the sect insist on calling themselves Muslims, and we mainstream Muslims insist on treating them like the worst kind of heretics.

The day I wrote this piece, a small headline in a newspaper informed me that an Ahmadi lawyer, his wife and two-year-old child had been shot dead by gunmen at home, for being Ahmadis. Killings like this have happened so many times that the story wasn’t even the main news. On May 28, 2010, some 90 Ahmadis were killed during attacks on two mosques in Lahore. No public official attended the funerals.

You would think that the government, law enforcers and the courts would do something about such sustained acts of brutality. But they are too hard at work. I learned from another recent headline that a district court near Lahore, in eastern Pakistan, had sentenced three Ahmadi men to death for blasphemy. A fourth man was shot dead before the trial while in police custody.

It is always prudent not to ask what blasphemous act is said to have been committed, because under the law, repeating something blasphemous can itself constitute blasphemy. According to one newspaper report, the men were on trial for attempting to remove from a wall religious posters that incited hatred against Ahmadis. That’s right, they were sentenced to death for taking down posters that incited people to kill them. (The prosecution argued that since the posters were religious, removing them was an insult to the Prophet Muhammad.)

The Ahmadi (or Ahmadiyya) sect is a reformist movement founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad toward the end of the 19th century in the city of Qadian, in what is today the Indian part of Punjab. Ahmad claimed to be the incarnation of a Messiah promised in Islamic holy texts. That challenged the mainstream Muslim belief that Muhammad is Islam’s last and final prophet. Ahmad was accused of being an agent of the British Empire.

There are no reliable statistics about the number of Ahmadis in Pakistan today. Many Ahmadis don’t publicly identify as Ahmadi; others refuse to take part in the census. Estimates range from 500,000 to four million.

In 1974, Pakistan’s elected Parliament declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslims. Religious parties had held street protests demanding this, and even though Parliament back then was full of liberals and socialists, there was hardly a dissenting voice when the time came to pass the law.

Our Parliament today is still at it. Last week Muhammad Safdar, a son-in-law of the recently deposed prime minister, thundered against Ahmadis, demanding they be banned from joining the armed forces. He also demanded that a physics department of a university in Islamabad be renamed because in 2016 it was named after Abdus Salam, the only Pakistani scientist to become a Nobel laureate. The Pakistani government had already taken close to four decades to name anything after Mr. Salam, a theoretical physicist, because he was Ahmadi. It appears that not a single parliamentarian spoke up against Mr. Safdar’s diatribe.

Earlier this month, Parliament also changed the oath that Pakistanis are required to take to get a passport or run in an election. A standard version of the statement goes: “I hereby solemnly declare that I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani to be an impostor nabi and also consider his followers, whether belonging to the Lahori or Qadiani group, to be non-Muslims.” (Nabi means prophet.) Language in the election law was changed from “I solemnly declare” to “I believe.”

The New York Times for more

Roboticist claims he’ll soon be able to have a baby with his robot lover

November 10th, 2017

EXPRESS TRIBUNE

Sergi Santos with his robot PHOTO/Quartz

A sex robot creator has claimed that he will soon be able to have a baby with his robot lover.

Sergi Santos, an electronic engineer and expert in Artificial Intelligence (AI), also believes it is just a matter of time before machines are doing human jobs and marrying into human families, The Independent reported.

The roboticist, who lives on the outskirts of Barcelona, Spain, said he would “love” to have a child with his robotic partner, and that it would be “extremely simple”.

“Using the brain I have already created, I would programme it with a genome so he or she could have moral values, plus concepts of beauty, justice and the values that humans have,” he said.

“Then to create a child with this robot it would be extremely simple. I would make an algorithm of what I personally believe about these concepts and then shuffle it with what she thinks and then 3D print it.

“That’s it. I 3D print the robot that is the child of me and the robot. I don’t see any complications.”

Rise of the machines: Factory in China replaces 60,000 workers with robots

Santos has had a real wife for 16 years. But Maritsa Kissamitaky apparently has no problem with his second relationship, and even helps with the development of robot prototypes.

The designer says that having regular intercourse with his robot, called “Samantha”, has improved his sex life with Kissamitaky.

It is also claimed his android has the ability to create emotional ties, can progress through different emotional modes, and has the ability to makes “realistic” orgasm sounds.

AI is making its way into the global sex market, bringing with it a revolution in robotic “sextech” designed to offer sexual gratification with a near-human touch, Reuters reported.

But the arrival of sex robots has divided opinion. Inventors like Santos argue they can potentially replace sex workers, reduce sex trafficking and help lonely people, while critics say they objectify women and normalize sexism and rape culture.

Roboticists like Santos and those from US-based Abyss Creations are racing to become the first in the world to bring sex robots – which talk and respond to touch through AI technology – to the consumer market.

Sex robots at bigger companies like Abyss Creations will start from about $10,000 depending on added extras.

Experts say the increasingly life-like robots raise complex issues that should be considered by policymakers and the public – including whether use of such devices should be encouraged to curb prostitution and sex trafficking, for sex offenders, or for people with disabilities.

London-based AI researcher David Levy predicted in his 2007 book “Love and Sex with Robots” that humans would have sex, fall in love and even marry robots by 2050.

The Express Tribune for more