What about the fact that these jobs are disappearing as machines become more and more able to reproduce themselfs and other machines? Assembly lines, factories even medical jobs are partially mechanized! A Gamma knife can do what a surgeon and scalpel can't, and physicists are the ones who program these machines in correspiondendce with the doctors.
As we mechanize more and more, those who do not have sufficient ability and do not fit into the social structure will be pushed out. Those who cannot do technical jobs will be the homeless with little hope for 'rehabilitation'(in the sense that they might be fit back into the jigsaw puzzle). I could easily see machines eliminateing lower level technical jobs if it seemed more cost effective. It would mean that a human would have to oversee the machines, and periodically check to see if they are all working on track, but for the most part machines can take care of themselfs, they can form a closed system. The one thing that they lack is will, direction, a goal. This is where humans are unique. We have a will, and the imagination to create goals.
What happens to these extra pieces though? They have no place in this society. Only the very top minds and the artists fit in here. In this society, the blue collar worker is an extinct beast. The masses no longer fit as machines take hold. This society is not an impossibility.
That being said, why anthropromorhpize oil? Who are these slaves? The lower class workers? The proletariate? There is no one who escapes the machine. We all are part of the machine. We all reap certain benefits from the machine. We all drive cars, even the poor, even in third world countries. We have laptops for 100 dollars thanks to Bill Gates and cars for $2000 thanks to Ta-Ta motors. Nearly everyone benefits from the machine, we are sybiotes. No one is a slave to the machine, that is false. A better analogy would be that of addiction. We are addicts. We crave the fruits of the machine and are tantalized by its promises of a better tommorow. We are told to contribute oo the machine, to give sacrifices and burnt offerings, and this god does pay back to us what we give ten fold, and draws us in closer.
There are many who live mostly without the fruits of the machine, but many of them live outside the machine as well. In no modernized country are there many who can manage to live outside of the machine, and thus nearly all pay homage to it and in return have their addiction fed. I must admit, I would live in the lap of luxury rather than throw myself to the chaotic wilds, but that is of course the natural, animalistic preference. Look at how easily man brought many a beast to him through promise of comfort and then those who would not come willingly, they were dragged in through domination by the whip. We are like animals fed by our masters, protected, and obedient in return, and why not? Have we not chosen this path to at least some degree?
I do not think this is how things are, our system is a grid of inter-cooperation. A balance of skills and goods driving towards the optimization of comfort. We, as a species and in general, seek comfort. We submit to certain rules which are all manifest of our species in order that we achieve our goal of first saftey and then comfort. This is what progress is in modern society, a path towards least resistence, a path towards least upset, lest difficulty, least autonomy. There is no slave driver but our own fear and comfort seeking drive. There is no dark overtone, and no beacon of hope, just a muddled grey with a few bright and dark speckles. The goal of comfort might in actuality conflict with survival instinct, but unwittingly so. We may well be spelling out our demise thanks to this cultural momentum towards comfort, and we will deny this day in and day out. Demise seems so distant that we think it an impossibility until it stares us in the face and then often we still deny it. Comfort. That is what is here. Now. In. That is what we itch for, that is what we are feening for.
I do not believe the dark implications of slave driver and slave, nor the light-hearted hopeful imlications of progress, only a dreary middle, a path towards denial and comfort. A path for the heards to walk along, and one that all of us play into to some degree. It may well spell our demise, but death is much more comfortable in a lay-z-boy during the game...maybe with a beer hat.