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Posts Tagged ‘On The Great Divergence’

We will only keep people from fleeing the countryside into urban favelas, villas miseries, shantytowns and squatter villages when the productivity gap is closed between what brute labor on the soil can accomplish and what advanced technology makes possible today – and will make possible tomorrow.
    —     Alvin Toffler
From his book:  “Future Shock
 …
The American middle class is shrinking and it’s technology that’s causing it.  It’s not all bad.  The gains in efficiency begotten by automation have been great for productivity.  And productivity means progress.  It always has.  Since the Industrial Revolution began around 1760, new technologies have been stealing jobs, and since 1760, people have responded by finding or inventing new jobs that contemporary technologies couldn’t do.
It’s a good system — in the long term, everyone benefits from technological progress, and while the workers losing their jobs in the interim might feel a bit miffed, people have always found a way to bounce back into an ever-adapting economy.  Besides, if machines can do something better than people can, it would be senseless to ignore such utility and hold back progress for fear of a few temporarily lost jobs.
Unfortunately for today’s average worker, finding or inventing a new job is harder than it once was.  When economists look back, they see that it was around 1999 when something changed.  Productivity kept going up, but where in the past median household income and employment per capita would have also hitched along, they instead diverged.  Median household income is on a steep decline, employment isn’t bouncing back strongly after the Great Recession, and a greater percentage of Americans now identify themselves as “lower class” than at any point in history.
     —    Colin Wood
[From the article: “The Uncertain Future Of Work” appearing in the magazine “Government Technology“, April 2014.
The article can be found online at: http://www.govtech.com/products/Robots-Drones-and-the-Uncertain-Future-of-Work.html
And, no, I don’t believe technology is “causing” it (the shrinking of the American middle class).  Greed and an economic system which has corrupted the political system and which is debasing the educational system is the “cause”.  But, hey, I’m just a liberal democrat, so what do I know…  Right?    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2013 On Parenting
2012 What Knowledge Is
2011 The Indefinite Accumulation Of Property

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