We're forgetting something here. As we move into a technologically
advanced world where one person can do the work previously done by several we
have tended to forget the effects on those potential workers in our society
that are no longer needed.
I recall the "futurists" of 30-40 years ago and their New Years
day predictions of a world where automation would enable people to work only 2
hours a day and have the rest of the time for recreation, etc. Has
anybody noticed that this didn't happen?
Instead we have many people working longer hours and growing unemployment
problems. For years we kept this problem at bay with an artificially induced
culture of borrow and consume. We held back the tide so to speak until
the flood gates finally broke and the water flowed toward its natural
level. A large segment of the population is working enormously longer
hours (note families have mostly two workers instead of the single worker of 40
years ago) and accumulating staggering wealth (at least on paper). The rest are
facing a future of low level employment that will barely keep a roof over their
heads and feed them.
Yes, there will be opportunities for those with the right combination of
talent, education, energy and personal discipline to work the new blue collar
jobs. But only a delusional dreamer will find similar opportunities today
for the rest who in generations past had a way to turn their manual labor into
a ticket to middle class prosperity . Instead, the weeding process that,
even as we speak, is getting ever more brutal and competitive (mandatory
passage of algebra to graduate high school) is creating a population group of
designated losers. Do you really think that your bright, witty, but dyslectic
kid who can't grasp algebra is going to be happy emptying bed pans in a
I could go on about how this will play out in an America that appears
unready culturally, politically and legally to deal with it. But that's
for some other topic or venue.