Comments on: Technology, the economy and pool cleaning Sun, 28 Jul 2013 14:34:09 +0000 hourly 1 By: LBK2 Wed, 27 Feb 2013 21:50:45 +0000 I hate the phrase “long term”.

Long term? In the long term, we’re all dead.

Most of my life has seen nothing but an ever dwindling middle class purchasing power. My wages haven’t even come close to keeping up with real price inflation. Combined with actual wage deflation (real drops in wages paid) and you can see why I’m not the least bit interested in what MAY happen.

What I do see is a process that has taken almost 40 years isn’t going to be undone to the majority’s benefit any time soon.

By: Robertla Mon, 25 Feb 2013 10:08:19 +0000 we live in a world with a growing population, yet fewer opportunities to acquire real purchasing power.

where do customers come from, in an economy like that?

By: AdamSmith Fri, 22 Feb 2013 20:51:56 +0000 @OneOfTheSheep, you said it very well:

“So who’s going to wake up the economists? At what point do they comprehend that population growth today does NOT mean prosperity (as back on the farm) but more and more mouths at a trough with no empty seats and a relatively fixed amount being distributed.”

By: anarcurt Fri, 22 Feb 2013 20:30:59 +0000 Productivity has gotten to such a point that it has devalued labor (not that this is a bad thing per se). With labor being more and more worthless it has created an overvalue situation on capital. One can no longer simply create value though their hard work, it takes money. This has created the ugly plutocracy we now have. People are going to have to accept a growing level of socialism; it is not a give-away it is a safety valve. There is a point where the wage gap can get so big as to create a systemic breakdown; if people do not receive just reward for their labor they will eventually leave the system (and become crooks or revolutionaries). This is not good for any involved.

By: ireneogrizek Fri, 22 Feb 2013 15:32:05 +0000 I have some concerns about the way our advancements in technology are outstripping our ability to think sensibly around it. I suspect the rise in income inequality has got something to do with this. There is a lot of polarizing going on when it comes to technology–there are those who are paranoid about its abuses and then there are those that are making that paranoia reasonable! I think if we take a look at our own ideas around accountability, we might feel more comfortably talking about it on a grander scale. I’ve written about this:

By: thinkb4its2late Fri, 22 Feb 2013 14:58:59 +0000 And it’s the government’s job to ensure that even deep and shallow end jobs pay enough to provide food, housing, health and education, which currently isn’t the case.

By: QuietThinker Fri, 22 Feb 2013 12:59:08 +0000 The production of goods and intellectual property is becoming increasingly more efficient in that is done by fewer, but more talented people. Add to that the growth of the labor force caused by globalization, and there are fewer jobs being done in primary production combined with a much larger pool of labor. That does leave the service sector and simply being unemployed as the choices for a rapidly increasing number of people. However, impersonal service sector jobs such as those at McDonalds and other corporate employers will be insufficient. The “pool cleaner” type job is a bridge between the impersonal and personal service employment. If massive unemployment is to be avoided, personal service such as domestic employment needs to happen. I find that it simply makes no sense that a talented programmer should clean his or her own pool or vacuum etc. after spending enormous hours at quite difficult and intense work tasks.

By: CaptnCrunch Fri, 22 Feb 2013 12:58:18 +0000 This is an uncharacteristically defeatist piece with a very short view Chrystia. Think globally and long term, there are no shortage of emerging well paid middle class jobs. They just don’t happen to be spawning here in the US at this moment. Give it a few decades, the tide swells then recedes and soon will swell again.

And quit hanging with that Summers boy, if he and the rest of the guiding hand reputed economic experts were worth their salt we’d be in a significantly better place right now.

Education, open minds, and a willingness to get our hands dirty have served Americans in particular and humanity as a whole well for countless generations. No reason to think it stops now just because a few grumpy old men can’t see past their shoelaces.

By: OneOfTheSheep Fri, 22 Feb 2013 06:56:28 +0000 Spot on and uncommonly relevant! So who’s going to wake up the economists? At what point do they comprehend that population growth today does NOT mean prosperity (as back on the farm) but more and more mouths at a trough with no empty seats and a relatively fixed amount being “distributed”.

Who’s smart enough in or around government to create the tax incentives and disincentives to assure enough of a “middle class” survives the coming economic convulsions to keep our malls open and cars in production?

Who’s going to tell the great majority of “welfare class” children and uneducated illegal aliens with no skills or education there will be NO employment “future” (jobs for people with NO abilities) for them in American society? Who’s going to explain and convince kids a tattoo could (and likely will) eventually be but one means (self-“branding”?) of separating and economically segregating society’s past, present and future losers?

In the very near future ever-increasing competition for fewer and fewer “good economic employment opportunities” will absolutely require the illusion of intelligence and education to even be considered. Rap and Country music fans need not apply. Stupidity as a choice or affectation will cease to be “cool”.

By: AdamSmith Fri, 22 Feb 2013 04:59:57 +0000 You left out the other critical element (discussed in your book, The Plutocrats). That is of course globalization.

In America, in 1997, the year mentioned, with the Internet beginning to explode, software programming wages were shooting upward. Electrical engineers and software engineers were seeing their careers prosper like never before, and it was due to the accelerating technology of computers and the internet.

But then, unfortunately, large American corporations lobbied Congress to write the H1B Visa program, so they could bring in engineers from India, China, and other low-wage countries, right into inner sanctum of American facilities. Only then did engineering wages turn downward.

In other words I disagree somewhat with your conclusion in this article. The technology acceleration by itself it one thing. But the globalization run amok, the unchecked immigration, the H1B visas, the dropping of protective tariffs, the complete neglect of the nation’s borders – those are the things that have destroyed the American worker.

Many people have never heard of the Immigration Act of 1924. It was passed to protect the American middle class, the American working class families. Back then there were still politicians who weren’t totally in thrall of the wealthy.

So I say that technology is a factor, but is not impossible to deal with. The globalization of America, on the other hand, is a gigantic tsunami against which the American middle class has zero immunity now that they’ve been abandoned by their legislatures and their President, for the sake of foreigners, both wealthy foreigners and poor foreigners.

I voted for Obama the first time, but now regret it.

Great article, very thought provoking.