img]Technology and the Web are destroying far more jobs than they create. We will need to develop a "Third Way" based on community rather than the Market or the State to adapt to this reality.
What better day to ponder the future of work than Labor Day? Long-time correspondent Robert Z. recently shared an essay on just this topic entitledUnderstanding the 'New' Economy.
The underlying political and financial assumption of the Status Quo is that technology will ultimately create more jobs than it destroys. Bob's insightful essay disputes that assumption:
Over the past 15 years, the global economy has experienced structural changes to a degree not seen in nearly 150 years. Put simply, the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s has given way to a post-industrial economy. In this post-industrial economy, technology has now evolved to the point where it destroys more jobs than it creates.
Still, most people are Luddites to some extent. Human nature is to resist dramatic change, either actively or passively, until we have no other choice. If you don’t believe that, just listen to our presidential candidates.
Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will give us happy talk about maintaining entitlement benefits (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid) that cannot possibly be sustained. They will talk about energy self-sufficiency. They will talk about creating jobs. They will tell us that we can somehow ‘grow’ our way out of our economic distress. But neither candidate will admit that technology now destroys more jobs than it creates, because to do so would be to commit political suicide. The fact is that none of the happy talk will ever come true. Instead, the Federal Government, with the tacit approval of both major political parties, continues to run trillion-dollar-plus deficits year after year in a futile attempt to spend our way out of our economic problems and to sustain an economic model that cannot be sustained.
Ok, so what do you guys think of this? It seems to me like the political debate in the US is largely irrelevant in part because it is not dealing with issues like this. Are we evolving into a society that just quite frankly doesn't need as many people and so there will continue to be further and further pressure on the individual until... ?
Is this just fantasy? Are we avoiding thinking about it because it is just too scary? What is your instinct?