More on Two Views: One Dated; One New
28 December 2016 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
In my article, "Two Views: One Dated, One New," Mr. X argued '"Trickle-down economics' is precisely what took the masses in Europe and America from 40-year life expectancies in dirt-floor huts and cabins to modern living with indoor plumbing, personal computers, multiple cars per family and all the luxuries and conveniences of the modern world."
I responded, by saying that was then, but now, matters are different. In the past when many working people were necessary for the wealthy, that need caused the spread of progress and some of the wealth across the masses who acted in service to the wealthy. Trickle down in the large worked and aided all in varying degrees. Technical change aided worker productivity. Now things are different. This is a new era.
To which Mr. X replied that really dumb, badly educated people always believe that the ineffable now, this present moment in time is different, better, and somehow specially ordained by History to fulfill the ideological fantasies of the perennially adolescent.
To this I counter, ignoring the ad hominems, 93 million American of working age are not in the American labor force out of a total working age population of 203 million. This is different, new, worse and historically unprecedented. So too are the now declining middle class mortality rates. So too is Labor's declining % share of national income that is matched by Capital's rising % share of national income. So too is the rise of robots to displace, not assist, human labor. This problem set transcends the on-going, worldwide wage equalization trend for like work, a world labor market adjustment that will ultimately and soon enough destroy the impetus to ship jobs abroad from anywhere to anywhere.
To quote Scott Lightner, from a comment, "Oxford economists who study employment trends tell us that almost half of existing jobs, including those involving 'non-routine cognitive tasks' - [i.e., that involve thinking] - are at risk of death by computerisation within 20 years. They're elaborating on conclusions reached by two MIT economists in the book Race Against the Machine (2011). Meanwhile, the Silicon Valley types who give TED talks have started speaking of 'surplus humans' as a result of the same process - cybernated production. Rise of the Robots, a new book that cites these very sources, is social science, not science fiction."
This is a well documented, paradigmatic shift of great historical and substantial proportions. Not an ideological fantasy, as suggested.