Walter Russell Mead:
Of the Big Five questions facing America today, the most pressing and urgent is the question of jobs. This is more than the problem of recovering from the last economic slump; it is more than the impact of globalization and automation on manufacturing jobs. The American economy is shedding jobs, especially long-term, well-paying jobs with good benefits, and the jobs that replace them are often less secure and less well paid. The relentless transformation of the American labor market is changing the nature of American life, calling into question some of the basic assumptions and building blocks of the last fifty years, and generating a complex mix of political and social pressures that will shake the country to its foundations.
Essentially, the problem is this: automation and IT are moving routine processing, whether what’s being processed is information or matter, out of the realm of human work and into the realm of machines. Factory floors are increasingly automated places where fewer and fewer human beings are needed to transform raw materials into finished products; clerical work and many forms of mass employment in business, government and management are also increasingly performed more economically by computers than by trained human beings.
The transformation is only beginning to kick in. Self driving cars and trucks may reduce the need for human beings in the transportation and freight industries. Information processing is beginning to change the nature of the legal profession and even as law school applications fall by almost 50 percent there is much more change to come. Computer assisted diagnosis is making itself felt in health care. MOOCs are likely to change the way much of higher ed works.
It is impossible to say now how far and how fast this process will move, but more and more Americans are experiencing the kind of upheaval that blue collar workers in manufacturing began to experience in the last generation and white collar workers and journalists have felt more recently. We are seeing the greatest wave of economic transition since the mechanization of agriculture reduced the percentage of the labor force engaged in farming from more than half the American labor force in 1890 to less than two percent today.
The old engines of job growth, especially in manufacturing, aren’t working, and the competition for good jobs keeps getting tighter. With the entry of billions of Asians and others beyond the old industrial economies of North America, Europe and Japan into the modern economy, the competition is global. And if low wage workers can’t do the job cheaper than you, computers and, increasingly, robots mean that you can still lose your job.
Under the circumstances it is not surprising that many American families and workers see bleak prospects before them. Even workers who are doing relatively well have to work hard to keep their skills sharp and live with anxiety about the future.
At the same time, some industries and some individuals are doing very well. Modern California is something of an image of the post-Fordist world: in Silicon Valley and in Hollywood, there are pockets of vast wealth creation. Across the state health care does very well, supporting large incomes for highly skilled workers and managers. These oases of wealth support professionals and service providers around them: from accountants and plastic surgeons to pool boys and gardeners.
But the state as a whole is not in good shape; even the presence of world beating, high value added industries in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, two of the world’s most concentrated centers of innovation, is not enough to create broad and stable prosperity across the Golden State.
This is an economy that produces inequality very different from what most citizens of the old industrial economies are used to, and the social and political consequences of rising inequality play a growing role in many countries who once prided themselves on their success in building a vast and stable middle class.
Much of the inequality is generational. For many young people, the road to a middle class job is harder than ever before: more years of school, more years of debt, more internships, more years of scrabbling after graduation until that first real, career building job comes through.
Mead is correct…as far as he goes.
Our constant influx of new workers who are willing to do stuff Americans won’t do (the latest is jury duty) is a mistake.
Yes the farming basis for the American economy has had its day.
And yes, so has the manufacturing basis had its day.
Sadly Obama has seen fit to promise a doubling of exports of manufactured American goods before 2015.
His projections/promises were based on a magic trajectory that ended in March of 2011.
See it on this graph:
Obama also threw in his lot with the unions when he promised to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2016.
Here’s another graphic showing how he was just spouting words, just words:
Basically, Obama has doubled down on trying to keep the glories of the past alive…..much like that old farmer who wouldn’t let anyone in his family leave for a manufacturing job in the city…..only to watch his dream fail.
Now, Mead says
That does not necessarily mean everybody makes/serves burgers to one another.
In Utah I see another route being taken: EXPERTISE in hand made goods.
Believe it or not, people pay more for these types of things.
I’m having a new bow made for me by a master who also teaches archery.
He leads groups in hunting.
I’ve seen knitted and crocheted baby goods at open air markets.
Hand made quilts sell for good money.
Sure there are plenty of businesses selling foods.
But there are private shops that restore old cars all over here.
Mead points this out when he says:
Too bad Obama won’t read Mead’s article.
Mead is wrong. A service economy does not build wealth. All it does is move money around from once service provider’s hand to another. It is the manufacturing of goods and the harvesting of raw materials that builds wealth. This is why China has gone from an agricultural society into a financial and industrial powerhouse, because most of our manufacturing and money has been sent to China.
Both parties and their progressive elite society friends have squandered America’s wealth and future in pursuit of “free trade” and cheap labor in their desire for globalism. In doing so they are destroying what was the the most free and profitable manufacturing nation in history by turning it into a debt ridden service economy that can never rise again under it’s financial burdens and globalist-progressive leadership.
ALL this is fine, but OBAMA don’t want the success, he says you didn’t do it,
he want the people under his command working for him paid by the taxpayers he get the money from the tax to pay the ones he is sure of,
so he can ask them anything and they will do it,
look at the IRS, willing to torment the CITIZENS not in the OBAMA party,
and like OBAMA said and think
they punish them 2 1/2 years, harassing them,
obama has the welfare recipients under his command because he lead them to think he control the welfare and only his people can have it, he decide for their lives, and in ELECTION TIME he gave them a PHONE and found nice big houses for some of them all paid by him,
he doesn’t say the PEOPLE who work for a living are giving him the money, he take it for granted,
the PEOPLE give him the money so he can spend it where ever he want,
for himself, than for the MUSLIMS, than for the welfare, than for his campaigns ecetera
and if he give money to a green company, he get back all of it under the table as soon as the company fold and close doors, you call it the PYRAMID game, the one on top never loose,
as long as he is there collecting money from the companies and well to do,
there is no chance of a recovery, because he does not want it.
businesses are being harass also constantly.
OBAMA is a beggar not a PRESIDENT
IMPEACHMENT. How simple does it become.
you got it
the obvious solution