http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/category/the-great-divide/
THE GREAT DIVIDE August 24, 2013, 2:35 pm 714
How Technology Wrecks the Middle Class
By DAVID H. AUTOR AND DAVID DORN

"In the four years since the Great Recession officially ended, the productivity of American workers — those lucky enough to have jobs — has risen smartly. But the United States still has two million fewer jobs than before the downturn, the unemployment rate is stuck at levels not seen since the early 1990s and the proportion of adults who are working is four percentage points off its peak in 2000.

"This job drought has spurred pundits to wonder whether a profound employment sickness has overtaken us. And from there, it’s only a short leap to ask whether that illness isn’t productivity itself. Have we mechanized and computerized ourselves into obsolescence?"
~ DAVID H. AUTOR AND DAVID DORN

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Replies to This Discussion

Autor & Dorn ask if we've mechanized and computerized ourselves into obsolescence.

We might reduce the number of low skill manufacturing jobs that way, but I don't see how the authors' conclusion follows from their thesis.

The problem lies elsewhere. Thirty years ago American taxpayers were subsidizing employers to outsource jobs to the countries where labor costs and environmental protection costs were lower. Too few people pressured the political parties to stop the outsourcing and both parties let it continue. It has recently become a crisis.

Very gradually over the centuries, people have learned that political democracy works better for them than other forms of rule. I mean real democracy, not the oligarchic rule America has.

Much more gradually, people are learning that economic democracy works better than the various forms of economic tyranny America has. Of several advantages, the biggest one is that the profit goes to the employee-owners, not to Wall Street gamblers.

I don't know if enough Americans are capable of democracy.

Tom, that is my concern as well. The individual who creates his/her own job does not seem to be rising out of the muck and mud. We know wealthy who have no qualm to make huge incomes and we also know the person who does not work at all and depends on welfare to supply their basic needs. Both ends of the spectrum leave the working person and small business people frustrated and resentful.

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