Slick Nick wrote:*ripping his shirt and crying for effect*
You idiots never read anything I write. Bullet point:
- trade = specialization = greater aggregate wealth, but i) income displacement to those best suited to render service and ii) massive wealth distribution to consumers (everybody) in the form of much cheaper and better goods.
- automation -largely the same, but likely to only now really getting started. People don’t seem to realize the profondly transformative effect of the digital revolution and machine learning/ai.
- the wealth gap accross the world is shrinking rapidely. If nothing else, this is the best news in the history of mankind! Why aren’t people out in the streets celebrating the exponential increase in average lifespans, good health including into late years, the near end to famine.... I mean, not perfect yet, still get exceptions, but litterally humens have never lived longer, been as healthy and been so “rich” as they are now;
- now, if you don’t care about 90% of humanity and want to just concentrate on the West, mistakenly seeing wealth as a zero sum game ala Trump nimcompoops because you bought the rhetoric, well, even here what you have is a relative decline, not an absolute decline. The old working class is (in relative measures) being left behind. This does not mean they are getting poorer on average in real dollar terms, just that they are getting richer much more slowly than other demographics. A few reasons, one being actually that many are “graduating” to middle/upper middle/upper class, but the biggest, on the aggregate, is that yes -the advanced economies (and even Developping economies to an extent) are “splinting” between “complex”/“human relations heavy”/“creative” jerbs and shitty jerbs.
- Trade and automation are certainly “killing” good paying “middle jerbs” (the mostly repetitive shit). But, what does that mean?
- On the consumer side (which we all are), it means cheaper, better, innovative goods. The very stuff that enables the massively longer lifespans, better health, dramatic decrease in world hunger. The fantastic/magical progress you get from reaping the rewards of specialization and science. Don’t brush that off. You have no right to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Specialization and science/tech have been the best boon for humanity in like ever. While people focus in on the narrow of their experience and develop amnesia, they forget to see that, on the whole, the humens have never had it better than now and that is precisely because of specilization and science/tech.
- on the income side, some (relatively limited) part of humanity are not increasing their overall wealth and wellbeing as much others. With a narrow view, it can seem like the end of the world. From a wider view, they are not, on the whole, getting poorer in real terms (mostly stagnating) and benefit massively as consumers (not just nintendos, but health and sanitation and food).
- as societies get richer, they tend to get more compassionate. Move up in the hierarchy of needs. Conflicts go down, social safety measures go up. US trends the same as the other developed countries, but is by far the most individualistic in its DNA and the one stuck with the biggest lingering legacy of racism that actually makes them make irrational costly mistakes (such as keeping healthcare insurance schemes largely workplace based).
- so, things aren’t perfect, biggest challenges are i) climate change -we won’t last long unless we get that under control real soon and ii) rising inequality of income/wealth, especially within advanced economies.
- let’s not talk about climate change here. Let’s talk about the second. Like mentionned, it is relative and not absolute decline and it is limited. Personally, I think it will only get worse. Trade is done. That’s the battle of the 90s being fought by Trump and the nitwits 2 decades too late. Automation is just about to transform society in accelerated mode. Inequality will go up.
- what to do? Break the machines and make ipads 100% in Indiana? All you’ll do is turn back the clock -make people on the whole poorer. Pull back efficiency and technological gains that have made this the best time ever to be a humens.
- I think, rather, that *this* is a good problem. A rich mens problem. What’s happening, macro level, is that we are ACCELERATING in efficiency and technological gains. That means accelerated aggregate wealth. The stuff that has fueled humanitiy’s escape from overwhelming grinding poverty and shitty life conditions is accelerating. On aggregate, we are getting ever more heathy and living more comfortable lives.
- but, as we get richer, social redistributions have to keep pace. As portions of the (for now mostly western) lower/working class get displaced -we got to ensure they can move up if they have the ability and pay them if not. Investments in high quality affordable education, high quality universal healthcare and, I think very likely in the coming decade or so, minimum guaranteed income. This also has to be accompanied by a cultural change, where people don’t identify their worth so closely with their work. If you have more free time and decent living conditions, use your free time for purposeful endeavours. Give back to the community, be creative, etc. Or watch TV, whateves. Without the social stigma, it wouldn’t have the depressive effect it now has.
- so, what’s the fix, according to dawg? 1) relax people -look at the whole picture and stop freaking out because things aren’t perfect and new problems pop up as old ones get plugged. It’s progressive, iterative. The solution isn’t to go full panic mode mental and break everything and revert back in time to when we were all poorer and sicker and hungrier and more violent. I don’t even think that’s possible, frankly. Attempts to undo modernity will just hit a wall and disintegrate -likely after having caused so much suffering and harm and conflicts. The solution is to stay cool and stay rational. “Oh look, specialization and science/tech have been the biggest boom to humanity ever! Let’s continue to do that, shall we??! Monitoring for patterns and problems and finding fixes as they emerge. Let’s not revert to cavemens or to the 1950s -the 50s sucked on pretty much all objective measures compared to today. Let’s not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Let’s be chirurgical in addressing problems. If economic transitions hurt people, well now let’s compensate them. If less work is needed in the future (I’m not convinced, we also have less people coming up), well then let’s ensure the wealth gets spread and people develop other meaningful activities outside work. This whole dystopian view of a few oligarchs owning everything while everybody is a slave doesn’t even make sense in a capitalist society. You need freaking consumers with spending power. And in the unlikely event we revert to a feudal society, we’ll make the english/french revolution v2, but I don’t believe it. And even if you do, the thing to do now is to 1) appreciate what specialization plus science/tech bring to humanity (it would be an unconscionable crime against humanity -the biggest ever by far- to forfeit those gains) and 2) plug the wholes as they pop up. On that, we need to address climate change and address rising inequality in the west in such a way that doesn’t kill the magic golden egg laying goose. Center-left style redistributive policies is what I see. Places like Canada, Scandinavia, Germania are pretty much on the ball on this, I find.
What’s your solution, Nick? Oh noes Chinamens getting rich -make everything in Murka and increase the cost of everything tenfold? That sounds like a real catastrophe and rapid reduction in living standards accross the board.