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Reducto ad absurdum suggested by the 2000 factory workers replaced by 20 on the tech and repair end:
As you're pointing out, a lot of work can be eliminated through automation (the medical "arts," for example, are a mix of intuitive leaps and very categorized rote memorization; the second part can be handled by the machine, and we just have to trust that we can attract more intuitive PAs, right?) In any event, let's examine the extreme example, for the sake of argument, then parse the details of the pace of automation. Let's also set aside our energy fears (as you have done a priori by appeal to the lack of an ultimate technological barrier to conversion of matter to energy.)
Under our current system, close to full unemployment would result from the extension of automation of as many tasks as possible.
We would have work "haves" and work "have nots." The very few "haves" would enjoy a social status about that of medieval nobility. Using your example above, you'd have one in a hundred people working, and 99% unemployment. (i.e., just going by a 20 people instead of 2000 ratio.)
Now, we will have newly emerging fields. So let's say the "ultimate" state is 90% unemployment, for a mere 10:1 ratio.
I get what you are saying here, but factory workers only account for 11% of the workforce, so they would then become just above 1% I guess.
I am not sure what the rate of replacement for clerical workers (currently about 17%) would be, but I guess we can assume that it is similar.
I can't see robots and computers replacing all the rest of the workers, though. Both knowledge workers and those who are performing physical work, such as doctors, construction workers, kitchen workers, salespeople, professional athletes, entertainers...you get the idea.
How does this dovetail with your thoughts of a more "traditional" and "family based" society? Would you have one technologist responsible to get a job, with the rest of the family, from grandparents down through parents, getting an allowance from the 22-year-old recent grad?
Our scenario suggests the peak earning years shift back to far earlier in a career on average.
Some fresh-faced kid with some new niche skill but no practical experience in building anything will rarely be more highly compensated than a seasoned professional. Us old dogs can learn new tricks, but the new dogs are missing a lot of the things that veterans know about creating software.
Our future scenario is you go to school, and if it's a good school it's defined not by tradition, history, well-roundedness, blah blah blah, but by currentness with what's going on in tech right now. The very best school -- the Harvard of the future -- will be defined by learning how to incorporate new tech knowledge in a lifelong way.
Maybe, but those who are really on the cutting edge are usually completely self-taught. My drop-out step-brother is an internet millionaire b/c he has a knack for business and was a little punk hacker who decided to do something productive. A school is the last thing people like him will look to. That cutting edge is on the interwebtubes and stuff!
For most, skills erode until they can't be shored up. You make management earlier, you become useless earlier. You make hay while the sun shines, and the next crop of recent grads provide the best bang for the tech buck at the entry level.
To some extent. You still need experienced pros as the top who can mentor the young turks and make sure they don't build a giant piece of doo-doo, so there is a natural thinning out as we get older.
Meanwhile the 90% without tech work -- whether because they're surplus based on the numbers, or based on their antiquity -- do not earn any coin the traditional way. In your reactionary system, even while all earning, responsibility, and decision-making is vested in the family's young adults, we make certain the elderly and middle-aged are entrusted solely in the hands of the youth (since any social safety net is overhead.)
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I'll click the links to see where you're coming from, but the titles impress me as something short of disinterested neutral analysis
Of course representing my views (better than I could articulate them on this topic) they certainly represent a POV. My guess is that you won't agree with that POV.
That said, can you, in your own words, get around the difficulty of rapidly accelerating technological change, long-term? I'm not saying it's bad. I'm just saying "er, what happens then?"
We can I am not sure we will unfortunately our 'leaders' are mostly lawyers by training who are illiterate when it comes to science and technology and the government mindset is early 20th century and not equipped to take advantage of the current and future situation with respect to the technology that is changing our world.
"Some guys play in all-star games, some guys don't. I don't know who picks all those all-star teams. In all honesty, I don't know who picks the combine, for that matter," Belichick said. "How does (Miami-Ohio offensive lineman Brandon) Brooks not get invited to the combine? How did Vollmer not get invited to the combine? I don't know. We can't really worry about that. We just have to try to evaluate them the best we can."
For the record, the links had provocative titles but were pretty well reasoned. Yes I did disagree, but also yes, they were well-argued, particularly the first of the two.
My question of course comes from a bird's-eye review of the people, not the Corporation:
If you describe "the blue model" as being full of "old" workers, too much company loyalty to said workers, etc. - premise 1,
...And you want less and less of a role of the state in the lives of "old" people - premise 2,
...And, the U.S. family, indeed the Western family, is less and less cohesive (as you lament...)
Precisely what do we want to happen when people leave the workforce?
Is your argument that you pine for the good old days when families took care of their old folks and most needy... even if that family can no longer fill that role... ?
Isn't that just substituting a strong emotional attachment to a now-vanished family model, for an idea of what will happen to the great mass of old folks?
It seems to this observer that the cliches about lean, mean, wonderful world of mano-a-mano rugged individualism are appealing to our psyche, but become less so as one exits the favored class defined in large part by youth. It's not about the old and middle-age "keeping what they (think they) have." It's about creating a world where the presently young will have a shot at some measure of prosperity as well. And make no mistake -- whether we choose to consciously create the world, or choose to claim that policy is irrelevant, we are choosing. There is no option without a choice; we are responsible for the results.
So what's it to be -- independent people at retirement, spending their retirement income in their economy, etc..... or people becoming old and therefore, like clockwork, becoming poor?
To your point about the new dogs and the old dogs:
Okay, some adjustments to our model.
Manufacturing is 11% robot-runner workers. Clerical is 17%, which lends itself to automation as well -- that's using your numbers. We can get into all the sectors (assuming these are the North American classifications from DOL?) and further refine things.
To your point that you don't end up looking to the 22-year-old kid for the family income, let's adjust that too.
Out of, say, each 25 of them, let's say you end up needing 5 to be small team leaders, and 1 managing 5 team leaders... meanwhile, 19 are trying to fight off the legions of kids who grew up with the next wave of technology.
The advantage of the youngin is that he is native to technologies that the old dogs immigrate to, to make an analogy. Granted, the most adaptable will survive, but it would seem that we'll continue to have the great mass of tech workers on a razor's edge, in terms of what used to be called "job security."
Anyway, interesting back and forth... maybe there'll be time in the next few days to haul up the industry classifications, and we can continue on the near-term road, talking about who walks the plank first... and we can do our best to think about which jobs can "never" be replaced by machines. Yet.
I do think this is the eventual challenge capitalism faces, or to be more accurate, the mixed economy that is the norm in the developed world faces.
Edit to say: Hey by the way, you're one of the "old dogs." Are you the "new old," say, in your 40s, or what we use to call the "old dog," say in your late 50s or 60s?
See what's happening here? How many of that definition is still around in Tech? My guess is you either have your own company, reach a pretty high level (and hear a lot of footsteps) in a larger company, or are out of the workforce.
Lose 1 job, and who's hiring 60-year-old tech managers?