From AV: The Great Decoupling
Ultimately, I think this whole debate on wages, STEM, wealth inequality, and automation boils down to IQ.
The decoupling is also obvious when comparing advanced degree employment and income versus those with only high school or ‘some college’. It’s also pronounced between majors, with STEM earning more. these trends have accelerated since 2008.
To repeat myself, people are falling behind because of low IQs and the winner-take-all economy that enriches some, but doesn’t leave a whole lot for everyone else. Today’s hyper-meritocracy is amplifying the socioeconomic ramifications of individual cognitive differences such that a person with an IQ >110 is much more likely to succeed than someone with an IQ <90, whereas decades ago the disparity wasn't so obvious. Yeah, It's a well-worn argument, but it's probably the most applicable, succinct answer I can think of. As long as we keep asking the same questions (why is there so much inequality, etc..) there's no reason why the answer should suddenly change.
The solution, on the other hand, is harder than the explanation because you have to account for incentives and politics. Too much welfare and the incentive to work is gone. A solution that is too 'radical' may be roadblocked by politics. No one really knows the best solution, and that's why this is such a big debate. So many people realize that this is one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. How are we going to develop a compromise or solution that handles automation-related jobs loss and inequality. Some propose a basic income; others want redistribution; others wants more spending on education, and so on...
From students fresh out of college and in debt, to people looking for jobs, or people who have been laid-off, we're all a part of this debate. Economics is not just for economists - now more than ever we all experience it in our everyday lives.
My opinion has generally been in agreement with most economists, who argue that robots will never replace every job (the Luddite fallacy). Of course, there is no guarantee it will remain a fallacy, as there is a possibly the minimum IQ to complete ‘entry level’ work may rise beyond a point where most people are inapplicable. This will also render ‘more education/training’ based solutions ineffective.