Will Technology Make All Jobs Obsolete?

From Jim Goad of Taki Magazine: Workers of the World, Goodbye

The Luddite fallacy has a good track record of being a fallacy. You get rid of one type of job and another pops up. As the labor market becomes more polarized, there will probably be strong growth of jobs in the low-paying service sector such as healthcare and retail because these jobs require anticipating human behavior, the subtleties of which may be hard to fully automate. For example, the self-checkout machines simply coexist with regular cashiers instead of replacing them. And then you need additional employees to monitor the machines, as some customers will inevitably be confused and other customers may try to cheat the machines.

The hollowing out of the middle is evident. Many people of ‘average’ IQ and credentials that just a couple decades ago had good-paying middle class jobs are now only able to find low-paying service sector work.

Another example is major brands like Walmart and Target, when combined, hire thousands of workers to monitor their Facebook pages for spam and to answer customer questions. This is a low-skill job that just five years ago didn’t exist. Facebook hires thousands of people to screen content for terms of service violations such as porn and spam. Again, another new job. Apple’s ‘Genius Bars’ employ of thousands of people. Ten years ago Apple was just another tech company and now indirectly employs probably a million people though its ecosystem. There are even people making a living standing in line on behalf of customers who don’t wish to wait for the latest i-gizmo.

They, the welfare left, would rather have the economy regress than risk creative destruction and the loss of useless/overpaid jobs.The good news is they are losing their war on success and the meritocracy. The S&P 500 is up 65% since OWS.

Biological determinism means that not everyone can participate in the post-2008 wealth creation boom. Millions will be left out, living on the margins of society. The question is, ‘What should policy makers do?’ Since LBJ’s failed war on poverty, inflation adjusted entitlement spending has surged:

Eugenics is inevitable as the only viable long-term solution to the growing entitlement spending problem. Environmental/nurture based solutions have fallen short. As we said earlier, there are new jobs being created, but the labor force participation rate is at multi-decade lows, which means a lot of people are living off taxpayers instead of contributing. Mitt Romney was right. The number of people on foodstamps – already at 40 million – keeps growing.

A second passage that stood out:

You know the type—they reflexively use “capitalism” and “corporations” as pejoratives. They seem to have been energized and ennobled by the economic crash of 2007, blaming it on a “crisis of capitalism” rather than more likely suspects such as fiat currency, global finance, unsustainable government debt, off-shoring, and unchecked immigration.

He’s right about the first part. The liberals did take advantage of the brief, over-blown financial problem to embolden their ingrained, preexisting loathing of free markets and were aggrieved when, just five months after the super-effective bank bailouts, stocks began surging and haven’t looked back – the left’s hopes and dreams for the global economy to be reset to a more egalitarian state and the demise of the American economic and geopolitical hegemony stymied yet again.

But he’s wrong about the cause. Fiat currency, debt, off-shoring, and immigration didn’t cause the financial problem. The culprit according to most experts was risky mortgages given to unqualified borrowers. Another explanation is that the market was simply undergoing a correction and the financial problem was a trigger.

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