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Rejoinder to a Rebuttal of My Most Recent Article on the Transfer of Income to the Rich

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Reference article

To read this rebuttal in its entirety, go to the discussion in the reference article linked above.

The rebuttal, in bold italics, begins as follows:

Workers are getting more productive because of technology. Somebody has to develop and manufacture the technology that makes workers more productive. So, to some extent, workers laid off due to technology improvements must reinvent themselves to thrive in the new technology space or become unskilled labor.

My reply:

For a great many decades, technological advancement was met with an ever shorter workweek and everyone eventually regarded this shortening as fair. Why should it be any different today? At one point in our history, workers were expected to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. This seemed quite proper to the owners of factories and machinery, and to everyone with privileged income and social station, but to almost everyone else, it did not seem fair. So, by way of protest and organized opposition, the legally imposed length of the workday and workweek was reduced to 10 hours a day, and then, by the same methods, to 8.

Today, US workers put in as many as 300 more hours a year than their counterparts in Western Europe, yet economically those countries are doing just as well as ours. Take Germany for example: Their workers put in far fewer hours than ours do each year, yet their workers are by-and-large better paid. And the German economy is doing just as well as ours, if not better.

If they just become unskilled labor, they unfortunately compete with unskilled labor around the globe.

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Precisely why they should not be reduced to performing unskilled labor.

We consciously let American companies use unskilled labor elsewhere. If we didn't, there would be no American companies left, they would all go bankrupt.

Germany, too. has factories in other countries, but that doesn't prevent German workers from making much better wages than Americans. And their companies are thriving.

Tariffs and duties you say? That would cause us to be even more non-competitive in the global economy and would (and has) led to World Wars.

Before Reagan's presidency there were 25% tariff taxes on imports from China if the products came from American-owned factories over there. The Reagan administration saw to it that those taxes were reduced to something like 2% and as a result the great exodus of US factories and well-paid factory jobs began. The point is, however, that there were no world wars caused by high tariff taxes before Reagan's presidency.

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Also, when you protect American jobs and wages through regulation, you are taking jobs away from millions of other global citizens. If you take away the profit motive from companies and people who invest, there will be no companies developing the technologies required to support 5 Billion people on the planet.

Ever more industrialization and economic growth is not the answer. Ever more education is the answer. When women receive good educations and jobs that pay a living wage, as well as easy access to birth control, they automatically develop priorities other than having children, and almost always choose to have fewer than 2 children each. No country in the world that has ever provided these things to all their women has any kind of population problem. If anything, their population is shrinking. Kerala, India provides a good example. Their population is not increasing, largely because their girls receive good educations and their women have equal access to jobs and income. And there are no American owned factories in Kerala.

Without technology, 2/3rds of the world's population probably dies back to population levels pre industrial revolution.

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)

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