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Are computers & automation decimating the middle class & does access to elite jobs need to be shared more equitably?

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(Article changed on September 28, 2013 at 09:33)

In a fair and just society, what kind of benefits from the government must be our right?

 

As in Alaska, should we not all be entitled to our share of the profits from the oil (and maybe even the coal & natural gas too) that's found under our common land?   And IF we are so entitled, then are we not also entitled to our share of the very generous unemployment benefits that filthy-rich big corporations should be paying for?

 

Over the last 30 years or more, the profits of big corporations have just kept going skyward.   Meanwhile, the middle class has been decimated and hollowed out, as computers and automation become ever more efficient at taking jobs away from practically everyone who for any reason cannot become some kind of expert with regard to the usage and/or management of these seemingly magical machines.

 

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Tyler Cowen is a well-regarded economist at George Mason University in Virginia.   His new book, "Average Is Over," describes what he believes is the inevitable and permanent gap between the well-to-do and everybody else in the United States and the world.

 

Cowen says that "work" will become the next great American political issue:   Who gets to work (for an income that can support a family by middle-class standards) and who doesn't?   And for those who get to work at such elite jobs, for how many months each year should they be allowed to work at them?  

 

We talk and debate "unemployment" now, but the unemployment issue will soon come front and center, as continually expanding levels of unemployment continues to push down, down, down the life and comforts, even the reason for being, of people who lack the skills or ambition to find a useful (highly skilled, computer-literate, professional) job (40 hrs/wk, 50 wks/yr) that's capable of supporting a family at middle-class levels or above.

 

"Workers," Cowen writes, "more and more will come to be relegated to one or the other of these two categories:   The remaining middle-class, and the ever larger numbers who will soon be dumped from it.   The key questions that will determine which category you will be in, are these:  

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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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