bumpy’s blues #8
Twenty years ago, Jeremy Rifkin wrote the following:
We are in the early stages of a long-term shift from mass labor to highly skilled elite labor, accompanied by increasing auto-mation in the production of goods and the delivery of services. Workerless factories and virtual companies loom on the horizon. While the emerging knowledge sector and new markets abroad will create some new jobs, these will be too few to absorb the millions of workers displaced by new technologies in the manufacturing and service sectors. Although unemployment is still relatively low, it can be expected to climb steadily and inexorably as the global economy catapults into the Information Age over the course of the next half century. Every nation will have to grapple with the question of what to do with the millions of people whose labor is needed less, or not at all, in an ever more automated global economy.
He wrote it when Newt Gingrich and the GOP took Congress with some madness called “The Contract on America.” It was a contract for sure. Like a mob hit back in the day. Leroy (his middle name) did nothing of course. He is political toxic waste.
If anything, Leroy, like most politicians of that day, promoted wage slavery by suggesting that single women on public assistance were to be blamed for the country’s woes. It was a complete stupid period of time in America. A complete lost and waste of time.
We are in another stupid period. Stupider. That’s because we have just elected a guy who thinks it is 1949 or wants it to be and has convinced 62 million people of the same delusion. Yes, Trump was elected on lies and race cards and Muslim hatred and we will be great again, someday, but he is the wrong person totally to address Rifkin’s challenge.
For one, Trump is loaded. He could care less about you at the bottom. Second, telling people America will make things again is craziness. The companies don’t want Americans to make things anymore; we cost too much. They do want our cash (we just don’t have much of it to spend anymore). And third, he is currently installing a 1949 cabinet. He has climate deniers for his environmental team. He has Ben Carson, a medical doctor, for HUD who thinks and wishes it was 1949. He has a slew of people who don’t believe in facts so I doubt they would understand this video and what it means for their children:
The election of Trump especially with Paul Ryan (he thinks it is 1949 too) in Congress delays the inevitable.The debate we should be having in America (and the world) has nothing to do with what Trump is saying or what his opponents are saying. It is what Rifkin said in 1996 and others like Paul Mason says in ‘Post Capitalism,’ a book that is brilliant if you ask me.
So here are a few questions: if many people will be permanently out of work, how do we feed the people of the country (and the world)? How do they obtain health care (good health care)? How do we maintain a level of education and training that will continue to produce a functioning society? What about art and culture?
Most of this is not being discussed.
Despite our great problems with President Obama, many things about his presidency did consider the future though he rarely was as frank as he needed to be on this issue of the fundamental changes in society that are taking place. In his 2016 economic report to Congress he did lay out the truth at last where the report suggested strongly that “robots will take substantial numbers of jobs away from humans, leaving them technologically unemployed—either in blissful leisure or, in many popular accounts, suffering from the lack of a job.”
This is the real travesty of the election. Trump lied to his voters and the losing candidate Hillary Clinton didn’t say anything as well about this issue for fear of losing voters (she lost them anyway). Bernie Sanders punted on it as did all the other possible candidates. What does this mean?
It means Trump is worst than you know. Herbert Hoover watched the Great Depression develop because he stuck with the ideology of “laissez faire.” Trump is worse than this because he, and his cohorts, must reject most of everything they know but won’t. Things like growth might be bad. Consumption might be stupid. Growing our GDP don’t mean it will save anyone from starvation on the effects of climate change. Technology is going to change their world fast.
Capitalism is basically a different thing now; it is not what Trump learned in business school or for the last 40 years doing whatever he was doing. But here is what people should read today. Blessings.