Technology didn’t kill middle class jobs, public policy did [@DeanBaker13 4 theguardian.com]

A widely held view in elite circles is that the rapid rise in inequality in the United States over the last three decades is an unfortunate side-effect of technological progress. In this story, technology has had the effect of eliminating tens of millions of middle wage jobs for factory workers, bookkeepers, and similar occupations.

These were jobs where people with limited education used to be able to raise a family with a middle class standard of living. However computers, robots and other technological innovations are rapidly reducing the need for such work. As a result, the remaining jobs in these sectors are likely to pay less and many people who would have otherwise worked at middle wage jobs must instead crowd into the lower paying sectors of the labor market.

This story is comforting to elites, because it means that inequality is something that happened, not something they did. They won out because they had the skills and intelligence to succeed in a dynamic economy, whereas the huge mass of workers that are falling behind did not. In this story, the best we can do for those left behind is empathy and education. We can increase opportunities to upgrade their skills in the hope that more of them may be able to join the winners.

That\’s a nice story, but the evidence doesn\’t support it.

via Technology didn’t kill middle class jobs, public policy did | Dean Baker | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

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About plerudulier

Primarily interested in interacting and engaging with people about issues related to profession but also charity, environment, ... you get the idea.

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