I recall while living in India a decade ago a fascinating (to an American) sight: a family of six all riding on a single motorcycle.

Asking my driver (a not-educated but not-stupid individual who had spent some years driving American expats around) about this (and how unsafe it was), he remarked notably that people who live every day trying to avoid starvation do not have safety as their primary concern.

Likewise, being unconcerned about the plight of those displaced by technological disruption, and being primarily concerned with social justice issues over and above economic, is a gift that’s been given to you (personally) by your wealth. Those who are not so wealthy lack the luxury of sharing these lofty priorities. There are no shortage of individuals who ARE socially conscious who voted for Mr. Trump, their distaste for his social crudeness easily overridden by far stronger concerns regarding the economic future of their families. Similarly, I suspect they are unconcerned about your opinion of them, likely given as you sip a $5 latte or a $15 glass of chardonnay, judging others in whose shoes you will never walk, suggesting “solutions” for them that will never work.

“we should be talking about education and retraining and adapting to the new economical reality in the US and the rest of the globe.”

No doubt. However, you remind me of a story of Gene Amdahl when he founded Trilogy to advance “wafer-scale computing”, which (for all intents and purposes) was intended to be an entire IBM-compatible mainframe on a (very large) chip. He was unable to attract many of this Amdahl engineers to his new venture, because (as the story goes) the engineers examined his design, and decided that Dr. Amdahl was going to run up against a small limitation called the speed of light; and because of that annoying limitation, the design wouldn’t perform particularly well.

And it turned out they were right.

Likewise, the “just educate them!” solution you propose runs up against a small problem called evolution; the advancement of technology is extremely fast, and the intelligence of the people required to continue to advance it continues to rise. In a few (tens of) thousands of years, perhaps we’ll evolve to the point where the average individual is capable of gaining a high-level STEM degree; but we’re not there today.

When you automate away the job of the truck-driver (a job which supplies 1.5 million american families their sustenance), a program called “Java for Truckers” is not a solution; this is a segment of the market with average intelligence who are not, for the most part, able to be retrained into a Facebook engineer. There are segments where kinetic-individuals can still make some good money (diesel mechanics, plumbers, HVAC repair, etc) but 1.5M new ones aren’t needed. Retrain too many, compensation for them crashes, and we’re right back where we started from.

Try to be more empathetic to what’s occurring here.

Written by

Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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