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The Changing Nature Of Middle Class Work

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

As a result of these profound systemic changes, new models of work are emerging.

Gordon T. Long and I recently discussed the changing nature of work--specifically, work that can support a middle class lifestyle and aspirations. This is the third of my series on the decline of the middle class:

How the Middle Class Lifestyle Became Unaffordable
The Destabilizing Truth: Only the Wealthy Can Afford a Middle Class Lifestyle

The economy is changing in structural ways that affect not just the job market but the nature of work itself. If we ask, what is work?, the conventional answer is tasks that somebody will pay us to do. This is true, but it doesn't address why someone is willing to pay us. The answer is to create value.

In general, work creates value by completing processes. The higher the value of the processes completed, the higher the premium created by labor. Low-value work cannot command a high wage; any organization paying high wages for low-value work will eventually go broke.

Processes that are programmable can be done by machines and software at much lower costs than human labor. (Programmable work is typically tradable, i.e. it can be done anywhere on the planet.) Recall from yesterday's essay that labor costs are rising for structural reasons: as robotics and software get cheaper, human labor gets more expensive.

Urbanization, Baumol's Cost Disease and demands for more government benefits push labor costs higher. Even though wages are stagnant, the labor overhead costs paid by employers--healthcare, pensions, payroll taxes, workers compensation, etc., compensation costs--are soaring.

These trends cannot be reversed by policy tweaks. They are built into the economy whether it is capitalist, socialist, communist or theocratic.

The decline of well-paid, simple-to-learn jobs is a result of technology. Though it is politically popular to blame outsourcing/offshoring for the demise of "good paying manufacturing jobs," if trade barriers were erected tomorrow that banned all imported goods, domestic manufacturers would employ robots and software to produce most goods, for the simple reason that hiring costly humans to complete processes that machines can perform faster, better and cheaper makes no financial sense.

As technology's ability to replace costly human labor moves from the factory floor to the service sector, the nature of middle class work is changing. Technology does not go away because we don't approve of the consequences: processes that are faster, better and cheaper will spread, regardless of our approval or disapproval.

Economies that limit technological innovation stagnate and become poorer.

Jobs that can be learned in a few hours are prone to being replaced by machines.If a process and its end-state can be specified, a machine or software can be programmed to do the work. Human labor that generates low market value cannot command a high wage. We can choose to subsidize higher wages, but these higher costs must be paid by someone else via higher taxes or costs.

There is always an opportunity cost to any such subsidy: what else could have been done with that money? In general, subsidies are mal-investments that siphon money from productive sectors to prop up politically powerful unproductive sectors. Economies that enforce mal-investment eventually decline, as years of under-investment hollow out the parts of the economy that are propping up all the parasitic sectors.

The protected sectors beset by soaring costs (healthcare, higher education, major weaponry programs, finance, etc.) will undergo the creative destruction of technology-based productivity gains for the reason that they are already unaffordable, not just to households but to the nation.

These low-productivity bastions of secure, high-paying middle class jobs cannot keep increasing their share of the national income. Either productivity will increase and costs fall or these sectors will implode as their costs exceed the nation's ability to fund them. Take fast-rising healthcare costs and slow-growth GDP and extend the lines on a chart: can healthcare absorb 90% of GDP? Clearly that won't happen; the sickcare system is already breaking down at 20% of GDP.

As a result of these profound systemic changes, new models of work are emerging. I have written about hybrid work for years, and recently coined the term Mobile Creatives to describe the class of workers who don't fit into traditional job categories. International Workers' Day (May 1) and the New Class: Mobile Creatives

My new book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy is in essence a how-to guide to becoming a Mobile Creative.

Here are a few of the many dynamics Gordon and I discuss in the program:

1. The cost of software and 3-D fabrication tools is declining
2. The speed of change places a premium on adaptability
3. Problem-solving increasingly depends on cross-fertilization of skills
4. The human capital value of integrity and accountability increases as the trust horizon shifts
5. New models of sharing work and revenues are emerging--these are both global and local

And much more....



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Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:37 | 4740120 Manthong
Manthong's picture


Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
 Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
 Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
 Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Fed Chair: 'Deficits Will Rise to Unsustainable Levels'...

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:45 | 4740162 Vampyroteuthis ...
Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Charles, I keep reading about how machines are going to replace human labor everywhere. Bullsh*t. Robots are going to replace humans in highly repetitious, simple jobs that generate high product or service volumes. Robots are expensive. Until the job meets those demands, human labor will still compete and be value added.

The simplest way to get people working again is reduce the gov't from harassing employers with regulations that do nothing but allow big biz to win. Plain and simple as that.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:11 | 4740260 pods
pods's picture

We are all going to have robots who clean the house, flying cars that fold into a briefcase, boys names Elroy, a daughter Judy.

Shit, I even named my dog Astro just to push along progress.

Or, when I wake up from my dream, I am reminded that this might be the meme we evolve into:



Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:23 | 4740307 imapopulistnow
imapopulistnow's picture

A very large segment of the population is not capable of moving up the value added chain to perform complex work activities.  From the beginning of civilization there has existed a large manual labor workforce whose jobs are now being taken over by machines.  It really is different this time.  The ramifications are profound and I have yet to read where someone has come up with a reasonable solution. 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:04 | 4740451 Fukushima Sam
Fukushima Sam's picture

Right now these people are living off the government dole.  I see them at the coffee shop in the middle of the day when I take a break from work, sipping their lattes and doing things on their tablets.  I keep wondering where these people come from and why they don't seem to have jobs but can still afford to hang out at the coffee shop sipping lattes.

And then I think perhaps I am an idiot for having a job.  My taxes last year could have supported two of these people, and given the crazy state of our government budget and funny money I'm probably supporting four of them.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:54 | 4740683 imapopulistnow
imapopulistnow's picture

Maybe it's time to build some pyramids - the old fashion way....

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:59 | 4740710 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Pods forgot that you will still have a tyrannical boss that yells your name; JJJJJETTT...SONNN, get in here!!!

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 15:20 | 4740798 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

What do you think is going to happen?  If machine labor becomes so cheap, what do you think will happen to manual labor in order to compete?  Everything is already in place for it to commence...  high debt loads, dependence upon the state, lack of viable skills, external locus of control, lack of self confidence, fear, anxiety, stress...  It's all pointing one direction.

Paid manual labor of the future will only be for a select few highly skilled artisans who can perform their work better than machines

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 15:47 | 4740910 Nick Jihad
Nick Jihad's picture

Machine labor is making inroads into highly-controlled environments, like the factory floor. Building, gardening, civil engineering, maintenance and repair  - work that happens out in the wild - is not so easily automated. The clerical jobs that everyone thought would be automated away, have been replaced by similarly clerical work, because automation has made products and services economically viable that were not viable before.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 21:29 | 4741996 TwoShortPlanks
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The Rabbit Hole

Another shameless blog by TwoShortPlanks

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 17:32 | 4741211 Seek_Truth
Seek_Truth's picture

Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. Damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:30 | 4740561 Tom_333
Tom_333's picture

Why? Is is it a problem? This has been the normal in many other reasonably large countries and it aint like those folks are living in caves.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 18:22 | 4741152 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

I agree, imapopulistnow: "It really is different this time.  The ramifications are profound and I have yet to read where someone has come up with a reasonable solution."

Science and technology quantum leaped by orders of magnitude since the Industrial Revolution began to harness inanimate energy sources. Nothing within that process has been able to deal with that in ways which provide "a reasonable solution," because the industrial ecologies are just as much a part of the package along with the human ecologies, while both were actually controlled by frauds and deceits. Human civilizations were systems of enforced frauds. Successful warfare was based on deceits, and therefore, the REAL human death controls got done through the maximum possible deceits, upon which foundation was built the political economy operating through the maximum possible frauds.

Therefore, "a reasonable solution" would have to provide better death controls, to back up better debt controls, so that those would enable better human ecologies, along with better industrial ecologies, which were both able to be reconciled with them surviving inside of the overall natural ecologies. It is IMPOSSIBLE to come up with "a reasonable solution" which does not include the human murder systems operating death controls at the center of that. However, since our ACTUAL murder systems operate through the maximum possible deceits, while the controlled opposition to those systems are just as full of the same bullshit too, it is IMPOSSIBLE to have any public debates regarding "a reasonable solution," since AROUND AND AROUND WE GO that the ACTUAL SOLUTIONS are operating the death controls through the maximum possible deceits, and the debt controls through the maximum possible frauds, while the controlled opposition to those systems deliberately refuses to fact the central facts that there MUST be some death controls, to cope with the chronic political problems which are inherent in the nature of life, which problems are being amplified by many orders of magnitude by new forms of life requiring the emergence of industrial ecologies.

What we have now is that the previously working middle classes became mainstream morons, who are sinking into the ranks of the "free shit army" in the lower classes. The problem is that "free shit army" is almost totally incompetent, and does not understand, because it does not want to understand, how it could or should operate its death controls. What has been happening is that the vast majority of human beings lived as slaves, within social pyramid systems. Thus, they became practically incompetent to act as responsible citizens. Instead, they acted like Zombie Sheeple, who have allowed the powers of "We the People" to be almost totally privatized by tiny groups of ruling classes.

In that context "a reasonable solution" is practically impossible. Instead, we are going to get extremely UNreasonable solutions! The runaway debt insanities are going to provoke runaway death insanities. That is especially going to be the case because the controlled opposition groups to the established systems are mostly different varieties of Black Sheeple, exhorting the Zombie Sheeple to go backwards to old-fashioned religions or ideologies as the way to provide "a reasonable solution." The public space is dominated by controlled opposition groups who are reactionary revolutionaries, who still embrace the same old false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals, as the sources for "solutions." They deliberately ignore the real sources of the runaway problems, which were the advances in science and technology. Therefore, they deliberately ignore anything which could actually provide "a reasonable solution." Thus, our civilization is trapped with the horns of its dilemmas being that the ruling classes operate through being professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, whose "success" is based on legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, while their controlled opposition groups subscribe to the same old-fashioned bullshit social stories as the ruling classes promoted in the first place, since what happened was that the people who behaved like Vicious Wolves have taught the Zombie Sheeple to bleat their moralities, while the Black Sheeple opposition continues to recommend that their "solutions" are for everyone to become better Sheeple.

"A reasonable solution" would require everyone to become better Wolves. Such a solution MUST have its murder systems as the central core to everything else. However, IN FACT, the actually established death/debt controls operate through the maximum possible deceits and frauds, while the controlled opposition to those established systems agrees to basically go along with the same bullshit, that such systems ought not exist at all. As technology becomes trillions of times more powerful and capable than ever before in human history, and is headed towards quadrillions, IF civilization continues to survive, the same sorts of paradigm shifts in science that enabled that technology to happen SHOULD also happen in social sciences, in order to enable an intellectual scientific revolution which could provide "a reasonable solution" to the existence of those technologies. HOWEVER, THE OLDEST AND BEST DEVELOPED SOCIAL SCIENCE WAS WARFARE, WHEREIN SUCCESS WAS BASED ON DECEITS, AND UPON THAT BASIS WAS BUILT THE SCIENCE OF ECONOMICS, WHOSE SUCCESS WAS BASED ON FRAUDS.

Nothing less than more wide-spread understanding of those profound paradoxes could enable superior dynamic equilibria in the human, industrial, and natural ecologies to be more consciously developed. That would require that such a society, which was based on technology, would radically transform its philosophy of science, in ways which applied to politics, and then, all the way through its combined military and monetary systems. However, obviously, given that the ruling classes are vicious liars, who do not hesitate to back up their lies with violence, and so, the vast majority of the people they rule over are Zombie Sheeple, who believe in bullshit, and have been conditioned to not want to think critically about what they believed, we have nothing on the horizon of history that looks like "a reasonable solution," but rather, the horizon of history has brewing huge social storms, due to the degree to which civilization is controlled by huge lies!

"A reasonable solution" would require more radical truths about the deeper nature of the problem, BUT, since that problem is the "successful" control of civilization by Huge Lies, backed up with Lots of Violence, there is practically no way that kind of civilization can recognize and admit the deeper nature of its problem, and therefore, no practical way that it could address "a reasonable solution" to its problem! Instead, that society is terminally sick and insane, and is headed towards going through a series of psychotic breakdowns, and collapses into crazy chaos.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:30 | 4740334 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

"Shit, I even named my dog Astro just to push along progress."  Funny.

CHS is really pushing it to say the complaints of "off-shoring" are just political expedience.  He completely misses the negative effects of disassociation of manufacturing from the domestic economy.  He's really trying too hard to be the 'revolutionary' thinker.  He misses a lot.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:36 | 4740353 BolanosGhost
BolanosGhost's picture

I'd agree about the "highly repetitious, simple jobs" being candidates for replacement, but lets not forget about operating leverage either - mechanization significantly raises fixed costs and hampers a firm's ability to change in scale to the demand for its service. Human labor can be hired and fired and scaled according to need. Sure, that labor needs some fixed capacity, but mechanization is fixed to a greater degree. Of course, in the ZIRPiverse, that NPV on the robot is looking mighty attractive and the MBA drones don't know any better. 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 15:22 | 4740807 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

On the contrary, Vampy, robots will do all the work — — with the understanding that while you can't have capitalism without capital, you can have capitalism without labor.

So how will people afford to buy the goods and services that robots provide?  There are two answers, only one of which is sustainable:

1) A society in which all but the ruling elites are on welfare (i.e., the masses are all wards of the state).

2) A society in which all are owners of capital (i.e., a true "ownership society").

The ruling elites will of course prefer the former in order to maintain their dominance over the masses, but as goods and services become ever cheaper amid a relentless drive toward genuine abundance — — the ruling elites will at long last be swept into the dustbin of history, freeing humanity to realize its all but limitless potential.

Until then, the state can continue to kiss my ass.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 20:29 | 4741771 Matt
Matt's picture

You had me up until utopia, and that's provided continuing sources of abundant energy.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 21:20 | 4741947 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

We are awash in energy (10,000 times more than required to meet all our needs falls on Earth) but we are not very good at capturing it. That will change with the full nanotechnology-based assembly of macro objects at the nano scale, controlled by massively parallel information processes, which will be feasible within twenty years. Even though our energy needs are projected to triple within that time, we’ll capture that .0003 of the sunlight needed to meet our energy needs with no use of fossil fuels, using extremely inexpensive, highly efficient, lightweight, nano-engineered solar panels, and we’ll store the energy in highly distributed (and therefore safe) nanotechnology-based fuel cells. Solar power is now providing 1 part in 1,000 of our needs, but that percentage is doubling every two years, which means multiplying by 1,000 in twenty years.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 21:28 | 4741993 Matt
Matt's picture

I wonder what side-effects absorbing that much sunlight and turning it all into infrared will have. Even in the desert, a huge solar array might reduce the high pressure area the desert creates, altering the rainfall pattern for the areas adjacent to the desert.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 23:10 | 4742244 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

Well, there's that.  Or perhaps you missed the "highly distributed" part, i.e., there won't be any need for "huge solar arrays" because we'll be generating electric power nano-technologically at the point of use.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 20:36 | 4741798 Matt
Matt's picture

"Robots are going to replace humans in highly repetitious, simple jobs that generate high product or service volumes. Robots are expensive. Until the job meets those demands, human labor will still compete and be value added."

How about robots replacing pharmacists, surgeons, medical specialists? 3D-printers with precursors that make custom made drug perscriptions on demand. surgery robots that don't get jittery, tired, or leave things inside the patient. Better diagnostics based on retinal scan, blood sample, etc.

Robot taxis, Delivery bots, self-driving cars that get into accidents 1/100th as frequently as human drivers. 

Expensive? Try $3 per hour for a highly flexible, reprogrammable robot arm that can do assembly, packaging, etc. That means after counting taxes, benefits, etc, the human worker would need to work for $1 per hour in today's heavily diluted USD, and they would have to be superb employees, just to justify NOT using the robots.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:37 | 4740134 tradebot
tradebot's picture

Try learning a trade!!!  Everyone can't sit on their ass and shuffle paper...looks like burger flippin coming in vouge too...for the dummy's that won't study anything.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:42 | 4740156 lordylord
lordylord's picture

You can't raise a family of 4 on min wage!  We need a living wage!  Tax the rich!  /s

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:46 | 4740167 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  You can't raise a family of 4 on min wage! 

The min wage is just how we (as a society) separate the predator-class from the prey-class.    

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:47 | 4740169 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

Interesting point he made (I normally hate his posts) about indirect labor costs of people who live in cities.  In cities, people have voted benefits for themselves paid for with asset taxes, franchise taxes, corporate taxes, payroll taxes, etc.

See Toyota moving to Plano from Torrance.  How many auto makers are physically located in Detroit?

Many companies are beginning to move away from large cities with these indirect labor costs to states with low taxes or no taxes.  Grumman used to be in Long Island, NY before locating the entire campus to Florida in the 90s.

If that's the case, we'll see more jobs move away from large cities to smaller cities.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:13 | 4740266 aardvarkk
aardvarkk's picture

Absolutely.  Look at Detroit.  Then look at Fargo, ND.  Look at the population of Fargo and then look at job listings in Fargo.  They can't find enough people to fill all the available jobs.  Nearly as busy as Williston, but without the "growing pains" and some of the lowest cost of living in the nation by some measures...and this in a place where the climate often is, shall we say, "inhospitable".  I'm guessing any small-sized city you look at across the country, you'll see much the same thing.  Just because things are falling apart in places like Detroit and Cleveland doesn't mean the end of the world.  It just maybe means people need to downsize.

A town of 5-10,000 is often a great place to live and work.  A city of 1,000,000 often is not.  I spent about 13 years in and around Minneapolis, one of the NICER large cities around, and I'l never go back.  NEVER.  The traffic alone nearly drove me batshit.  I'm currently saving money, and when I have enough I'm going to move to a particular town in outstate MN of maybe 10,000.  MN has stupid politics, but this area has some of the prettiest country I've ever seen and more lakes than some people believe exist.  Property prices are reasonable and I should be able to afford a simple place on a lake with a few acres.  I can ignore the politics and catch fish.  Or read while I wait for fish to bite.  Or split wood.  Or go have breakfast/lunch at the diner in town.  Or sit on the dock and write.  Or walk up the road with my dog.  Or hunt rabbits.  Or do a little woodworking in the shop.  When the time comes to die, I want it to happen there.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:02 | 4740450 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Correct.  There is 100% employment in countries with honest governments.  Unemployment is caused by government.  Do you think a little village without any government has unemployment? 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 15:01 | 4740722 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

My favority analogy!

Instead of a country of 350 million people, imagine a village of 350 people.  Would you have a 60% workforce participation rate?  Would prisoners be doing hard labor?  Would you pay some aholes to sit around all day recording what the other villagers were doing?

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:53 | 4740409 all-priced-in
all-priced-in's picture

If your skill level is so low all you can get is a minimum wage job - then maybe you should not be having kids.

If you have high unemployment - how will raising wages help that?

You already have an excess of UNSKILLED labor.

Can you name a commodity where the demand for it goes up when the cost is raised? 


Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:18 | 4740512 Telemakhos
Telemakhos's picture

As for the unskilled putting off having kids until they get a better job, that's just not how it works out in real life.  Birthrate is inversely correlated with education, which you can take as a proxy metric for labor skill or for delayed gratification.

"Maybe you should not be having kids": that's just a manifestation of delayed gratification.  Maybe you shouldn't have kids, maybe you shouldn't get married, maybe you should go back to school for a while, maybe you need to put off your dreams until you've laid the solid foundation for them... these statements of "prudence" are all forms of delayed gratification.

Meanwhile the poor and uneducated, both of which conditions are really just results of an appetite for instant gratification or what they used to call "poor self-control," end up out outbreeding those with more self-control.  They have more fun.  They get more sex.  They have a more "authentic" life.  They're Hemingway's bullfighters, in a metaphorical sense.  They have no savings, no plan, no skills, but, because they outbreed the educated, they have votes.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:58 | 4740207 Anybody
Anybody's picture

Good luck getting a job as an apprentice.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:16 | 4740276 aardvarkk
aardvarkk's picture

I just looked at the local job board and put in "apprentice" as a search term.  There are currently local openings for a couple of electrician apprentices, a baker apprentice, a fireplace installer, an HVAC apprentice, a mason's apprentice and a plumber apprentice.  I don't know how easy it is to actually land one of those jobs, but they're there.  Just a data point.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:33 | 4740567 Hook Line and S...
Hook Line and Sphincter's picture

Hey Aardvark, if you go to the NAICP you can learn various trades for free (the selection is limited now but contractors are building courses for the public right now and posting them as 'ads'). The satellite site Shopsquawk is for <18 years of age. The main site at also has a free relational database where skilled and unskilled labor can post their resumes to connect with both residential and commercial seekers. Contractors can use it to advertise, teach their employees, create classes, and find labor... free.

Perhaps, if those who utilize this site see the potential, then P2P relationships will be made on this that leaves the 'minimum wage' issue irrelevant. 

Hook Line and Sphincter

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:58 | 4740209 Anybody
Anybody's picture

- dup -

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:32 | 4740565 Tom_333
Tom_333's picture

Actually - there´s a new rather simple robot for flippin´burgers as well.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:37 | 4740136 maskone909
maskone909's picture

there would be plenty of jobs if the gov would step out of the way.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:46 | 4740166 lordylord
lordylord's picture

“That government is best which governs not at all and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

We need a well-informed voter and a moral consumer.  Getting your news from CNN and doing your shopping at Walmart is not helping anybody. 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:49 | 4740174 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  We need a well-informed voter and a moral consumer. 

You sound like a fantasy Marxist.

Is it possible to have a majority of "well-informed" voters when, as history shows, it's so easy for the smart-n-savvy people to manipulate the dumbasses with bullshit?

What is a moral consumer?   When have morals mattered; except for the children.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:57 | 4740199 lordylord
lordylord's picture

Nice throwing the word "Marxist" around.  Try using it correctly sometime.

Is it possible to have a majority of "well-informed" voters when, as history shows, it's so easy for the smart-n-savvy people to manipulate the dumbasses with bullshit?

I am aware of history.  That is why it is necessary to have a well-informed voter. 

What is a moral consumer?

A moral consumer is someone who knows it is better to shop at a small business than at Walmart, for example.  Heck, throw out morals if you want.  Just call them well-informed consumers.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:01 | 4740225 Grande Tetons
Grande Tetons's picture

Who shops at Walmart?  Who owns Walmart? I think you made his point. 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:04 | 4740237 lordylord
lordylord's picture

Care to make yours?


The following says it all:

"...and when men are prepared for it..."

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:46 | 4740386 Billy Sol Estes
Billy Sol Estes's picture

Walmart, Walmart,

That's our store,

We shop there,

'cause we are POOR

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:34 | 4740573 Tom_333
Tom_333's picture



That´s our store

We use or SNAP there

´cause we are poor

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:16 | 4740274 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  That is why it is necessary to have a well-informed voter. 

You do understand that exactly half of the population are below average right?    Here's something else most people can't admit:   average NOT EQUAL good.    So,  a majority of any population aren't going to well informed anythings.

The real question is: how do you have a government and society, which holds itself together, knowing that less than half the population aren't well-informed anythings.   

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:26 | 4740319 lordylord
lordylord's picture

The problems associated with the below-average (or average=dumb) voter disappear when you reduce the size and power of government.  Voting for Obama or Romney doesn't matter as long as the power of the federal government is constrained to that prescibed by the Constitution   ...and when men are ready for it...

You are arguing a point I never made.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:40 | 4740368 Keyneconoclast
Keyneconoclast's picture

Approximately half are below average. Exactly half are below median.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 20:56 | 4741873 Matt
Matt's picture

Poverty, stress, malnutrition, substance abuse all lower intelligence. It may be possible to raise the average IQ to 120, since 100 is not fixed at the current median intelligence.

Whether trans-cranial stimulation actually works, or if it is snake oil, i don't know, but it may be possible to greatly accelerate learning. Transfusions of blood from the young has been shown to help improve the mind as well; perhaps soon a protein supplement will help reduce the effects of aging and stress on the brain.

If you don't think that education could produce substantially better results in the general population than the current system, I don't know what to say there.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:19 | 4740291 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Not so sure about that. Keep repeating it and I still won't believe it.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:40 | 4740137 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

The author creates a solution to sell, called the mobile creative class, but what I would posture is that the mobile creative class is the culmination of the disease, not the emergence of a cure.  It is like trying to sell a life jacket on the Titanic full of the promise of floating; to be sure, you will float - that is, just before you freeze.  In fact, in these calm seas, lacking volatility, you wouldcertainly freeze long before you would ever drown.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 19:12 | 4741549 mkkby
mkkby's picture

Look folks, the math is simple.  Somthing like 80% (5 billion +) of people in the world live on $10 a day or less.  That means there is no productive work for them anywhere.  All they can do is grow their subsistence gardens or live on welfare. 

To match work and people, you need either 5 billion jobs or 5 billion fewer people.  If you live in the US or Western Europe, you are one of the rich, lucky ones even if you are on welfare.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 21:01 | 4741894 Matt
Matt's picture

Barring a breakthrough in some new energy source, sometime in the not-too-distant future the unemployment problem will be resolved by the majority of humanity going back to subsistence farming.

If there is a huge breakthrough in some new energy source, then what to do with the ~40% of the population that cannot / will not do anything other than basic manual labour, will certainly be a relevant concern.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:39 | 4740139 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

No worries, with self-driving cars and robots the middle class soon won't have to work at all.   

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:47 | 4740391 Billy Sol Estes
Billy Sol Estes's picture

We caught a rattle snake, now we got something for dinner.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:39 | 4740142 kito
kito's picture

Economies that limit technological innovation stagnate and become poorer.


funny because i see the united states as arguably the most technologically innovative country in the world, and yet the people are getting poorer and the country is quite stagnate. 


Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:41 | 4740149 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

There's an app for that.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:45 | 4740161 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  yet the people are getting poorer

The key concept really is "which people".    The worthy people (say, top 20% or so) are doing great.   The trash-class aren't.

The US has always been a survival-of-the-fittest society, and the "most fit" are really doing great here. 

Does anybody really care about the trash-class?  

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:51 | 4740179 cowdiddly
cowdiddly's picture

mine and your perception who  the trash class is probably differs quite substaintially.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:53 | 4740190 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

It really doesn't matter what our perceptions are.   What matters is who the smart-n-savvy people with the power think are the Trash-Class. 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:21 | 4740301 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

So you are saying that 80% of the population are trash?

I believe that's what Marie Antoinette was trying to imply. Got her head chopped off.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:29 | 4740330 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Well,  it's all a matter of perspective, of course.

If we apply the 1st law of bullshit to the discussion we get:

These are "da people" who made this goddamn country what it is today because they worked for a goddamn living and we didn't ask for nothin' from the government we EARNED it and you goddamn socialists better keep your goddamn hands off my goddamn Medicare, why don't you go after the real socialism that those goddamn people on welfare are getting.

And get a goddamn job! 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:42 | 4740372 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

I didn't buy that line when I was hearing it 40 years ago.

And things are rather more complicated now than they were then.

The vast bulk of "welfare" and socialist redistribution today is toward the benefit of multi-national corporations, via their access to government patronage and regulatory capture. Bernanke printed about $14T and I'm pretty sure not a single thin dime of that was spent at Micky D's buying obesity.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:42 | 4740154 youngman
youngman's picture

I will say its the rise of costs of regulations, rules, and taxes...IE government intervention....the government is now trying to make sure they are paid and paid well and forever as in retirements....they are the new ruling class...and they can force you to pay..or take what you the next ten years this will be the fight of the producer fend of the government thieves

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:40 | 4740367 sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

The problem is that the country will see them rightfully as having an entitlement mentality w/r/t having perfect & pliant workers - and act accordingly. 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:48 | 4740163 Canoe Driver
Canoe Driver's picture

CHS, at one time I thought you were an educated man. Now I'm just counting the number of asinine postings you can make in a row. You tell us here that any employer that pays high wages for low-value work will eventually go broke. I have been working decades for employers with such high operating margins they can afford to pay me just to append my CV to their corporate credentials. I work six hours a week and earn mid-five figures monthly. The number of people I know are similarly situated is in the thousands. There is a reason for this. It is that the quality and availability of compensation, for ANY class of employee, directly and strongly correlates with gross margins. Think GM in the 1950's. And teach these people something they don't already know!

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:57 | 4740204 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

You make $50k per month? Not bad for 6 hours of work per week. Are you a drug dealer or hedge fund manager?

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 16:28 | 4741025 Canoe Driver
Canoe Driver's picture

Both drug dealing and hedge fund management are high margin businesses. I can think of a few more, and some of them are even legal. I work in one of the legal ones. And I gave you an up arrow.


BTW, I know a guy in software who earns $100k per month. Software is another high-margin business. Ok, I was naive to think anyone would regard this as instructive, which it is.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:46 | 4740164 Theta_Burn
Theta_Burn's picture

Adaptation.. to a degree

Ross Perot warned about this very thing

The off- shoring of everything, even food production, is what destryed America. we make nothing in this country except financial paper products, movies, and armaments.

The sevice industries are starting to crack, due to less and less to service/fix

Most of the roving horde, post collapse, will be made up of the finacial sector... 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:26 | 4740317 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

A lot of the commenters here think money grows on trees. They must think that otherwise they wouldn't assume that exporting manufacturing jobs does not destroy purchasing power in the US. Even Henry Ford, that bastion of greedy narrow-mindedness, knew he had to have someone out there with enough money to buy his cars or he wouldn't be able to sell any.

Well that's over and done with. I guess we can start thinking about how to get by without incomes.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:35 | 4740577 Tom_333
Tom_333's picture

Can´t have Globalists without Globalism...

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:49 | 4740173 GooseShtepping Moron
GooseShtepping Moron's picture

Sounds like The Rise of the Creative Class 2.0, and we see how well the first version worked out. This analysis is completely backwards. So-called "Creatives" are the ones hollowing out the economy. The Creative Class are basically snake oil peddlers of advertising and efficiency gimmicks. They tempt naive firms to part with capital, return nothing of real value, and leave nothing but the empty husks of companies and disaffected emloyees in their wake. I've seen it happen time and time again.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:51 | 4740181 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

In a survival-of-the-fittest society the smart-n-savvy "Creative Class" creates solutions that benefits themselves.    What else would they do:  do what's best for "everybody".    When as "everybody" ever mattered?

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:29 | 4740327 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

That kind of petty meanness undermines any point you were attempting to make.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:18 | 4740287 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture


If advertising didn't demonstrably work, then who would pay for it?

Grabbing eyeballs is a serious business because it works.

Ask your President.

Ok, bad example...Lets assume that advertising works for products that actually do what is claimed.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:32 | 4740338 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Advertising is a bad example. Propaganda works in funnelling scare resources into fewer products. The corporations with the best advertising (or biggest ad budgets) get more of the disppearing dollars people have to spend. Meanwhile the economy is steadily evaporating. Someone can point to Apple share price and earning and say "see it's fine" without noticing that they have a very large ad budget, meanwhile the US GDP falls into the shitter and half the country is out of work, so I don't see the point.


Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:50 | 4740399 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Seems to me that good advertising is mostly indistinguishable from deception.

Isn't that what Edward Bernays was paid to do?

Isn't that why the Nazis emulated Bernays?

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:04 | 4740457 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

True. And while you can pretend to be making a useful product and convince everyone they need it, if they don't actually need it then someday the fog of contentment will lift and they'll find themselves wanting something they know they need rather than the shiny thing that captured their monkey mind for a passing moment.

Virtually the entire US economy is now that passing moment.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:17 | 4740507 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

I've enjoyed your comments today, Cougar.

You show uncommon precision in thought and language.

You make this a better place.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:29 | 4740555 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Thank you. I try.

I always enjoyed our banter. It's been going on -- what --  nearly 5 years now? Somehow though the major topics never seem to change, do they? I have to think that's a dangerous sign for the future. We needed a great many things to change, and nothing did.

I don't imagine we'll still be here another 5 years on. Maybe, not even another year. With luck we'll be farming or some such. Without luck, we just won't be here.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:39 | 4740598 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

For another somewhat less-precise side of me I hope you've been reading my blog, wherein I feed to a tiger people I don't like.

A lot of material fell under "April".

Anytime I start making too much sense here, go there and be reminded what kind of deranged person I can readily become.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:38 | 4740592 Tom_333
Tom_333's picture

Yes. The nazis should only have gone easy on the wars. Not too many and too big wars. Those suckers can easily be a regime-changer. Change you can believe in.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:51 | 4740182 q99x2
q99x2's picture

I still live in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood and am going to UCLA and I haven't worked in 20 years. I can't complain except for the threat of being attacked by globalist nukes.

It's a nice world, its a real nice world Anthony.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:53 | 4740188 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

I like this definition of work:

W = Fs

Very little work is done anymore, at least not by middle class human beings.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 12:56 | 4740203 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Dude, you left out the 1st law of bullshit:   x + bullshit = x ^ bullshit.

Where's the bullshit in your formula?    No bullshit, no reality.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:00 | 4740218 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

How to distribute entitlement and privilege?


It's such a vexing question!

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:36 | 4740358 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

No it isn't vexing at all. It's very simple:

Entitlement and privilege cannot be redistributed. Like entropy, these are already near the bottom of the energy well.

Entitlement and privilege can only be destroyed. And ultimately they always are.

Of course that starts the cycle all over again. Soon it looks like something was preserved. However it is new wine in new bottles.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:46 | 4740387 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Well, maybe, but If I'm King Charles, and I make you the First Earl of Sandwich (what a handsome fellow!) , I would say a title was granted and privilege distributed.

But then again, I'm just a rustic with very simple thoughts in his head.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:00 | 4740445 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Licensed perhaps. Or rehypothecated. Not distributed as such. Like a CDO that franchise had no real legs so in the end the Earl of Sandwich was a lot less earl-ish when the king became less king-ly. They both ended up being gentlemen which is not a bad thing at all but was no doubt a real let-down after the old days. Probably they would have liked their money back on the deal.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:42 | 4740620 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

W = F * d, P = W / s      ;)

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:00 | 4740219 The_Golden_Path
The_Golden_Path's picture

The subsidies argument is weak. Subsidies are not always to be provided from productive sectors to non-productive politically clouted sectors.  Sometimes farm subsidies are used to incentivize rather than unjustly reward.  Cotton is a good example, it takes dependence off of foreign companies and mitigates risk agianst floods, acts of God, etc... (by increasing amount of farmers from different countries).  Most subsidies are bogus but this author seems to be prety black and white in his article. 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:02 | 4740229 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Q: What does every successful farmer farm?

A: The government.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 21:13 | 4741944 Matt
Matt's picture

Is food a matter of existential security?

Is existential security the primary reason to have a Federal Government?

If not, WTF is government for?

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:17 | 4740234 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  Sometimes farm subsidies are used to incentivize rather than unjustly reward. 

Some socialism isn't really socialism, it's an investment in our children's future. 

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:03 | 4740235 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

- In the US, it is the unit service cost of healthcare services and products on why US healthcare is so expensive yet no one seems to want to really address that.  It is great for companies in the US healthcare sector but a huge drag on everyone else.

- Ironically, softer skills are becoming more and more important with technology and especially working across multi-ethnic/multi-cultural workforces domestically and abroad.  Easiest thing to improve and the cheapest too but takes some serious self-examination on things you don't do well especially in a group.

- It is already baked in that we are going to have ~20% of the US workforce that lives well and has a fairly decent lifestyle.  Rest are going to struggle and the people at the bottom are really going to struggle to survive especially if the federal safety net is paired back.

- You have to be highly adaptive and learn skill sets and invest in our activities that can earn you cash outside of your corporate job.  Corporate jobs are really good for healthcare benefits & 401k matches but even that is increasingly going to go by the wayside as healthcare benefits go to a defined contribution model by 2020 for most & 401k remain pathetic and poor investment vehicles.   Companies will dump you on a dive if necessary.

- US is going to become a pretty brutish and insular place where people closely align themselves along racial, religious, or other lines because the future is largely going to be about taking benefits/things away from Americans (Americans don't do sacrifice) and opportunity is going to be increasingly closed off as economic costs of elite education become prohibitive. 


Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:10 | 4740256 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  Americans don't do sacrifice

But we do bullshit great.   The greatest thing about the US is our Trash Class not ONLY know their place, they actually know they deserve to be the Trash Class.    Because everybody has above average kids, we grow up knowning that the Job Creator Class are the worthy people who invest in our great-n-glorious country which allows our slow-motion flags and predatory bird to kick-ass all over the world.    The Trash Class knows - in their heart, as they look skyward at the slow-motion bomber flying over the Stupendious Bowl - with a tear in their patriotic eye, that it's only because they ARE the Trash Class can this nation remain great-n-glorous.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:19 | 4740289 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Solidarity requires that everyone in the bottom 80% thinks they're middle class.

That's why my childless high school buddy who's a nuclear engineer and his realtor wife think they're middle class just like me and my family of four living on a single Catholic school teacher salary.

I'm a societal problem because I know I'm not middle class.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:08 | 4740252 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

I have the perfect hybrid job opportunity...

Bricklayer- baker.

Make a pizza oven and then make the pizzas that go in them.

If you can mix mortar, you can make pizza dough.

Lets see... Plumber- proctologist is a pretty close skill set too.

Psychologist- dog trainer...

Serial killer-Human Resources director...

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:24 | 4740313 Postal
Postal's picture

Serial killer-Human Resources director...

Serial killers at least have some kinda of morals

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 17:35 | 4741224 Implicit simplicit
Implicit simplicit's picture

Rooster and a hooker: cocka doodle doo and any cock will do

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:09 | 4740253 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Yes indeed You Can Do More in the "Do-ocracy"...

Be your own self-styled work agent with multi-complex disciplines through innovations you will create yourself from a lone desk with a 3-D Printer that will make you instantly successful!....

Don't need no stinken manufacturing base to build it especially when it takes a few minutes or a few days to learn...  Robots can do all of it now or little Chinese or Malaysian people for nothing!...

Don't need to know "no" time honored rules in quality control management for a new business solution to be successful these dayz...  So overrated anyway and just look at how well things are built compared to 15 years ago especially in IT telecommunications?...

These guys are full of happy horse shit, or are working for Bill Gates and Lord Buffett!


Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:11 | 4740259 Midnight Rider
Midnight Rider's picture

This is starting to sound like we've hit a tipping point for the global population. If technology is going to replace basic work for which a great deal of the global population is suited, then the only long term answer will be for either a direct line to lower population and/or likely a rough ride through a protracted period of slave labor on the way down for a good portion of the population.

If there is going to be a reduced need for human labor going forward, there there needs to be fewer humans. I guess there will still need to be lawns mowed in the gated communities, but by then technology will probably have invented synthetic grass or hybrids that grow to a certain height and never need to be mowed. The point being there is a certain level of income needed to sustain a liveable life. Certainly to raise a family in order to bring in the next generation of lawn mowers. And that level of income seems to be fading away.

Granted, this will take a long time to play out. But, it sure seems the rate at which we are getting there has accelerated greatly over the past few decades.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 17:21 | 4741177 Comte d'herblay
Comte d&#039;herblay's picture

Sportsguy Chestbump.


That's it.  Too many way below average human beans, in a world that has too few entrepeneurial geniuses in it that can launch new and creative ways for people to be occupied at meaningful jobs, careers, and businesses, byt the millions.

Economics professor once said that "Profit"  is equal to "Ignorance".  

As examples, he pointed out that tax preparer that is paid because people don't want to learn how to do it themselves and then do it. Tax preparer profits nicely.

Ditto with billions of products that the average person hasn't the knowledge, and the knowledge of tools to make a widget, assemble a car, or other highly sophisticated machines like a Rocket ship.

I would add to the Ignorance theory, the lack of will to do something you know you can do (wash a dish), making dishwashing machines or nannies a profit of you.

Anyway Kurt Vonnegut dealt with this issue decades ago, Thank you, Mr. Rosewater.


Thu, 05/08/2014 - 18:38 | 4741446 strayaway
strayaway's picture

Why not just train and hire a lot of community organizers and planners as well as more attorneys? Then, society could begin operating more like a Rube Goldberg device where everyone has work but accomplishes nothing.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 21:58 | 4742072 messystateofaffairs
messystateofaffairs's picture

Not neccessarily. Technology streteches the use of capital and makes things cheap, kind of like a crude star trek matter replicator (or our 3D printer). That means it is theoretically possible for people to get more of the basic stuff they need to live with less personal work. People don't have to make shirt buttons by hand so they get buttons practically free compared to what they used to pay. People start to value luxury stuff they never thought of before, I think personal services markets will grow bigtime. I plan to teach courses in navel contemplation and take courses in the evolution of the flea from another specialist. There will always be markets for something once basic needs are met, its all relative.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:21 | 4740299 Spungo
Spungo's picture

The true path to modest wealth is to do shit yourself. Changing car oil might be $20 if you do it or $100 if someone else does it. Building a deck might be $1000 if you do it vs $10,000 for someone else to do it. Modern expectations of middle class are generally stupid because everyone wants to live like an aristrocrat. Middle class people should prepare and cook their own food every day rather than buy pre-cooked food. Middle class people should learn how to do their own fucking taxes instead of hiring an accountant. 


"A moral consumer is someone who knows it is better to shop at a small business than at Walmart, for example."

And what's wrong with Walmart? Bringing down the cost of goods is the ultimate goal of capitalism. This is why we drive cars instead of ride horses, this is why we use computers instead of writing by hand, this is why we farm with machines, this is why we shop at large centralized warehouses like Walmart, Costco, etc.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:46 | 4740385 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Your caboose is not hooked up to your locomotive.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:56 | 4740424 Billy Sol Estes
Billy Sol Estes's picture

JESUS CHRIST! $100 for an oil change? Where the hell do you live?

I can get a change at walmart in Texas for $28. And I have the opportunity to fondle women's underwear on clothing racks while I wait.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 15:10 | 4740762 Vidbizz
Vidbizz's picture

$14.95 at our local jiffy lube & I get to see the dude's butt cracks.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:24 | 4740311 Notsobadwlad
Notsobadwlad's picture

In the past, the value added from labor wsa able to approximately pay for the interest accrued by the economy. That is no longer true since the vast majority of work performed in the US no longer adds value. It just shifts dollars from one place to another.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:30 | 4740321 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Tech is the new factory and tech workers are the new factory workers.

Nothing changes until the people themselves change. It is the same shit different iteration. It has nothing to do with skill sets or work. It is human social problem that manifests itself over and over and over and over and over and ..... until you fix that the cycle continues unbroken.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:47 | 4740390 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

I work in technology. We don't produce shit.

Technology work is part of the financial and media sectors, which indeed are doing well and for reasons we can all understand.

When the financial sector implodes big-time the technology sector will last about a year or two and then evaporate.

Yeah I'll be out of a job. But notice that didn't stop me from saying something that though painful is the truth. And that is what sets me apart from just about every other single visitor to ZH.

Without the truth at hand I don't have much to say.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 17:10 | 4741159 Comte d'herblay
Comte d&#039;herblay's picture

This begs the question of why the Financial Sector would EVER have to implode at all, let alone big time.

It's fashionable to slam the financial sector but unwise to think that the smartest human beans in the world would work for their own demise.

Just look at how twisted Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner, Orszag, Lew, Yellen, are to save their bacon, and the ECBanksters all over the world have been able-----with a a few keystrokes on their IPhone (why don't those who kill for IPHONES ever choose these asswipes) while private G7 jetting off to Macao for some Baccarat, LBFMs, and drugs?




Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:47 | 4740380 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Why should anyone work?

The FED can just print money and send us checks.

They do it for banks/insurers/corporations - so why not?

Toil is stupid.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:53 | 4740412 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Nobody really works, as a rule. I know only one guy "works" and he's often sitting idle for lack of contracts. Most of the people think they work have never swung a hammer, nor anything of the kind. The number of people swinging hammers is really small and most of them are undocumented framers and carpenters from Mexico.

Everyone else (myself included) is just a middle-man.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:04 | 4740456 all-priced-in
all-priced-in's picture

The invention of the nail gun reduced the number of jobs for hammer swingers.

Also works good on reducing bankers  -

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:20 | 4740522 Overfed
Overfed's picture

I sure like my nailgun.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:33 | 4740570 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Well played, fellows.

My nailgun certainly gets a lot of use. I feel badly for all the undocumented I've put out of work. Well no actually I don't feel badly at all.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 17:02 | 4741126 Comte d'herblay
Comte d&#039;herblay's picture


Thu, 05/08/2014 - 17:04 | 4741127 Comte d'herblay
Comte d&#039;herblay's picture

sun flare...

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 17:02 | 4741128 Comte d'herblay
Comte d&#039;herblay's picture


Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:10 | 4740479 junction
junction's picture

The guys who observe the collapse of the middle class and then report their findings to whomever will listen are usually university professors who have no heavy lifting jobs that pay well.  Will they be as neutral and professorial about American job losses when online colleges using teleconferencing and digital lectures replace college teaching jobs with canned video lectures available on the cloud?  Only tradition is preventing most college teaching jobs from biting the dust, replaced by home schooling. There is nothing from stopping students from forming cooperatives where they set up an offsite classroom location where they take college courses together.  Colleges have priced themselves so high they now encourage a new teaching setup that eliminates the need for students to subsidize the administartive costs of large colleges.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:58 | 4740712 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Love this lecture. Well sums up the uncomfortable facts.

It got me asking one question. If deflation is a common attribute of increasing productivity, is there anything (aside from monetary inflation) that would support any wage growth? Are we, as humans, becoming more efficient or less efficient? Our individual value - is it growing or shrinking and do we deserve more or less compensation as a result.

Surely, if money was sound, deflation woudl amount to falling prices matched by rapidly increasing purchasing power of money. But what of the human. Are we progressing like machines - becoming more skillful and capable, or is the opposite thing happenning. What is our actual worth?

Takes many barrels of oil to support the modern man. Is he or she actually worth it? If machines take over and use less energy to produce greater output, is that a bad thing?

I'm having many conflicting emotions about this matter.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 15:08 | 4740754 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture


I hope you realize you just asked the pivotal questions of the last 200 years, to be answered in real-time over the next 20 years.

If you want to tackle those now and came up with a good working model with policy implications I'm reasonably confident the Nobel Committee would be keen to talk to you. If that's not incentive enough, I'd buy beers.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 18:00 | 4741298 all-priced-in
all-priced-in's picture

From a pure economic standpoint -

Some humans are worth far more than they are paid - some are paid about right (from vast sums to minimum wage)  - and a large number are not worth shit.

It is the group that is not worth shit that is and will continue to cause all the problems -



Thu, 05/08/2014 - 15:19 | 4740789 I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

Content-free post.  This is from Mr. Creative Class?  Boshwah.  Get creative Joe, this one is a load.  It's the nature of the social contract that's changed, mere workers no longer are covered by contract, middle-class salaried work is obsolete, even Piketty makes more sense - and he doesn't make much.  Piketty too entirely misses the fact that capital doesn't make money on its own, people make money - or don't.  People are compensated for the value they add - or they are not.  It doesn't matter what you try to do, if The System forbids that you are going to be compensated fairly for it.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 13:52 | 4744120 Polymarkos
Polymarkos's picture

The content of this article was at the end...BUY MY BOOK, I HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. This 'article' was a verbose ad, teasing us up to the idea this guy's book will give us a game plan we can make a living off of.



Fri, 05/09/2014 - 13:57 | 4744133 Polymarkos
Polymarkos's picture

I want my robot pizza maker.


Robot vending machines seem like a good strategy to me for making a living. People gotta eat, and fast food is about to implode from the unionization of the human trash working in it. As soon as that happens, McDs, Taco Hell, and all the others will go robotic or fall.


This will be the window of opportunity for small vending machine systems to step in. Consider a food courty taking up a fifth the volume with twice as many choices and better quality EVERYTHING cuz no pimply teenager was in back dicking up your order. All your fast food choices in one running all over for this or for that.


Wait until vat-meat, genetically engineered animal flesh substitute, is grown in quantity for just such purposes.


Soylent Green is coming.

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