The results are in from New Hampshire, the two outsiders have won. Most pundits talk about the anger at Washington the anger at the establishment, what missing is the true explanation why Trump and Sanders are doing so well. Their support reflects the growing sense of unease among most Americans. There is the growing sense that their children will not be as well off as they are. Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have answers for that, and both are wrong. Sanders blames the banks and other large corporations and Trump blames the illegal immigrants. Both make excellent bogeymen but neither is the cause. The banks and the big corporations are the symptoms and the immigrants are simply the wrong target.
The real economic culprit is technology, and no one is willing to say so. How may jobs have been taken by computers in the last few years. How many people answer the phones, act as secretaries, How many jobs has Amazon replaced? How many printers are out of business thanks to E-=books? How many newspaper jobs have been lost thanks to Google taking all the advertising revenue?, How many jobs will be lost when the driverless car becomes a reality? How many more jobs will be replaced by robots? The list is long and growing, and it gets event longer the better computers become and the closer to true Artificial Intelligence becomes
For centuries there has been a balance between capital and labor, technology has upended that balance and now capital is ascendant. The growing wealth gap is a direct result of this change. The wealth created by Google, Facebook, Apple and others have helped fuel that growing gap. Many of the financial instruments that have made many in the financial sector so wealthy are possible only because of ever more powerful computers. When almost any worker can be replaced by technology the ability of workers to negotiate for better wages is very limited. Politicians talk about preparing our children for 21st-century jobs, but I would love to know what they are. How many programmers do we really need? How many Apps? The answer is many less than we need taxi drivers, truck drivers and all sorts of other drivers that will soon be replaced.
Voters understand that there is problem, but it’s hard to blame technology. In the past new technologies always brought new opportunities. The end of the wagon, heralded the era of auto manufacturing, this time, that is unlikely. In the past technology replaced our muscles, now it replaces our brains, which means it essentially replaces us. Its a hard concept to fully understand, and even a harder concept to find solutions for. Since there are no clear solutions we have politicians who have created false bogeymen. I fear that the fear in the land is very real, and without some honest discussion of the issues by someone fear will win out, and we could end up with one of these candidates as President of the United States. A truly scary thought!