Wednesday, October 21, 2015


This is the sort of thing you can just see David Harsanyi writing on a bet. "David," says his friend over the brandy and cigars at the Club, "you know how everyone wishes it were still possible to make a good living in this country with your hands and without having degrees out the yin-yang? $1000 says you can't write a column that'll convince them they don't really want that."

Sure thing! says Harsanyi:
For starters, isn’t it a bit archaic to act like assembling a car is more honorable or useful than being a teacher, a lawyer, an entrepreneur, or an engineer; working in finance; or making a living in the service industry? Perhaps there’s something about the tangibility of seeing a widget being put together by a line of workers that offers voters some affirmation that, indeed, things must be going well. But it doesn’t work that way...
Maybe he thinks the folks clamoring for these jobs are all hipsters looking to dabble in manual labor during their gap year.
In the 1950s, these kinds of jobs may have offered the security and pensions that people sought — considering the other options. Today, Americans have easier access to education and far more vocational diversity. There is no need romanticize a far less dynamic time in American history...
You may not be able to afford to send your kid to college or a new car every five years like your grandfather did, but he didn't have dynamism!
When politicians says we’ve outsourced manufacturing jobs, they mean the labor has become too expensive. Most voters probably understand that China, Mexico, Malaysia, “steal” jobs because American workers can’t compete with someone making a dollar an hour...
At least not yet!
Fact: robots are better than humans at assembling things...
It is over, puny humans! Do not struggle!
We have no clue what new industry will emerge a decade from now. The more we innovate, though, the more it seems we need human creativity and ingenuity — at least until the post-scarcity world of singularity.
When they can finally upload my brain into a globe I won't need food and shelter -- too bad for you flesh-and-blood suckers!

I can see Harsanyi handing this to his friend and asking, "Do I win?" and the friend pulling a sheaf of C-notes from petty cash and saying with a gentle smile, "Well, I'm convinced."

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