Recently the new SecTreas Steve Mnuchin was quoted (here) to claim that the acceleration of technology, specifically the advent of smart machines, would have no or minimal effect on US employment. The overwhelming evidence that inundates us daily (e.g. recently here and here) leads one to conclude exactly the opposite. Warning of the rampant increase of systemic unemployment has been a clarion cry in these pages since RR was launched over a decade ago. The number of potential workers who are out of the workforce is now around 90 million, 20 million more than I predicted today’s number to be about ten years ago.
The factors that significantly impact our systemic unemployment are AI (or accelerating technology), immigration, and education. Contrary to Mnuchin’s mind-numbing conclusion, smart machines that are into everything from medical diagnoses, flipping hamburgers, to scientific research are extending the reach of some workers while permanently evicting larger numbers of them from the workplace. One of the prime reasons our onshore businesses have a hard time growing is finding qualified workers – people with enough smarts and proper skill sets who are willing to work for a very uneven spread of paychecks and benefits that the realworld delivers.