Greedy Goblin

Monday, October 19, 2009

Muscle and brain

My Friday posts about the imminent collapse of the economy (to be accurate the continuous decline of GDP for years) got lot of attention and comments. Some must be answered. Promise: the series will end this week, including a rewritten version of last Friday's and a solution suggestion (which will contain no genocide).

At first, many accused me to be Luddite and tried to disprove my statements based on that. I've never told technological advancement is anyway bad for the economy. I did not tell that technological advancement caused the current crisis. The inability of the political, financial and social system to adapt to the technological advancement caused it. In a very short and rude summary: "unskilled people no longer can pay their loans but banks kept giving them".

Technological advancement is good for the GDP and the well-being of those who are able to use it. It allows us to work less in average, yet have more medicine, better food, bigger homes, more items and so on. However the differences in the distribution of wealth and work is constantly increased by technological advancement.

Let me introduce SmartJack and DumbJack. They are both lumberjacks, cutting down and slicing up 4-4 tons of wood every (8 hours) day by axes. For every tons of wood the employer give them $20, so they are both making $80 a day.

Let's introduce woodcutting tractor that have an arm to grab a tree, drive it to fall to the right direction, and putting the cut parts to the cart it's pulling, plus a chainshaw. SmartJack can now cut 20 tons of wood a day. Now 24 tons of wood is cut instead of 8 so the +200% production causes price to fall somewhere to $8, so DumbJack's income is down to $24/day instead of $80. SmartJack makes $160 now. DumbJack is poorer than before the invention of the tractor and the chainsaw. If we add that he will see the new stuff of SmartJack every day, he will feel poor even more than he really is. It's important to notice that everyone else in town are happy because of the cheaper wood, the community's standard of living increased without doubt.

But does it matter? Can it cause large scale economical or political problems? The technological progress existed since the dawn of men. The axe that DumbJack uses wasn't always around, once people used stones and metal axe was a huge thing. So what changed?

Every time some new machine displaced people from a job, they found a new one, typically in a more advanced industry. When the bronze axe displaced some people who were chopping trees with stones, they could be employed by the by the smith who made the axe. The same way DumbJack could find a job as a machinist, building or maintaining chainsaws and tractors.

Except... he is too dumb for that. Feeding the forge with firewood doesn't need more brain than chopping trees or digging the ground. The carpenter master or the master smith did need more brain, but their servant did not.

In the previous centuries, 90-95% of the work was menial. It needed the worker to perform certain moves with his muscles. Pickaxing coal, driving a plow, feeding a sawmill, carrying boxes to a shop, or inserting screws into the same hole by the conveyor belt does not need intelligence or creativity. The boss of the job needed more and more knowledge and skill. However his servant only needed obedience and ability to learn a simple chore.

The paragraph above is not accurate. Carrying boxes does need brain. You have to know where they belong, what force you should apply, which is fragile, what tools (carrier belt, wheeled cart) should be used. Just because such "mental skills" are obvious to a mentally healthy human being, it does not mean it needs no such skills.

The advancement of technology until the last decades of the XX. century meant stronger and stronger "artificial muscles". The axe cuts trees faster than a piece of stone, and the chainsaw is stronger than an axe. However they are equally useless without a human who knows where the trees are, how to cut them, how to make them fall to the right direction or which part of the tree is considered "useful lumber".

Someone, who was able to do these basic thinking steps and was ready to work was a useful member of the society. The technological advancement meant nothing than replacing the muscles of the workforce with stronger and stronger machines.

What changed in the last decades of XX. century, (arbitrarily dated by me to 11/26/76, the birthdate of the biggest company doing it) is that machines started to think. Not creatively, intelligently, but now machines are able to do simple, repeatable thinking actions. I mean machines can sort mail according to their zip codes or capable of identifying and removing bad apples from a box, "remembering" what kind of websites you use to visit and give you targeted ads, booking your salary and so on.

Now we can replace the brains of the workforce with machines. Since the muscles are already replaced by machines, the whole human is now replaced. Only those can not be replaced whose job requires such complicated thinking that machines can't do yet, or solving non-repetitive problems, that machines cannot be programmed to (unless they contain true AI).

DumbJack has nowhere to go. Every job that has openings needs higher intelligence than cutting trees. The chainsaw is created by automated machines overseen by a single engineer. Repairing them would need him to set up a small business with paperwork, advertisements, contracts with spare parts suppliers, paying tax, and so on. He is not even competitive in cutting trees, otherwise he would not be unemployed, how on Earth would he turn into an engineer or a small business owner?!

The only advantage the non-creative human left is that he is already existing, while a machine must be bought first. Machines also need maintenance, so if someone gets less or equal salary than machine_maintenance + machine_price/time_in_service + loan_interest*machine_price, employing him is the right move. However this price nowadays is around $5-15K/year. Since our wonderful societies pay welfare in this magnitude, such workers simply doesn't work.

So we reached the present state: someone works 10 hours/day trying to keep the tractors alive, SmartJack cuts trees 6 days a week and 4-8 people are doing nothing since they are too dumb to be employed to any of these jobs and due to welfare, too lazy to keep on working the old way for $10K/year.

And their number will just grow!


Anonymous said...

Good simplification of technological progress leading to rising income inequality. While far from accurate in depicting reality, it provides an idea of the problem

Molinu said...

What happens when technological advancement reaches the point today's "creative and intelligent" jobs can be done without the need for human workers?

ablimoth said...

A good correction oh your previous argument, we can no longer refute your claim of GDP per smart not being the measure you say it is.

So, in conjunction with Fridays post, you are dating that GDP will continue to grow, but it will be sourced by less people (and potentially, will stop growing because the consumption decrease from those who lose their job to the machines is less than the value created by the machine).

If I read your argument correctly, you will predict a revolt, a reduction in minimum wage or the decline of western society due to the ratio of poor & stupid to rich.

It cannot be a revolt, that will cause demand for physical labour. The stupids will not allow a reduction in minimum wage despite being a better deal for them, so that leaves a decline of western society.

If I am right about your argument, this will be an interesting Friday's read.

Nils said...

And the solution is a basic income. If you give everyone 600€ the month without any requirements, they will work for 1€ the hour. If you give them social welfare they will not work.

I've been unemploed between my studies and my work for a few months. I could have worked at Mc Donalds or so. I didn't. Because from the 500€ I could have earned I had had to give 90% away to reduce the social welfare I received.

Effectively - I had had earned less than 20 cent the hour. After a 10 hour job I would not have been able to buy one Mc Dondals meal form the money I had earned!!

Basic Income is the only solution except for removing welfare completely; which is impossible for several reasons.

Ephemeron said...

DumbJack still has somewhere to go; namely, the service industry. Even without brains or brawn, he still has a smiling face and a friendly attitude in his arsenal.

Remember than the vast majority of the population is not composed of goblin sociopaths hellbent on eradicating the influence of ape subroutines. Quite the opposite: an average customer prefers his waiters, cashiers and flight attendants to be nice and human, rather than artificial and ultra-efficient. Bob doesn't care how many customers NiceJack can service per hour, he is only concerned with the quality of service that he receives personally.

The machines may have developed enough 'brains', but until they manage to simulate social interaction to a satisfying degree, DumbJacks of this world will have their last bastion of solace.

Nathan said...

I really liked the sound of this, but something about it doesn't quite sit well with me. Like others, I took this in coloration with the previous write up about Machinists. Now, I'm going to rule them out of what you're talking about here since it does require some education, skills such as welding, and a knowledge of metals. Basically, without prior training, either by apprenticing or an Associates Degree, it would be hard for me to just GET a job as a machinist.

For that reason, I'll stick to the woodcutter. If I am a non-handicapped person in good health I should be able to do that job without prior training. Like carrying boxes, putting wood in the fire, or other jobs that only require me to follow orders.

I think that such jobs DO still exist, only their not in the same markets we once saw them. While machines are forcing people out of those traditional jobs, the increase in wealth for some is an increase in jobs in other sectors. SmartJack has more money now and is going to spend it. Some of it is now disposable income, and since he's a SmartJack, he's still not GoblinJack. SmartJack wants to buy things. He's going to go to the store and buy luxury items he couldn't afford before, he's going to eat out instead of cooking at home, and he's going to pay people to take care of tasks he used to do himself.

Because SmartJack is doing this, he is now helping to create jobs as Waitresses, Cashiers, Retail Salespeople, Gardeners, Maids, Nannys, and Cooks. DumbJack won't make a lot of money doing these things, but he wasn't making a lot as an inefficient woodcutter either.

The problem is that the world is social, and we care about what people think of our career. When DumbJack was a woodcutter selling his wood, that was something worthy. Like small farmers, society tends to put people working for themselves or an easily identifiable boss above those in the "servant" industry. DumbJack doesn't want to serve SmartJack in a restaurant, that would be demeaning. He doesn't want to pull weeds in his yard, watch his kid, or cook his food because that makes SmartJack better than him. These jobs, and lots and lots of others like it, are reserved for kids and social outcasts.

As technology advances it does force people out of some aspects of the workforce, this I agree with. But someone has to take care of SmartJack's new needs. Someone had to build his bigger house. He wasn't building that bigger house before, but he is now. That's a NEW job to replace the old one. As there are more SmartJacks there are more new jobs. People simply need to value work over social prestige and learn to apply the skills they have to new areas.

I suggest DumbJack shave his lumberjack beard, tuck his shirt in, and look for a new job. He has skills such as working independently from supervision and a knowledge of wood. Maybe the new Home Depot in the posh part of town that SmartJack just built his house could use someone with those sorts of skills. He may not be proud of the job, want it, or be happy with it, but he has only social reasons for not working.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my english....its all about globalism.....drag down the workers payment produce to lowcosts more shit..people who are not willing to work for minimum payment get restrictions from their this turns into modern slavery........industrie wants the same production costs in europe as they got right now in the so called 3rd world*

thats kinda some of the masterplan for the next 20 years.

Anonymous said...

as some1 above said you cannot work for 20cent per hour just because of you the end you work 10hours a day and still have to go to the welfare office.

and theres no change in sight...its getting worser.

Anonymous said...

Technological progress will not lead to a dissaperance of low skilled jobs. What will happen is that some jobs, that can be done faster via improved technology, will dissapear. But, as history has showed us, repeatedly, there is never any shortage of potential work that needs to be done. It's just a matter of how much we are willing to pay for certain forms of work. When a portion of thee population get higher real wages, to to technological progress they will become more willing to pay for certain services, childcare, cleaning cooking, etc which arent easy to make less labour intensive. Rich nations will simply become more and more service oriented.


Anonymous said...

Your analysis of Smartjack and Dumbjack leaves out the very important element of the cost of acquiring the technical improvement. This is surprising coming from a goblin. Dumbjack might have come out ahead because he isn't paying off a huge loan for machinery.

The point is that you have to consider, the opportunity cost of technological improvement. It's not always worth it. If it was, manufacturing would not have shifted to the 3rd world where there is unlimited amounts of manual labor at cheap prices.

Xyras said...

well i hate something...
workers doing brainless work (repeating single movement for whole day) want to have wages that are rly high for the work they do... in the end their request and protests get them fired... there is always some worker in china that is willing to do that job cheaper
workers loose jobs–––>
government gives them welfare––––>
goverment increases taxes to gain money back––––>
middle class is the one that takes the weight

Unknown said...

This is (mostly) very basic economics, but I'm afraid Gevlon's conclusion might be stretching a bit.

His basic point is sound. Yes, it does often happen that technological progress gives producers within an industry the option of substituting capital for labour. Doing so results in a decrease in total employment within the industry, an increase in production, an increase in productivity, and (as always when industry productivity increases) an increase in wages.

That's right out of the standard textbooks, and the Western world has seen it happen over and over again. Farms went from employing over 30% of the US population in 1920 to around 2% as of the mid 90s. Manufacturing went through the same process a few years later. Some service sectors (answering phones, low level programming) went through the process over the last 10-15 years.

In every case total production went up even as employment within the sector was declining - and in every case there was no measurable secular change in overall employment.

Gevlon's argument is plausible, but there's simply no evidence in support of it. In fact it actually runs counter to the data we have. Check out this graph of workforce participation rates in the US from 1948 to 2006. (Note: As of Sept 2009, the labor force participation rate in the US was still over 65%, despite the impact of the crisis. In short, the rate has basically plateaued for the past 20 years.)

Basically, if Gevlon's pool of DumbJack's who've given up on an increasing technological workplace existed, they'd show up here. They don't. And if they were going to show up, shouldn't they have done so by now?

(Now, it's very possible that technological progress leads to rising income inequality - and in fact, if you look at the data, that appears to be exactly what's happening. But there's a world of difference between "stupid people end up working in low-productivity industries" and "stupid people end up not working". In the US, so far, it's the former. I don't have comparable data for the EU at hand, so won't comment about the.)

Mike said...

You haven't factored in production costs or supply and demand, but what happens if the wood buyer has a limited market for 8 tons per day?

Reducing his cost, and therefore what he can afford to pay for the raw materials, the wood is only worth $15 per ton, he manages to sell more wood and still get the same amount of profit.

Smart jack, now having to pay increased taxes as his earnings have increased, on top of fuel and maintenance costs for his logging machine, ends up only slightly better off. His quality of life is better because he isn't shattered after a long day swinging an axe...

He stockpiles his surplus wood, and can take a day off from time to time.

Dumb jack is still only producing 4 tons, so he takes a $20 cut in pay. Welfare supplements his income with the extra $20 that Smart Jack is paying in tax.

I know this is very simplified, but doesn't it just go to show that a happy medium can be found in most systems?

Anonymous said...

you only care about the ones that are lazy on the low end. In most cases why should someone do all that work for $10k when they can do nothing and get more?

The problem is that you consistantly ignore the issues in corporations where there is a lot of dead weight but they are the ones making the decisions. Some corporations have 8-10 lines of management but only the bottom 3 actually do an work.

This leads to a bad year and the CEO getting a 30% raise and insisting everyone else take a pay cut, and some lose their jobs.

My biggest issue with these kinds of people is not only do they not work for their money. They also insist that their lower "peasants" perform when they don't have to.

Its this kind of mentality that is ruining the world. socialism for the elite.

10k a year is a drop in the bucket. These people take billions out of the economy w/o earning it.

teflaime said...

The vast majority of people want friendly, prompt, gracious, competent service. Dumbjack can be friendly, and maybe prompt, but he is rarely capable of gracious and almost never capable of competent.
Which is why he will be at McDonald's instead of Per Se. And McDonald's doesn't pay enough for food and shelter and clothing.

Klepsacovic said...

You're overestimating the need for intelligence, underestimating the intelligence of most people, and failing to distinguish between intelligence and education. In reality most people are capable of holding jobs but are uneducated. Humanity and technology are nowhere near the point when the majority are too stupid to hold jobs.

What's my main Again? said...

If Dumbjack had bought the machine and put out the same work as smartjack... the price of wood would drop even further and both would end up suck with a loan out on an expensive piece of equipment and are completely screwed when the thing breaks down.

So one has to rise for the other to fall. Otherwise the netgain for them is 0 even though the total production of both of them went through the roof.

Unknown said...

Better. I approve of the direction you're going. And I wasn't calling you a Luddite, just that you had leaned too heavily on an attribution of unemployment to people being too *stupid* to adapt to technological change.

You've clearly demonstrated why technological change is good. Increased productivity, greater social net benefit, etc.

However, you've assumed that "DumbJack's" inability to find meaningful employment in the face of hardship in his chosen profession is because he is *unable* to grasp concepts that are more difficult than his current job. This assumes that training and human capital are free. More likely, the kinds of jobs that exist now require training that is simply too expensive for a former lumberjack to acquire. The opportunity cost for a 50 year old worker to go back to school to become a software programmer may simply be too high. I'd like to see how you address that possibility.

Also, your summary: "unskilled people no longer can pay their loans but banks kept giving them" again assumes that there has been some ground shift whereby large swaths of the population are suddenly unable to afford what they once could. That again seems unlikely. It seems more plausible to me that banks in the last decade began extending riskier and riskier loans without due diligence due to deregulation and the (correct) assumption of governmental mitigation in case said loans went bad.

I'm sorry I can't write more, but I have a Public Finance class to get to. :-)

csdx said...

That's just about the same point I was going to make. Thanks for actually finding the data to support the claim

Dirz said...

Another article that wrongly assumes that a rising percentage of people are too lazy to get work- blatantly false, even in Europe where you get spoon fed, people WANT to work- a very small percentage of the population is content to be lazy with welfare.

Anonymous said...

Japan had a "lost generation" of young workers who could not get a job because of the financial meltdown there a decade ago. Business Week recently ran an article saying the United States is facing the same situation because companies aren't hiring. They will skip over current applicants and move on to the next group when the time comes (if it does) to hire. As more and more people remain unemployed, something's got to give. In the long-run, how can the World support an ever-growing population with fewer and fewer jobs? I agree that there's an expansion of service-related jobs as "discretionary-income producing" jobs are created, but with fewer of the latter, fewer service-related jobs will also be created. Governments don't have the resources to support the unemployed forever, and companies have no incentive to hire for fear their profit margins will fall. Someone better come up with a solution before it's too late.

Markco said...

You're forgetting the service industry completely!

Yaggle said...

As technology has allowed for the same jobs to be done by less, or no people, the gap has been filled by new types of jobs where people are paid to do things that people used to do for themselves. Look at how much less people cook for themselves. Jobs were created by fast food businesses and preparation and packaging of microwaveable foods. Most people used to change their own oil in their car but now, most people go to the shop and have it done. The question is, will this continue, and if so, what new jobs will emerge from people not doing some new things by themselves. The obvious one, and the trend we can already see, is the increased demand for healthcare providers. There are still huge demand for more doctors and nurses even in the economic downturn. But, what else? What types of things do people do every day (besides work) that they really would rather not do?

Unknown said...

Interesting theory. How does the cheap outsourcing and immigrant labor factor in this, however? Engineers in Eastern Europe earn less than lumberjacks in Western Europe, and immigrants with worker visas work physical labor for less than the welfare a citizen gets.

Anonymous said...

In response to the person saying DumbJack could go into the service industry because that requires human interaction...

YES. You're absolutely right. But since DumbJack would get the same or more money on welfare than working, he'll likely take the easy way out and not work. We need to make these lazy DumbJacks become industrious DumbJacks and stop giving them money to reinforce their laziness.

Anonymous said...

Your arguement is interesting, but you have not taken the next step. What happens to dumbjack?

In Australia, the rise of the self employed Person providing menial labour is soaring. It is called specialization. Smart Jack works and earns and decides he is above menial tasks. Who is he to mow his lawn, wash his dog, fix the pipes, fix is car? He is an engineer and a business owner and has no time.

Dumb Jack sets up a small business based on his labour. He "buys" himself a job for a smal amount.

And thus he remains employed.

- the miner.

Wassabe said...

In order to perform more highly technical jobs, you have to have more training and education. To achieve a higher level of education, you have to have a higher innate IQ.

If you consider a bell curve with a mean of 100 and SD of 15. You will find that the average IQ of a college graduate is about 108. Average for master's dergee about 115. Average for a Ph.D about 123.

Now from that population, you have to remove those who may have the intelligence, but are unable to obtain the college degree, possibly for financial, family, or simply lack of motivation. Who knows the reason, but they are not able to obtain work in the technical work force.

The news carries reqular articles about how although unemployment is up, there are many many jobs available, but no one qualified to fill them. For example, Blizzard has 175 job openings today. How many of those do you think require less then a four year college degree?

Technological advancement limits the pool of workers with the mental capacity to attempt the training, and those who actually complete the training.

Think about your own college experience. How many freshman started with you, and how many of them graduated with you? The U.S national average is that 53% of starting freshman graduate within 6 years. The average graduation rate for community college is about 30%.

Anonymous said...

you use several logical presumptions, which are highly questionable:

1. you are assuming there is no middle ground between, let's call them, Brains and Hands, which then translates into black and white world of possibilities of job employment: those that require a Brain and those that do not.

2. Furthermore, your metaphor of gradual replacement by machines assumes that (usage of) machines do(es) not leave a place for human contributions.

3. You assume that our time is somehow special in its' technological advancement; an argument could be made that what today technology is for us exactly what the invention of axe was to those of our ancestors that had to adapt to using it. let me use an example from another science: biology and natural selection. You could say that adaptation to cold is an outcome, but it is really not, it is the cause that allowed genes that "program" an individual to survive cold to prosper, since those individuals that did not carry the gene would die before they could spread the gene to their offsprings. Similarly, technology is not just a mechanical outcome of our "progress", it is also what drives, in this case, economies in smaller or larger scales, into adapting. Please dont tell me that today even the simplest JoeMcSimpleSimpleton somehow has *LESS* options to adapt than his ancestor had two centuries ago?

4. every decade literally has 'prophets of doom', fin de siecle paranoia and the feeling that we are so close to some imaginary breaking point from which nothing will be the same anymore. in some twisted way, those are all true, because humanity "changes never to be same again" all the time. If history can teach us anything, it's that we've seen its end multiple times over :)

Anonymous said...

Also, irreverent point:
I for one welcome our new robot overlords.

Ratshag said...

There is a huge assumption in this post, and it is rather startling that no one has spotted it. Once you remove the assumption, the whole argument falls apart. The introduction of the tree-chopping machine replaces a series of motions requiring not only strength but also practiced coordination with "press the button". So why is everyone accepting that it is DumbJack who is going to be out of a job, and not SmartJack?

The operator of the machine will need to perform tasks which are very difficult to automate, but are trivial for any human, even one of low intelligence. Tasks such as "don't cut down the telephone pole" or "don't drive into the boss's car, even though she parked in a different spot today." So DumbJack now has a job operating the machine, and SmartJack has an opportunity to go find something new and creative and more productive. This is why, over the course of thousands of years of technological improvement, society has prospered instead of collapsing under the weight of the unemployed, the unintelligent, the welfare cases.

Because reality isn't an Ayn Rand novel.

sam said...

You guys completely missed the simple logic of Gevlons Post.

We have distribution centers now that have 15% of the personnel they did 15 years ago and the people that do work there for the most part make no decisions. The warehouse Managment Systems tell them which box to drop each piece of product in and which conveyor to place it on. And they don't employ any more mechanics than they did 15 years ago and probably about 20 percent of the IT work force they did. (Including contractors)

Thats with dumb machines. What is it going to be like when we have machines that can function at say the equivilant of 100 IQ but with the equivilant of a photographic memory? I'm very doubtfull that your average company would rather have a fallible human for most tasks when they can have a robot that never argues and remembers every thing they are ever told.

Even if you disagree, I'd have to say not preparing for the possibility and considering how to fix the socioeconomic problems if things tend that way is the "stupid" decision. If us negative guys are wrong then there is no problem. If you "positive" guys are wrong society itself will implode.

What's my main Again? said...


When we get to that point we allow machines to take over the boring menial jobs of cleaning, cooking, manufacturing, farming, etc.

At that point they can manufacture themselves and we as a society will have to move beyond the economic divisions that currently exist.

In one of the star trek movies the captain says that they work to improve mankind not for personal gain. There is no economy and everyone is given equal opportunity.

Of course this kind of change could only come about after the economy implodes and we nearly destroy ourselves. Such a world has no place for Goblins nor ape subroutines.

Carl Lewis said...

The Problem with this line of thinking is that you are trying to distill the calculus of determining the productivity of one individual vis-a-vis the Macro economy soley through the lens of production. You simply ignore many variables which have to change in whenever the cost of production goes up or down.

Your thesis is that the introduction of technology decreases the GDP per person and widens the gap between rich and poor.

The reason this simply is illogical is because you attempt to change the inputs of a single economic function and present it's affect on participants in that single economic function as evidence of the overall negative effect that technological function has on that particular participants total economic standing. your argument by it's self is illogical and disjointed.

If for example, we have 2 people making widgets. and widgets are inelastic and then A gets a widget machine lowering the price of widgets to the point that B can't compete. YES be is harmed by not being able to make widgets. But stoping there would be too simplistic. Because the increased availability of widgets means lower price, which B benefits from since he also has to use the widgets it also lowers the price of everything that has widgets as an input cost Benefiting B. It also creates a Problem for A because now he needs to reach more people to sell his cheaper widgets which requires labor, sales, advertising, and other functions incident to increased commerce. which means that B will probably find another job in one of those functions. the fact is for ever problem technology solves it creates three, which means for ever job it takes away it produces three.

The disparity of rich and poor is a function of the income tax becasue the income tax especially the progressive income tax encourages the least amount of production possible. If you think about the progressive tax and how it really works it's pretty clear.

In the United states the first tax bracket starts at 8,350 for individuals and gets taxed at 10% all the way up to 35% for people making over 372k every time you meet the threshold you have to make a certain amount more than the threshold in order to maintain your take home in come before you crossed the threshold, The Higher the tax progresses the harder this is to do. Not to mention that more money comes from investemnts which is taxed at a lower rate for the rich than the poor. The Government is the reason for the increasing disparity not technology.

Ladron de la Noche said...

You seem to be a very gifted economist and I can certainly respect you for that, but a sociologist you are not. Your conclusion may have been valid if your premises were correct, however they are not. Most any sociologist worth anything would tell you that the actual difference in intelligence between any two people is so small as to not make a large difference whatsoever.
Any person without a serious mental defect can be trained to do just about any job there is, despite their perceived "intelligence". It mostly depends on how that person reacts to certain methods of training and changing those methods to better suit the individual. Most differences in intelligence that we see are generally culturally based misunderstandings or areas in which an individual has had little experience or training.
There is most certainly a difference in intellectual capability among individuals, but the gap is much smaller than we generally imagine it to be. People all along the range of intelligence are capable of much more than you give them credit for.

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