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The collapse of the progressive economy The future belongs to blue-collar workers

The people are unionising. Ason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

The people are unionising. Ason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images


January 4, 2023   5 mins

In recent decades, progressive politics has been underwritten by the ascendant economic titans of capital, technology, and communication. Big Tech and financial firms have long financed Democratic causes, led by those such as George Soros and the now-disgraced crypto-master Sam Bankman-Fried, who was released last month on a $250 million bail deal.

Yet for all its claims to represent the future, this ephemeral economy is starting to unravel, as the world begins to wake up to the fundamental realities underlying daily life. It turns out that, while they may seem old-fashioned in today’s digital world, material goods actually matter when they are hard to procure. Over the past year, traditional industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and energy have thrived, while media companies have lost $500 billion in value and tech firms have suffered a reversal of an astounding $4 trillion. Today, it’s not steel companies or gas plants that are experiencing mass layoffs, but firms such as Goldman Sachs, Meta, Amazon and Google.

Indeed, after its decade-long bender, the progressive economy is about to wake up to a massive hangover. And its minions are getting restless. Companies such as Amazon and Starbucks — like their industrial predecessors during the Depression — face increased union militancy, an uncomfortable reality for long-time virtue-signallers such as Starbucks’s Howard Schultz, who has long portrayed himself as an enlightened model aristocrat. Discontent is even brewing in the media, with the New York Times now experiencing labour unrest. Across the board, a bitter truth is slowly coming into focus: skilful public relations no longer can make up for widening class distinctions.

Equally unsettling has been the incessant labour unrest at America’s universities. Amid mounting declines in enrolment, these lordly institutions have been exposed as exploitative, favouring a tenured faculty with rich pensions but offering little to severely underpaid adjuncts and teaching assistants, who now constitute the vast majority of the academic workforce. These are the folk now staging walkouts. The professoriate may see themselves as enlightened tools of right-on thinking, but to many others they seem like Stalin’s much maligned Kulaks, rich peasants thriving on the work of the poor.

Even the preferred geographic heart of the progressive economy — big, dense, expensive cities — is clearly fading. Today, most of those places dominated by progressives face mounting financial pressures, which are leading activists to demand higher taxes on the rich. With high-tech start-ups and high-wage jobs stagnating, in California, for example, a $100 billion state surplus is now widely expected to turn into a $25 billion deficit next year. Ultra-blue New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts also face potentially large, and expanding, shortfalls.

As these progressive economies unravel, we are likely to see greater conflict between their two bulwarks: the Leftist activists and ultra-rich oligarchs who have embraced causes as a part of their identity. This profoundly contradictory romance could soon explode, as calls for an expanding and intrusive welfare state — the prime goal of the modern Left — becomes increasingly unpalatable for the wealthy. In flush years, these oligarchs could afford elaborate welfare and climate policies to flourish, even at their considerable expense. But increasingly, particularly since the pandemic, wealthy individuals are bailing to low-cost places such as Florida. Elsewhere, governors such as New York’s Kathy Hochul and California’s Gavin Newsom may express worries about new tax-the-rich schemes, but they will soon have to face off with determined, increasingly radical elements in the Democratic Party more interested in promoting class warfare and “climate justice” than sustaining the local economy.

Of course, the root of this conflict is bipartisan. The rapid decline of Trumpism, and its transformation into a kind of weird cult, has ripped off the adhesive that united the ultra-rich, the militant activists and the party machine. Silicon Valley still retains its close ties to Democrats but the big money is shifting somewhat towards the GOP. Even long-time progressive funders such as Nike’s Phil Knight have had enough, and put $1 million behind the Republican candidate for Governor in Oregon.

The pandemic has also played a critical role in this evolution, first boosting tech, real estate, and stock prices to historic highs — and then forcing interest rates to increase, as the pandemic eased and the cost of massive bailouts, supply chain issues and inflation became clear. Real estate prices, particularly in elite office districts, plummeted, while stocks lost their appeal. The market for digital products began to sag and, in the case of cryptocurrency, collapsed.

Crucially, inflation on food, energy and home prices hits traditional Democratic constituencies the hardest. It’s unsurprising that those most affected by shortages in the labour market are not graduates of Oberlin or other elite liberal colleges. Instead, the big demand, notes former California labour commissioner Michael Bernick, is for people who can drive a truck, construct a house, change beds, or perform nursing duties. Venture capitalist and AI entrepreneur Rony Abovitz suggests the future may be brighter for people who can install plumbing systems than those who perform tasks easily done by machine. “It’s the end of the white-collar knowledge work,” Abovitz told me. Instead, he predicts the coming years will be shaped more by the rise of the “sophisticated, technically capable blue-collar worker”.

A political programme that focused on increasing training in these fields might, therefore, seem reasonable. And yet today the usual progressive solution is to conjure solutions from above, such as rapid rises in minimum wages and extending welfare benefits, rent control and regulatory oversight of companies. All of which sounds nice on paper; the problem is that many blue states may soon no longer have the money to pay these freebies.

After all, it is not just blue-collar industries that are moving away from the bluest states. Over the past five years, finance, business services, business management and even tech companies are shifting from New York, LA, Chicago and San Francisco to places such Austin, Dallas, Salt Lake and Raleigh-Durham. Worse, many of these businesses are joining the general population and much of the middle class in ditching progressive states for more conservative places such as Texas, Tennessee and Florida, which offer better opportunities and lower housing costs.

Whether the Democrats can stem this exodus will be decided by who dominates the progressive world over the next year. The moderate Democrats, some assert, did well in the midterms and certainly represent a larger group than the progressives. But ultimately, the party’s heart belongs to the favourites of the Left — Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, as well as beloved losers such Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke.

Yet perhaps the main problem the party faces is how to expand the welfare state without killing off its key sources of income. The prioritisation of progressive issues such as transgender bathrooms and reparations may swiftly seem outdated as the economy unravels, more people suffer, and widespread pessimism about the future grows. Elsewhere, too, other issues look set to further fracture this fragile progressive alliance — such as the relentless drive for an increasing number of draconian climate policies. Activists push for “climate justice” but are rightly discomforted by the reality that, for many of the ultra-wealthy, climate policies provide just another opportunity to enrich themselves by exploiting government subsidies for the “energy transition”. Meanwhile, working-class people, such as those in the automobile industry, face cuts in a China-dominated electric car industry, higher energy prices and the likely loss of jobs.

If this happens, it’s hard not to see how conflict won’t erupt. The long period of progressive success has relied on an alliance that is turning sour — and the upstairs/downstairs coalition, nurtured by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and amplified by a complacent media, now seems destined to endure an almost inevitable period of internecine conflict.


Joel Kotkin is the Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and author, most recently, of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class (Encounter)

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Walter Egon
Walter Egon
1 year ago

I’m looking forward to the blue-collar future, but I suspect the new future will be much the same as the old one.
I’ve been a furniture maker / woodworker for almost 30 years now, have a small but excellent workshop in the cellar and only need to work 15 hours a week to live comfortably. I live in the town centre and lead a simple life with few of the expenses that most people have come to regard as normal. I have a wealth of time and am not plagued by an incessant barrage of texts, mails and phone calls. I have time to read, think, draw and listen to music.
This is a consequence of a choice I made as a young man: I left university and started a vocational education. Academics are just overgrown schoolboys. I, on the other hand, am an oddity.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Egon

Academics are just overgrown schoolboys
Rarely truer words spoken.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 year ago

There is the saying that academic disputes are so bitter because they tend to be trivial.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

That also goes for most of the Armed Forces sadly.

Andrew Green
Andrew Green
1 year ago

I do not understand this comment. Our armed Forces have been treated very badly by successive governments, starting particularly with tony Blair. I put them in the “blue collar” category, underpaid with their lives at risk and now standing in for the medical profession that cannot do a full day’s work without wanting more money

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Green

Agreed, but their senior ranks are riddled by Wokedom unfortunately!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Green

Agreed, but their senior ranks are riddled by Wokedom unfortunately!

Andrew Green
Andrew Green
1 year ago

I do not understand this comment. Our armed Forces have been treated very badly by successive governments, starting particularly with tony Blair. I put them in the “blue collar” category, underpaid with their lives at risk and now standing in for the medical profession that cannot do a full day’s work without wanting more money

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago

Yes and no. During my time in academia, the university has become almost entirely female dominated. If my male colleagues resemble prepubescent boys, I think it’s more than a lack of maturity. Many are completely emasculated; court eunuchs in the service of hysterical administrators.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 year ago

There is the saying that academic disputes are so bitter because they tend to be trivial.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

That also goes for most of the Armed Forces sadly.

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago

Yes and no. During my time in academia, the university has become almost entirely female dominated. If my male colleagues resemble prepubescent boys, I think it’s more than a lack of maturity. Many are completely emasculated; court eunuchs in the service of hysterical administrators.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Egon

I am jealous (over 30 years behind a desk …)

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Egon

Reality from the San Diego Union-Tribune
““Wage theft, labor trafficking and other illegal practices are rife in the industry, which is one of the reasons a policy like this is even necessary,” Carol Kim, leader of San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council, said Tuesday. “Ensuring that businesses are complying with basic local, state and federal laws is a very good thing for both workers and consumers alike.”
The local chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America was less enthusiastic Tuesday, calling the new rules “duplicative and onerous” for many contractors.

Walter Egon
Walter Egon
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

I’m Norwegian so thankfully do not have to engage with the unfurling American insanity.
I do have an accountant who keeps the books, and I dutifully pay all my taxes (albeit with gritted teeth) but other than that I have had no dealings whatsoever with ‘officialdom’ or unions in 30 years.
It’s just me and a string of happy customers.
Suits me fine.

Walter Egon
Walter Egon
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

I’m Norwegian so thankfully do not have to engage with the unfurling American insanity.
I do have an accountant who keeps the books, and I dutifully pay all my taxes (albeit with gritted teeth) but other than that I have had no dealings whatsoever with ‘officialdom’ or unions in 30 years.
It’s just me and a string of happy customers.
Suits me fine.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Egon

Hooray for you. You are living my dream life. I learned too late that working in a corporation to support my family, with decent income and good health care insurance, eventually became soul-killing. Perhaps I will take up what you did in retirement. I hope you were also wise enough to invest in real estate in the town center.

Walter Egon
Walter Egon
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Only things I could afford to invest in is quality tools and my soul.
Apprentice inherits the tools, devil gets the rest.

Walter Egon
Walter Egon
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Only things I could afford to invest in is quality tools and my soul.
Apprentice inherits the tools, devil gets the rest.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Egon

Academics are just overgrown schoolboys
Rarely truer words spoken.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Egon

I am jealous (over 30 years behind a desk …)

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Egon

Reality from the San Diego Union-Tribune
““Wage theft, labor trafficking and other illegal practices are rife in the industry, which is one of the reasons a policy like this is even necessary,” Carol Kim, leader of San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council, said Tuesday. “Ensuring that businesses are complying with basic local, state and federal laws is a very good thing for both workers and consumers alike.”
The local chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America was less enthusiastic Tuesday, calling the new rules “duplicative and onerous” for many contractors.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Egon

Hooray for you. You are living my dream life. I learned too late that working in a corporation to support my family, with decent income and good health care insurance, eventually became soul-killing. Perhaps I will take up what you did in retirement. I hope you were also wise enough to invest in real estate in the town center.

Walter Egon
Walter Egon
1 year ago

I’m looking forward to the blue-collar future, but I suspect the new future will be much the same as the old one.
I’ve been a furniture maker / woodworker for almost 30 years now, have a small but excellent workshop in the cellar and only need to work 15 hours a week to live comfortably. I live in the town centre and lead a simple life with few of the expenses that most people have come to regard as normal. I have a wealth of time and am not plagued by an incessant barrage of texts, mails and phone calls. I have time to read, think, draw and listen to music.
This is a consequence of a choice I made as a young man: I left university and started a vocational education. Academics are just overgrown schoolboys. I, on the other hand, am an oddity.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“The future belongs to blue-collar workers”
I hope that you are right. It was blue-collar workers who built the world.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

If by blue collar workers you mean engineers then it is important to register that the digital highway is built be engineers. The blue collar workers of ASLEF that are striking are doings so partly to stifle the engineering advances that will lead to more efficient rail inspections and remote signalling and train operation that have been created by engineers.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I doubt he means academically trained engineers but who knows. Probably not.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

Engineers have certainly been crucial in building the physical structure of the modern world but, of course, he may just mean the workers by hand and toil in the Marxist sense of the proletariat.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Actually the Marxist sense of the proletariat is any worker who works for a capitalist. Odd place this, I doubt if 1 in 10 works or worked with their hands. Some kind of weird fetish.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago

Utter bullocks. I can remember a time in my working life when a boy left school and began a working life actually making things. At the end of every working day he could hold something in his hands and honestly say “I made that”. For a lad of modest or no academic ability at all that was incredibly motivating. Not least because he knew deep down that the early engineers were self-taught, and had never been within ten miles of a university.
In the 1950s, the world belonged to lads like that. The youngsters who reconstructed the civilized world after the destruction of war. We will see some of that again when the war in Ukraine ends. Lets just hope that those youngsters are not exploited and betrayed by the articulate arty-farty classes as in the recent past.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

Too true, not one of the progenitors of the greatest event in human History, bar none, the English Industrial Revolution, went near a University.
In fact the hostility of the (two) Universities is still be seen by the remoteness and inconvenience of the siting of their respective Railway Stations.

What of the youth of today? A worthless degree in Media Studies or Gender Politics! Still it is a slight improvement on a Degree in Theology, it must be said.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

There would have been little point in the engineers of the industrial Revolution going near a university as they did not have engineering departments until the 19th century was over. The core subject of Universities in that period was still theology.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Exactly, factories for the Anglican Priestocracy no less.
Even today their pernicious influence remains, albeit somewhat diminished, it must be said.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

I once asked a Jewish lawyer why there were so many excellent Jewish lawyers. (This was in the days you were socially permitted to ask such questions). His answer was that it came from a youthful study of the Torah. The study of divinity certainly provided comfortable livings for the second or third sons of the gentry. A safer alternative to the military.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Yes that cannot be disputed by I still prefer Dr Johnson’s quip “Every man thinks meanly of himself




”

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I thought it came from arguing about what it meant.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Yes that cannot be disputed by I still prefer Dr Johnson’s quip “Every man thinks meanly of himself




”

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I thought it came from arguing about what it meant.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

I once asked a Jewish lawyer why there were so many excellent Jewish lawyers. (This was in the days you were socially permitted to ask such questions). His answer was that it came from a youthful study of the Torah. The study of divinity certainly provided comfortable livings for the second or third sons of the gentry. A safer alternative to the military.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Exactly, factories for the Anglican Priestocracy no less.
Even today their pernicious influence remains, albeit somewhat diminished, it must be said.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Roy Mullins
Roy Mullins
1 year ago

I disagree.Theology is about the legitimate academic study of
( the great ) religions and their beliefs. Gender studies is indoctrination in wokeness

Last edited 1 year ago by Roy Mullins
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy Mullins

Yes a good point, but sadly NOT one can discuss on UnHerd!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy Mullins

Yes a good point, but sadly NOT one can discuss on UnHerd!

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

There would have been little point in the engineers of the industrial Revolution going near a university as they did not have engineering departments until the 19th century was over. The core subject of Universities in that period was still theology.

Roy Mullins
Roy Mullins
1 year ago

I disagree.Theology is about the legitimate academic study of
( the great ) religions and their beliefs. Gender studies is indoctrination in wokeness

Last edited 1 year ago by Roy Mullins
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

If you think people got to own what was being produced at the end of the day then you don’t really understand that work.

There’s as many carpenters as ever in any case, just fewer factory workers. Also workers aren’t exploited by the arty farty lasses but by capitalists. I doubt if any of the newly pro working class posters on here were pro unions back when thatcher was around.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

Too true, not one of the progenitors of the greatest event in human History, bar none, the English Industrial Revolution, went near a University.
In fact the hostility of the (two) Universities is still be seen by the remoteness and inconvenience of the siting of their respective Railway Stations.

What of the youth of today? A worthless degree in Media Studies or Gender Politics! Still it is a slight improvement on a Degree in Theology, it must be said.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

If you think people got to own what was being produced at the end of the day then you don’t really understand that work.

There’s as many carpenters as ever in any case, just fewer factory workers. Also workers aren’t exploited by the arty farty lasses but by capitalists. I doubt if any of the newly pro working class posters on here were pro unions back when thatcher was around.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago

Utter bullocks. I can remember a time in my working life when a boy left school and began a working life actually making things. At the end of every working day he could hold something in his hands and honestly say “I made that”. For a lad of modest or no academic ability at all that was incredibly motivating. Not least because he knew deep down that the early engineers were self-taught, and had never been within ten miles of a university.
In the 1950s, the world belonged to lads like that. The youngsters who reconstructed the civilized world after the destruction of war. We will see some of that again when the war in Ukraine ends. Lets just hope that those youngsters are not exploited and betrayed by the articulate arty-farty classes as in the recent past.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Actually the Marxist sense of the proletariat is any worker who works for a capitalist. Odd place this, I doubt if 1 in 10 works or worked with their hands. Some kind of weird fetish.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

Engineers have certainly been crucial in building the physical structure of the modern world but, of course, he may just mean the workers by hand and toil in the Marxist sense of the proletariat.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

No he means a dull human in a boring job pushing a button on a robot all day long. Joel is clueless. Amazon is the biggest blue collar employer not some ideal ‘Yellowstone” guy in flannel cutting a piece of wood.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I doubt he means academically trained engineers but who knows. Probably not.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

No he means a dull human in a boring job pushing a button on a robot all day long. Joel is clueless. Amazon is the biggest blue collar employer not some ideal ‘Yellowstone” guy in flannel cutting a piece of wood.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Wow a white collar intellectual telling us the future is blue collar !
Better teach your children Spanish because that is what is spoken on all factory, construction & maintenance job sites. Plus it is actually hard dirty work with no expectation that republicans will raise your pay or benefits.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

He’s not considering what will happen when all those blue-collar factory workers lose their factory jobs and become plumbers and electricians. Now they can earn high fees because there are few of them.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

He’s not considering what will happen when all those blue-collar factory workers lose their factory jobs and become plumbers and electricians. Now they can earn high fees because there are few of them.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Only under ‘instruction’.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

If by blue collar workers you mean engineers then it is important to register that the digital highway is built be engineers. The blue collar workers of ASLEF that are striking are doings so partly to stifle the engineering advances that will lead to more efficient rail inspections and remote signalling and train operation that have been created by engineers.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Wow a white collar intellectual telling us the future is blue collar !
Better teach your children Spanish because that is what is spoken on all factory, construction & maintenance job sites. Plus it is actually hard dirty work with no expectation that republicans will raise your pay or benefits.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Only under ‘instruction’.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“The future belongs to blue-collar workers”
I hope that you are right. It was blue-collar workers who built the world.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

We can only hope. In Canada the Liberals are planning on imposing a bizarrely high quota for electric cars (which make no sense in frozen rural Canada) and are now attacking fertilizer use in the farming industry. They are supported in all this by the ‘socialist’ NDP. I will believe in the collapse of progressive insanity when it happens. I think their supporters have endless capacity for self delusion. If Covid taught us anything it is that people will do anything to avoid admitting they were wrong.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

“I think their supporters have endless capacity for self delusion.”
Brilliant. 

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Part of the difficulty is, who do you replace them with? I don’t have much faith that the CPP is significantly more up to the task, Poilievre is a man with one idea, which he imagines is the solution to every problem. Hence his cryptocurrency blunder. He might not be woke but that’s not the only qualification he needs.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

“I think their supporters have endless capacity for self delusion.”
Brilliant. 

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Part of the difficulty is, who do you replace them with? I don’t have much faith that the CPP is significantly more up to the task, Poilievre is a man with one idea, which he imagines is the solution to every problem. Hence his cryptocurrency blunder. He might not be woke but that’s not the only qualification he needs.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

We can only hope. In Canada the Liberals are planning on imposing a bizarrely high quota for electric cars (which make no sense in frozen rural Canada) and are now attacking fertilizer use in the farming industry. They are supported in all this by the ‘socialist’ NDP. I will believe in the collapse of progressive insanity when it happens. I think their supporters have endless capacity for self delusion. If Covid taught us anything it is that people will do anything to avoid admitting they were wrong.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

The left has lost its way, it needs to go back to its bread and butter. Forget the identity politics and instead campaign on a decent minimum wage, sick pay, stronger worker protection, some maternity leave, tax breaks for families, apprenticeships and state housing building programmes and they’d be a force amongst the working classes again

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Get real how many rich republicans want their offspring to work cheap in dirt.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It is interesting how or why the government needs to be involved in all those things you mention above for the able-bodied and able-minded. That is the root of a lot of problems.
“I have no problem with helping the helpless, but am getting tired of helping the clueless.”

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Because if the government doesn’t get involved you end up with tent cities of homeless drug addicts, young families left destitute after having children and full time workers reliant on charity and handouts in order to survive.
If you want people to take responsibility for themselves then you have to make sure the systems are in place that allow them to do so. Allowing companies to get ultra wealthy by driving their employees into poverty is no way to run a functional society

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Because if the government doesn’t get involved you end up with tent cities of homeless drug addicts, young families left destitute after having children and full time workers reliant on charity and handouts in order to survive.
If you want people to take responsibility for themselves then you have to make sure the systems are in place that allow them to do so. Allowing companies to get ultra wealthy by driving their employees into poverty is no way to run a functional society

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Get real how many rich republicans want their offspring to work cheap in dirt.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It is interesting how or why the government needs to be involved in all those things you mention above for the able-bodied and able-minded. That is the root of a lot of problems.
“I have no problem with helping the helpless, but am getting tired of helping the clueless.”

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

The left has lost its way, it needs to go back to its bread and butter. Forget the identity politics and instead campaign on a decent minimum wage, sick pay, stronger worker protection, some maternity leave, tax breaks for families, apprenticeships and state housing building programmes and they’d be a force amongst the working classes again

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
1 year ago

I’ve said it here before – I repeatedly tell young people to do a trade like electrician or plumber. You’ll always have a job, and you can laugh all the way to the bank charging big tech tycoons big money.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
1 year ago

I’ve said it here before – I repeatedly tell young people to do a trade like electrician or plumber. You’ll always have a job, and you can laugh all the way to the bank charging big tech tycoons big money.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

Ah yes, those magical job retraining programs. That was a line trotted out every offshoring binge or proposed terrible trade deal. If they even existed they were so insufficient that no one remembers them. Just another false promise and responsibility dodging excuse from Washington.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

Ah yes, those magical job retraining programs. That was a line trotted out every offshoring binge or proposed terrible trade deal. If they even existed they were so insufficient that no one remembers them. Just another false promise and responsibility dodging excuse from Washington.

Paige M
Paige M
1 year ago

I have to say that actual, productive work – where people make things feels like a balm for the soul at this juncture. The evolution into the most insane, dehumanizing cubicle/remote 0’s and 1’s work of the last decade can slide definitively into the swamp of AI. The pruning of the tech sector can’t happen fast enough.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Paige M

That’s the problem with the west – we don’t make things. Everyone works for the govt, or big tech or finance.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Except big tech does make things. This website is a thing. The journalists making it are also producing a product you have paid for using this thing.

This doesn’t mean the west should have allowed so much industry to all go to China, but that’s capitalism for ya.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago

The world can manage quite well without this website, and will.
But I challenge you to shit in a bucket without modern sanitation or plumbers, or the production engineers who make the products and tools of his trade.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Finance also produces things. I guess I should have been more specific – producing goods and extracting the resources to produce those goods.

I have no issue with the service economy. We need it. But we’ve simply abandoned other industries.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

This continual harping on capitalism is so last century. The problem isn’t capitalism, it’s globalism, which allows the elites to exploit labor and legal differences between countries.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago

The world can manage quite well without this website, and will.
But I challenge you to shit in a bucket without modern sanitation or plumbers, or the production engineers who make the products and tools of his trade.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Finance also produces things. I guess I should have been more specific – producing goods and extracting the resources to produce those goods.

I have no issue with the service economy. We need it. But we’ve simply abandoned other industries.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

This continual harping on capitalism is so last century. The problem isn’t capitalism, it’s globalism, which allows the elites to exploit labor and legal differences between countries.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Except big tech does make things. This website is a thing. The journalists making it are also producing a product you have paid for using this thing.

This doesn’t mean the west should have allowed so much industry to all go to China, but that’s capitalism for ya.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Paige M

If you don’t want the high paid, high skill tech jobs which pay a large chunk of the taxes (yes, a lot of incomes tax and NI – though not as much corporation tax as they should in the UK), companies will do the work in another country. Quite possibly relocating some of the skilled people from the UK.
It may make you feel better short term, but I doubt this is the answer.
Also, what makes you believe that “remote 1s and 0s” work is not actual, productive work ? No doubt you’ve written from some sort of tech device, designed by us “remote 1s and 0s” types. At least some of this is creative, fulfilling work. People compete to get these jobs (and are generally well paid for it). No one forces them to do it. Other jobs are available.
I’ve yet to notice anyone who decries technology who also wants to renounce their laptop and mobile phone.

Paige M
Paige M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I did remote tech work during the pandemic. It was a brutal experience. It was subpar, ineffective, and, on many occasions, utterly embarrassing in terms of what was provided to the client. To be fair, we were all just trying to do our best in a tough situation but I could hardly call it revolutionary and something I’d endorse wholeheartedly.
With ChatGPT in its first iteration, looming large over a class of people that have always assumed a certain untouchable superiority over anyone else, it might be the very first time most people are actually really thinking about what tech is doing to us or has the potential to do.
At this point is not about giving up iPhones or laptops and becoming Luddites but really thinking hard about what we are all willingly giving away in the name of progress to this world. We have terrible guardrails around all of this and as long as there is profit to be made around the next ‘disruptive’ technology, we care little for unintended consequences and forge ahead in the name of progress. If there is a pause right now, a re-thinking of all of this, we should consider it a moment of serendipity.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Paige M

We have no guard rails at all. Anymore than we have guardrails on gain of function research.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Paige M

We have no guard rails at all. Anymore than we have guardrails on gain of function research.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
Paige M
Paige M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I did remote tech work during the pandemic. It was a brutal experience. It was subpar, ineffective, and, on many occasions, utterly embarrassing in terms of what was provided to the client. To be fair, we were all just trying to do our best in a tough situation but I could hardly call it revolutionary and something I’d endorse wholeheartedly.
With ChatGPT in its first iteration, looming large over a class of people that have always assumed a certain untouchable superiority over anyone else, it might be the very first time most people are actually really thinking about what tech is doing to us or has the potential to do.
At this point is not about giving up iPhones or laptops and becoming Luddites but really thinking hard about what we are all willingly giving away in the name of progress to this world. We have terrible guardrails around all of this and as long as there is profit to be made around the next ‘disruptive’ technology, we care little for unintended consequences and forge ahead in the name of progress. If there is a pause right now, a re-thinking of all of this, we should consider it a moment of serendipity.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Paige M

That’s the problem with the west – we don’t make things. Everyone works for the govt, or big tech or finance.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Paige M

If you don’t want the high paid, high skill tech jobs which pay a large chunk of the taxes (yes, a lot of incomes tax and NI – though not as much corporation tax as they should in the UK), companies will do the work in another country. Quite possibly relocating some of the skilled people from the UK.
It may make you feel better short term, but I doubt this is the answer.
Also, what makes you believe that “remote 1s and 0s” work is not actual, productive work ? No doubt you’ve written from some sort of tech device, designed by us “remote 1s and 0s” types. At least some of this is creative, fulfilling work. People compete to get these jobs (and are generally well paid for it). No one forces them to do it. Other jobs are available.
I’ve yet to notice anyone who decries technology who also wants to renounce their laptop and mobile phone.

Paige M
Paige M
1 year ago

I have to say that actual, productive work – where people make things feels like a balm for the soul at this juncture. The evolution into the most insane, dehumanizing cubicle/remote 0’s and 1’s work of the last decade can slide definitively into the swamp of AI. The pruning of the tech sector can’t happen fast enough.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

You mean to say that the insult “Learn to Code” is old hat?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

And maybe working from home?

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

There’s an obsession with WFH amongst the crankitariat.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

There’s an obsession with WFH amongst the crankitariat.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

And maybe working from home?

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

You mean to say that the insult “Learn to Code” is old hat?

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago

“The rapid decline of Trumpism, and its transformation into a kind of weird cult” – oh really?

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago

“The rapid decline of Trumpism, and its transformation into a kind of weird cult” – oh really?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

These ideas that “the future belongs to blue collar workers” and “it’s the end of white collar knowledge work” are gross over-simplifications which rather damage an otherwise interesting and useful piece.
I think what we will see is a rebalancing between “blue” and “white” collar work – but only in some areas and not universally. My own [limited] experience is that good electricians and plumbers are always hard to find. But the same applies to many professional/white collar jobs. Whatever the state of the economy, there’s always a shortage of really good people.
So what I think we will see is increasing divergence between the best in a particular field and the average – not least because there’s a clear segment of any market (whether it’s home improvements, gardeining, cars, clothes, wine or anything else) where people are prepared to pay whatever it takes to get the best – or over 3x the average to get something they really want. People increasingly buy services – more complex products often need service and support.
So if you can establish and maintain a good reputation and deliver good (well above average) work/service and your job doesn’t get automated away by AI or outsourced somewhere cheaper (more likely for mass market, less differentiated services), I think you’ll do well.
That does not necessarily mean those jobs all need a high level of education. They do need a high level of skills, competence and trust. Not the same thing.
The fact that big tech and some banks are shedding excess labour is a direct (and largely predictable) result of over-investment and over-hiring due to artificially low interest rates making money too cheap and over-inflating tech stock prices. A correction is necessary – and welcome. But this is not at all the same thing as tech being in secular decline – it is not.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

By far the best analysis of this issue, including the article itself.

Writers often overstate their case to attract atention, whereas a balanced view probably wouldn’t get published.

Paige M
Paige M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I think we are also underestimating the impact of flattening hierarchies and crushing merit to accomplish progressive agendas. Tech, finance, the Academy are flush with overcompensated HR and admin roles stuffing social engineering down people’s throats and intent on establishing a homogenous monolith of brainwashed workers. It’s the adoption of a political agenda by the tech sector that is ultimately leading them into decline. Ensuring all people think in the same way kills ingenuity and growth.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Paige M

Where is the evidence that the tech sector is in decline ? Beyond the current correction, I just don’t see it.
Have you worked in the tech sector ? My experience is that tech people are pretty independent thinkers and don’t take well to being manipulated or told what to think. I think accusing the tech sector of a lack of ingenuity and growth is rather odd – it’s constantly innovating and creating new products and services. We may not like them all. But this charge doesn’t ring true to me.

Paige M
Paige M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I guess the ultimate question for me is what is it producing that we actually need? It gets a passing grade all the time because it has the veneer of innovation and high valuations but what is it really doing? I held out huge hope that AI and data science when applied to the Covid pandemic would leapfrog mankind into a new age of humanistic problem solving. Our response couldn’t have been worse. The modelling was a disaster. Far from uniting us into a shared goal of tackling a global pandemic, it tore us apart at every turn. It’s a long, complex topic. Did the laptop class or actual people, doing actual real day to day stuff keep the world spinning during Covid? Tech workers are well over 90% left in their political leanings. Sorry I can’t share your optimism of the tech sector. It needs a massive haircut and a realignment of values.

Paige M
Paige M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I guess the ultimate question for me is what is it producing that we actually need? It gets a passing grade all the time because it has the veneer of innovation and high valuations but what is it really doing? I held out huge hope that AI and data science when applied to the Covid pandemic would leapfrog mankind into a new age of humanistic problem solving. Our response couldn’t have been worse. The modelling was a disaster. Far from uniting us into a shared goal of tackling a global pandemic, it tore us apart at every turn. It’s a long, complex topic. Did the laptop class or actual people, doing actual real day to day stuff keep the world spinning during Covid? Tech workers are well over 90% left in their political leanings. Sorry I can’t share your optimism of the tech sector. It needs a massive haircut and a realignment of values.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Paige M

Where is the evidence that the tech sector is in decline ? Beyond the current correction, I just don’t see it.
Have you worked in the tech sector ? My experience is that tech people are pretty independent thinkers and don’t take well to being manipulated or told what to think. I think accusing the tech sector of a lack of ingenuity and growth is rather odd – it’s constantly innovating and creating new products and services. We may not like them all. But this charge doesn’t ring true to me.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Excellent analysis. We need a balance for sure.

I’ll just relate a little anecdote. When I went to university in the early ‘90s in Canada, the economic mantra of the day was we had to shift away from being “the hewers of wood.”

Canada needed to move beyond a resource extraction economy. All the value-added profit was upstream. So we’ve largely abandoned resource development here – or we’re in the process of still doing it.

Turns out the value-added can and will be done anywhere with the cheapest labour. What can’t be shifted to cheap labour markets is the actual deposits of oil, minerals and other resources.

So Canada abandons its competitive advantages to chase industries everyone else in the world is chasing.

There needs to be balance.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I rather envy Canada. Leaving aside the current leader, it seems to have everything – vast natural resources (oil, gas, metals, wood, farmland – pretty much everything), a well educated population, decent healthcare, stable democracy.
Also, I think not all these resource jobs are low paid – some of the oil and mining jobs are pretty well paid (if you can take the lifestyle).

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

We are very blessed in Canada – widen open spaces, fresh water, abundant arable land and resources. It would take a Herculean effort to screw it up, but Trudeau is trying his best.

And yes, those resource extraction jobs are very high paying. Lots of young men not suited to post-secondary education can carve out thriving careers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Veenbaas
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

From what I hear, the healthcare is only decent if you’re healthy.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

We are very blessed in Canada – widen open spaces, fresh water, abundant arable land and resources. It would take a Herculean effort to screw it up, but Trudeau is trying his best.

And yes, those resource extraction jobs are very high paying. Lots of young men not suited to post-secondary education can carve out thriving careers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Veenbaas
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

From what I hear, the healthcare is only decent if you’re healthy.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I rather envy Canada. Leaving aside the current leader, it seems to have everything – vast natural resources (oil, gas, metals, wood, farmland – pretty much everything), a well educated population, decent healthcare, stable democracy.
Also, I think not all these resource jobs are low paid – some of the oil and mining jobs are pretty well paid (if you can take the lifestyle).

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

By far the best analysis of this issue, including the article itself.

Writers often overstate their case to attract atention, whereas a balanced view probably wouldn’t get published.

Paige M
Paige M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I think we are also underestimating the impact of flattening hierarchies and crushing merit to accomplish progressive agendas. Tech, finance, the Academy are flush with overcompensated HR and admin roles stuffing social engineering down people’s throats and intent on establishing a homogenous monolith of brainwashed workers. It’s the adoption of a political agenda by the tech sector that is ultimately leading them into decline. Ensuring all people think in the same way kills ingenuity and growth.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Excellent analysis. We need a balance for sure.

I’ll just relate a little anecdote. When I went to university in the early ‘90s in Canada, the economic mantra of the day was we had to shift away from being “the hewers of wood.”

Canada needed to move beyond a resource extraction economy. All the value-added profit was upstream. So we’ve largely abandoned resource development here – or we’re in the process of still doing it.

Turns out the value-added can and will be done anywhere with the cheapest labour. What can’t be shifted to cheap labour markets is the actual deposits of oil, minerals and other resources.

So Canada abandons its competitive advantages to chase industries everyone else in the world is chasing.

There needs to be balance.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

These ideas that “the future belongs to blue collar workers” and “it’s the end of white collar knowledge work” are gross over-simplifications which rather damage an otherwise interesting and useful piece.
I think what we will see is a rebalancing between “blue” and “white” collar work – but only in some areas and not universally. My own [limited] experience is that good electricians and plumbers are always hard to find. But the same applies to many professional/white collar jobs. Whatever the state of the economy, there’s always a shortage of really good people.
So what I think we will see is increasing divergence between the best in a particular field and the average – not least because there’s a clear segment of any market (whether it’s home improvements, gardeining, cars, clothes, wine or anything else) where people are prepared to pay whatever it takes to get the best – or over 3x the average to get something they really want. People increasingly buy services – more complex products often need service and support.
So if you can establish and maintain a good reputation and deliver good (well above average) work/service and your job doesn’t get automated away by AI or outsourced somewhere cheaper (more likely for mass market, less differentiated services), I think you’ll do well.
That does not necessarily mean those jobs all need a high level of education. They do need a high level of skills, competence and trust. Not the same thing.
The fact that big tech and some banks are shedding excess labour is a direct (and largely predictable) result of over-investment and over-hiring due to artificially low interest rates making money too cheap and over-inflating tech stock prices. A correction is necessary – and welcome. But this is not at all the same thing as tech being in secular decline – it is not.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 year ago

Where will the urgency of trans-women to access female- only spaces fit on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as we are forced to adjust to the essentials of life?

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 year ago

Where will the urgency of trans-women to access female- only spaces fit on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as we are forced to adjust to the essentials of life?

Daniel P
Daniel P
1 year ago

It is a whole lot easier to find a lawyer than it is to find a really good plumber.
Try to find a knowledgable auto mechanic you do not have to wait 2 weeks for.

Daniel P
Daniel P
1 year ago

It is a whole lot easier to find a lawyer than it is to find a really good plumber.
Try to find a knowledgable auto mechanic you do not have to wait 2 weeks for.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago

“ In flush years, these oligarchs could afford elaborate welfare and climate policies to flourish, even at their considerable expense”

Where considerable expense means ~8% tax.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago

“ In flush years, these oligarchs could afford elaborate welfare and climate policies to flourish, even at their considerable expense”

Where considerable expense means ~8% tax.

peter worthington
peter worthington
1 year ago

Medicare for All is the single most important policy that needs to be implemented to allow the “blue collar” entrepreneur to thrive.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

That might work in some small Scandinavian countries, but rather impossible in countries with 300 million residents and open borders, regardless of the tax rate.

Mike Tiernan
Mike Tiernan
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It also works in most medium sized European countries. It would be more difficult in USA but could be done if there was a will for it. They say ”where there’s a will there’s a way”, but the corollary is ”you can have ten ways but if there’s no will they’re as good as useless”. Unfortunately, and ultimately more importantly, the same is true for our half hearted fight against climate change, where many of the ways are mentioned but a few important ones are even taboo to mention.

Mike Tiernan
Mike Tiernan
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It also works in most medium sized European countries. It would be more difficult in USA but could be done if there was a will for it. They say ”where there’s a will there’s a way”, but the corollary is ”you can have ten ways but if there’s no will they’re as good as useless”. Unfortunately, and ultimately more importantly, the same is true for our half hearted fight against climate change, where many of the ways are mentioned but a few important ones are even taboo to mention.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

That might work in some small Scandinavian countries, but rather impossible in countries with 300 million residents and open borders, regardless of the tax rate.

peter worthington
peter worthington
1 year ago

Medicare for All is the single most important policy that needs to be implemented to allow the “blue collar” entrepreneur to thrive.

Ben M
Ben M
1 year ago

A couple of years ago – well pre-covid – I would have thought this an excellent article and it would have given me hope. But in tracking why we responded in such a basket case way to the virus I have been led to WEF, WHO (now hollowed out re its original function), UN (ditto) , global public-private partnerships (all big tech linked to CDC NIH etc), CBDCs (central bank digital currencies – coming initially in the guise of convenience perhaps connected to UBI when inflation / lack of purchasing power / our acceptance of bizarre responses to climate change ), the hollowing out of the family as a bulwark against our direction of travel. All sponsored by philanthropy , which is anything but (George Soros Open Society, BMGF, Effective Altruism etc) with more and more assets in the hands of Blackrock, Vanguard etc.
I hope, and pray, I am wrong…

Ben M
Ben M
1 year ago

A couple of years ago – well pre-covid – I would have thought this an excellent article and it would have given me hope. But in tracking why we responded in such a basket case way to the virus I have been led to WEF, WHO (now hollowed out re its original function), UN (ditto) , global public-private partnerships (all big tech linked to CDC NIH etc), CBDCs (central bank digital currencies – coming initially in the guise of convenience perhaps connected to UBI when inflation / lack of purchasing power / our acceptance of bizarre responses to climate change ), the hollowing out of the family as a bulwark against our direction of travel. All sponsored by philanthropy , which is anything but (George Soros Open Society, BMGF, Effective Altruism etc) with more and more assets in the hands of Blackrock, Vanguard etc.
I hope, and pray, I am wrong…

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago

The silly ultra-progressivism of today was a reaction in the aftermath of Sanders’ near win, to deflect exactly what’s happening today: the rise of organised labour demanding a welfare state. In characteristic fashion, instead of conceding what was reasonable to do, the American elite mounted a massive battle to shift the axis of public discussion from economic to cultural issues.
I might’ve said the brains of the Democrats are too fried to come up with any credible leadership. But then I see Keir Starmer pulling off the nearly impossible and bringing cool headed leadership to Labour. Looking at him, you’d think he’s a Tory that walked into the Labour hq by mistake. Seeing that he got elected to lead Labour may show the way forward for American politics.
Judging by the strikes, and how Tory leadership doesn’t seem to have what it takes to stop them, I suspect we’re headed towards a great levelling with labour getting an increasingly larger share of the income. Gini index for the UK peaks at 2000 which is probably also the time for peak globalisation. It’s been declining since then, and today we’re half way down to 1979 levels.

Mike Tiernan
Mike Tiernan
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Inequality has been increasing almost everywhere, but the USA and UK are the two worst offenders in the allegedly ”developed world”. The Gini index has long been applied to many nations, but a more recent measure, the Palma Ratio, is more sensitive at highlighting the extremes of this trend. It was developed only in 2013 and has not yet been applied as widely as Gini, but it shows basically the same picture. It’s not yet been applied to most of Africa, South America and Asia (apart from Japan,Taiwan, Turkey and Russia). UK is one of the two worst in Europe, and is in a broad band with USA, Chile, Turkey, Bulgaria Mexico and South Africa. This shows that the terms ”weathy country” and ”5th biggest economy in the world” ring rather hollow in terms of human wellbeing.
https://unherd.com/2023/01/the-collapse-of-the-progressive-economy/?tl_inbound=1&tl_groups%5B0%5D=18743&tl_period_type=3&mc_cid=2fb806ac7b&mc_eid=581cddd909

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Tiernan

Or could it just be that in economies with a lot of professional services (certainly the UK – finance, law, accountancy, consulting, software, tech, …) the pay ratio between best and average is simply naturally wider than it is for manufacturing, agricultural or less differentiated service jobs ? Are we really making an apples-to-apples comparison with this Gini metric ?
There is also a noticable trend in the UK – while productivity overall is reported as stagnating, I do not believe this is uniform and that it is continually rising in technology industries. So the workforce segements into a smaller group of higher productivity workers and a larger group os lower productivity ones. It would be no surprise in this case if the pay ratio increased to reflect the productivity divergence (and not necessarily a bad thing if it did – or don’t we want at least some high value, higher paid jobs ?).

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Tiernan

Well, in my opinion, today’s “inequality” still beats how life was in feudal society. At least the masses now have an opportunity to improve their lot in life vs. being relegated to serfdom for generations. In America, the poorest people in society own smart phones, color TV’s and order food that is delivered to their doorstep via an app. They even have access to world-class healthcare absolutely free of charge if they enter an emergency room. I don’t believe the poor have ever had it so good throughout history.
Obviously there is always room for improvement, but is equality of outcome really a plausible or desirable goal in a free society?

Mike Tiernan
Mike Tiernan
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Neither I nor even the Scandinavians are advocating equality of outcomes, so why imply that? We’re advocating, and Scandinavia largely implements, a tempering of the extremes, which tends to make for an overall healthier society. I agree, on average the poor in first and second world countries are much better off than in feudal times, though I’m not sure that’s true in some 3rd world countries. To clear up some of my UK ignorance of the USA healthcare system, what happens to a poor person after the ER has attended to their immediate presenting problem? How much mdically necessary follow up would they get?

Mike Tiernan
Mike Tiernan
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Neither I nor even the Scandinavians are advocating equality of outcomes, so why imply that? We’re advocating, and Scandinavia largely implements, a tempering of the extremes, which tends to make for an overall healthier society. I agree, on average the poor in first and second world countries are much better off than in feudal times, though I’m not sure that’s true in some 3rd world countries. To clear up some of my UK ignorance of the USA healthcare system, what happens to a poor person after the ER has attended to their immediate presenting problem? How much mdically necessary follow up would they get?

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Tiernan

Just to be clear, inequality has been on a decreasing trend since the year 2000. The most equal it was in recent memory was in the 70s, and while there were good things about that decade, I wouldn’t call it a very good time. While extreme inequality probably points to a problem, I wouldn’t make a reverse claim that pursuit perfect income equality is a good thing. Those who tried to bring it about ended up being the biggest killers history has ever known.

Mike Tiernan
Mike Tiernan
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Nobody, even the Scandinavians, is advocating for complete income equality or anything very close to it. That’s a Straw Man argument instead of a nuanced difference of opinion. If extreme inequality ”points to a problem”, shouldn’t governments in countries that consider themselves developed beacons of democracy be trying to do something about it instead of paying lip service to it? It’s no coincidence that the two worst ”developed” countries in this respect (USA and UK) are both staunchly opposed to any form of proportional representation. This means means millions of votes are wasted and trust in politicians is very low
Apologies to anyone who read my original post – I accidentally copied the wrong link. Here is the correct link about the Palma Ratio as more sophisticated than the Gini Index.
https://www.investopedia.com/news/measuring-inequality-forget-gini-go-palma/

Mike Tiernan
Mike Tiernan
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Nobody, even the Scandinavians, is advocating for complete income equality or anything very close to it. That’s a Straw Man argument instead of a nuanced difference of opinion. If extreme inequality ”points to a problem”, shouldn’t governments in countries that consider themselves developed beacons of democracy be trying to do something about it instead of paying lip service to it? It’s no coincidence that the two worst ”developed” countries in this respect (USA and UK) are both staunchly opposed to any form of proportional representation. This means means millions of votes are wasted and trust in politicians is very low
Apologies to anyone who read my original post – I accidentally copied the wrong link. Here is the correct link about the Palma Ratio as more sophisticated than the Gini Index.
https://www.investopedia.com/news/measuring-inequality-forget-gini-go-palma/

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Tiernan

Or could it just be that in economies with a lot of professional services (certainly the UK – finance, law, accountancy, consulting, software, tech, …) the pay ratio between best and average is simply naturally wider than it is for manufacturing, agricultural or less differentiated service jobs ? Are we really making an apples-to-apples comparison with this Gini metric ?
There is also a noticable trend in the UK – while productivity overall is reported as stagnating, I do not believe this is uniform and that it is continually rising in technology industries. So the workforce segements into a smaller group of higher productivity workers and a larger group os lower productivity ones. It would be no surprise in this case if the pay ratio increased to reflect the productivity divergence (and not necessarily a bad thing if it did – or don’t we want at least some high value, higher paid jobs ?).

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Tiernan

Well, in my opinion, today’s “inequality” still beats how life was in feudal society. At least the masses now have an opportunity to improve their lot in life vs. being relegated to serfdom for generations. In America, the poorest people in society own smart phones, color TV’s and order food that is delivered to their doorstep via an app. They even have access to world-class healthcare absolutely free of charge if they enter an emergency room. I don’t believe the poor have ever had it so good throughout history.
Obviously there is always room for improvement, but is equality of outcome really a plausible or desirable goal in a free society?

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Tiernan

Just to be clear, inequality has been on a decreasing trend since the year 2000. The most equal it was in recent memory was in the 70s, and while there were good things about that decade, I wouldn’t call it a very good time. While extreme inequality probably points to a problem, I wouldn’t make a reverse claim that pursuit perfect income equality is a good thing. Those who tried to bring it about ended up being the biggest killers history has ever known.

Mike Tiernan
Mike Tiernan
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Inequality has been increasing almost everywhere, but the USA and UK are the two worst offenders in the allegedly ”developed world”. The Gini index has long been applied to many nations, but a more recent measure, the Palma Ratio, is more sensitive at highlighting the extremes of this trend. It was developed only in 2013 and has not yet been applied as widely as Gini, but it shows basically the same picture. It’s not yet been applied to most of Africa, South America and Asia (apart from Japan,Taiwan, Turkey and Russia). UK is one of the two worst in Europe, and is in a broad band with USA, Chile, Turkey, Bulgaria Mexico and South Africa. This shows that the terms ”weathy country” and ”5th biggest economy in the world” ring rather hollow in terms of human wellbeing.
https://unherd.com/2023/01/the-collapse-of-the-progressive-economy/?tl_inbound=1&tl_groups%5B0%5D=18743&tl_period_type=3&mc_cid=2fb806ac7b&mc_eid=581cddd909

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago

The silly ultra-progressivism of today was a reaction in the aftermath of Sanders’ near win, to deflect exactly what’s happening today: the rise of organised labour demanding a welfare state. In characteristic fashion, instead of conceding what was reasonable to do, the American elite mounted a massive battle to shift the axis of public discussion from economic to cultural issues.
I might’ve said the brains of the Democrats are too fried to come up with any credible leadership. But then I see Keir Starmer pulling off the nearly impossible and bringing cool headed leadership to Labour. Looking at him, you’d think he’s a Tory that walked into the Labour hq by mistake. Seeing that he got elected to lead Labour may show the way forward for American politics.
Judging by the strikes, and how Tory leadership doesn’t seem to have what it takes to stop them, I suspect we’re headed towards a great levelling with labour getting an increasingly larger share of the income. Gini index for the UK peaks at 2000 which is probably also the time for peak globalisation. It’s been declining since then, and today we’re half way down to 1979 levels.

mealing84
mealing84
1 year ago

Does this bloke realise we aren’t American?

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago
Reply to  mealing84

Yes we are 🙂

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  mealing84

Does you not realize there is a large non-UK readership here?

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago
Reply to  mealing84

Yes we are 🙂

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  mealing84

Does you not realize there is a large non-UK readership here?

mealing84
mealing84
1 year ago

Does this bloke realise we aren’t American?

Luke Landtroop
Luke Landtroop
1 year ago

The author cites as evidence the uptick in organized labor action as a sign of the disintegration of the white-collar “progressive economy” and a split between wealthy liberals and grassroots ‘left’ activists and on that point he’s on solid ground. But he implicitly poses a false choice between increased training for blue-collar workers and more expansive “top-down” welfare programs, which, in fact, non-white-collar workers are likely to support. Much of the current move towards labor organization is happening in the “unskilled” service sector, where workers are likely to support very progressive taxation schemes and universal healthcare as well as workplace organization.

Luke Landtroop
Luke Landtroop
1 year ago

The author cites as evidence the uptick in organized labor action as a sign of the disintegration of the white-collar “progressive economy” and a split between wealthy liberals and grassroots ‘left’ activists and on that point he’s on solid ground. But he implicitly poses a false choice between increased training for blue-collar workers and more expansive “top-down” welfare programs, which, in fact, non-white-collar workers are likely to support. Much of the current move towards labor organization is happening in the “unskilled” service sector, where workers are likely to support very progressive taxation schemes and universal healthcare as well as workplace organization.