An article by Ed Hess in the Washington Post highlights just how bad are the economic prospects of the Trump demographic.
What [Trump] hasn’t yet addressed — but should — is the looming technology tsunami that will hit the U.S. job market over the next five to 15 years and likely destroy tens of millions of jobs due to automation by artificial intelligence, 3-D manufacturing, advanced robotics and driverless vehicles — among other emerging technologies. The best research to date indicates that 47 percent of all U.S. jobs are likely to be replaced by technology over the next 10 to 15 years, more than 80 million in all, according to the Bank of England.
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Jobs at risk include a diverse range of service and professional positions. Retail and fast-food jobs will be almost entirely automated. Manual laborers and construction workers will be replaced by robots; long-haul truck drivers by self-driving trucks; accountants, clerks, paralegals, telemarketers and customer-service reps by artificial intelligence; and security guards by robots and drones. Even professionals in the fields of accounting, law, finance, consulting, journalism and medicine are at risk of losing their jobs to smart machines.
What jobs will be secure? Well, that will change as technology advances. For now, the consensus is that humans will be needed to perform those tasks that require higher-order critical thinking, innovation, creativity, high emotional engagement with other humans and trade skills requiring real-time problem-solving and manual dexterity. Humans will need to excel at doing those things that are, for now, uniquely human. Good will no longer be good enough.
The paper points out that the idea that there will be replacement jobs, particularly that are doable by those displaced, is simply unrealistic.
Now, that is bad enough by the total numbers.. But think about who does the jobs that will disappear. They are held by the Trump demographic, less educated, less mobile, and more comfortable with a doing what you are told point of view.
So, those doing well in the job market, or at least some of them, will do better and better. But those who are already scared will be dead-ended at the very best.
There is moreover, a gender and race component that lines up with future unemployability. The long-term secure jobs require either creativity or high emotional engagement. I think that the white male demographic tends more to have less capacity for emotional engagement, perhaps because those not in that demographic have needed in the past to be more flexible and better people connectors to survive. Let’s assume that there will continue to be personal care jobs that involve a lot of human sympathy. Do you think that the Typical male Trump voter is going to be well at that job interview?
If our economic policy focuses on trade as the problem, we are likely to accelerate the disappearance of the doomed jobs. Companies will simply automate faster to keep costs down if they are not allowed to important labor intensive components. Once committed to, that automation will move up the skill level, removing even more jobs, and US jobs at that.
So economic policy has to go beyond protectionism, and even beyond helping blue collar workers, to re envisioning the whole labor structure of the economy and educational systems, and perhaps our conception of “maleness.”