What’s Facebook, Gmail and Apple got to do with the U.S. economy?TechCrunch recently asked the authors of Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy, a new book that explores the gaping divide between the have and have nots, and what they had to say just might surprise you.
Though consumers have come to rely on and even admire the revolutionary social network and Apple’s iPad, for example, while “creating tremendous amounts of wealth and making workers more efficient,” such digital innovations have actually hurt the middle class and slammed the brakes on its economic growth, co-authors and MIT professors Andrew McAfee and Eric Brynjolfsson explained to Andrew Keen in a Techonomy video.
“Technology is creating immense amounts of wealth. It’s boosting the pie and making the wealth bigger, but … in the past 10 or 20 years, there have been some huge winners, with billionaires, literally, and the top 1% has done fabulously well. On the other hand, the remaining 99% and really the bottom 50% in particular, have stagnated … and some have been made even worse off.“
Brynjolfsson found the digital boom resulted in a drop-off in jobs, particularly among those median income workers in the information processing and blue collar sectors. And unlike in the Industrial Revolution, when agriculture was pushed out to make way for mass production, the tech boom cuts across “virtually every sector in the economy,” say the co-authors, creating the striking job imbalance and wealth disparity so many Americans are feeling right now.
The solution, says Brynjolfsson, is to ramp up entrepreneurship and providing the basic skillset needed to succeed in a digital world, perhaps in the same way North Dakota boosted its jobs market with training and community partnerships.
Read the original interview on TechCrunch and watch the the TechCrunch interview below:
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