Download The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future PDF

TitleThe Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future
File Size1.3 MB
Total Pages261
Table of Contents
                            THE LIGHTS IN
				Martin Ford
	Chapter 1
		The Mass Market
		Visualizing the Mass Market
		Automation Comes to the Tunnel
		A Reality Check
	Chapter 2
		The Rich Get Richer
		World Computational Capability
		Grid and Cloud Computing
		Diminishing Returns
		Offshoring and Drive-Through Banking
		Short Lived Jobs
		Traditional Jobs: The “Average” Lights in the Tunnel
		A Tale of Two Jobs
		“Software” Jobs and Artificial Intelligence
		Automation, Offshoring and Small Business
		“Hardware” Jobs and Robotics
		“Interface” Jobs
		The Next “Killer App”
		Military Robotics
		Robotics and Offshoring
		Nanotechnology and its Impact on Employment
		The Future of College Education
		Econometrics: Looking Backward
		The Luddite Fallacy
		A More Ambitious View of Future Technological Progress: The Singularity
		A War on Technology
	Chapter 3
		The Predictive Nature of Markets
		The 2008-2009 Recession
		Offshoring and Factory Migration
		Reconsidering Conventional Views about the Future
		The China Fallacy
		The Future of Manufacturing
		India and Offshoring
		Economic and National Security Implications for the United States
		Labor and Capital Intensive Industries: The Tipping Point
		The Average Worker and the Average Machine
		Capital Intensive Industries are “Free Riders”
		The Problem with Payroll Taxes
		The “Workerless” Payroll Tax
		“Progressive” Wage Deductions
		Defeating the Lobbyists
		A More Conventional View of the Future
		The Risk of Inaction
	Chapter 4
		The Basis of the Free Market Economy: Incentives
		Preserving the Market
		Recapturing Wages
				Unit Cost Breakdown for a Hypothetical Product or Service
		Positive Aspects of Jobs
		The Power of Inequality
		Where the Free Market Fails: Externalities
		Creating a Virtual Job
			Community and Civic Activities
			The Environment and other Externalities
			Setting the Incentives
		Smoothing the Business Cycle and Reducing Economic Risk
		The Market Economy of the Future
		An International View
		Transitioning to the New Model
		Keynesian Grandchildren
		Transition in the Tunnel
	Chapter 5
		Attacking Poverty
		Fundamental Economic Constraints
			Energy, Land, Natural Resources and Environmental Impact
			Consumer Demand
		Removing the Constraints
		The Evolution toward Consumption
		The Green Light
		Are the ideas presented in this book WRONG?   (Opposing arguments with responses)
		Two Questions Worth Thinking About
		Where are we now? Four Possible Cases
		The Next 10-20 years: Some Indicators to Watch For
			Labor intensive areas of the economy begin to see increased automation
			New technology industries fail to create significant numbers of jobs
			Diminishing prospects for college graduates
			Systemic unemployment invades the economy
			Increasingly bad news for entitlement and retirement programs
			Trouble in China
			Continuing Instability in the Financial Markets
			Ugly and irrational political battles
		Outsmarting Marx
		The Technology Paradox
		Machine Intelligence and the Turing Test
	About / Contacting the Author
Document Text Contents
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while at the same time, a relatively smaller number of
younger workers will be available to buy those assets. The
obvious result is that asset values of nearly all types are
likely to fall under the duress of this lopsided selling pres-
sure. A number of people—including Alan Greenspan in
his book The Age of Turbulence—have suggested that the
solution to this problem is going to be huge numbers of
newly wealthy young workers from China, India and other
developing nations who will step forward to buy our as-
sets. As we have seen, that might not be such a good bet.

The reality is that the idea of this tremendous new
market resulting from an exploding Chinese middle class is
something of a mirage. The Chinese middle class is not an
independent market. These people are essentially standing
on the shoulders of American and European consumers.
And as we have noted again and again in this book, those
Western consumers all depend on jobs. If automation be-
gins to dramatically impact employment in China, while at
the same time demand dwindles in the West—and certain-
ly if the catastrophic event described at the beginning of
this chapter occurs—then this economic perpetual motion
machine is going to collapse.

Given all this, what can we really say about the future
of China? Nearly a fourth of the world’s population lives
in China; therefore, there is no doubt that this country will
continue to have significant, and perhaps increasing, influ-
ence in the decades to come. However, simply extrapolat-
ing current trends is very unlikely to give an accurate pro-
jection. China is going to be heavily impacted by accelerat-
ing technology, and its future—along with the future of

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