Is Digital Technology Destroying The Middle Class?

ISBN: 1451654979

Who Owns The Future is a book that describes how advancing computer technology is centralizing power and wealth into the hands of those who own a network that has the comparative information advantage of having millions of its users essentially work for free. Every time you use Facebook or Google, you provide the company with valuable information that helps it increase its revenues while you forgo payment in exchange for receiving validation, executing searches, or having a place to store your photos. The author explains this more clearly:

In the past, power and influence were gained by controlling something that people needed, such as oil or transportation routes. Now to be powerful can mean having information superiority, as computed by the most effective computer on a network. In most cases, this means the biggest and most connected computer…


The only way to sell a loss of freedom, so that people will accept it voluntarily, is by making it look like a great bargain at first. Consumers were offered free stuff (such as web searches and social networking) in exchange for acquiescing to being spied upon. The only power a consumer has is to look for a better deal. The only way to say no to that deal is to transcend the role of consumer once in a while.

To be free is to have a zone around you that is private, where you can be with your own thoughts, your own experiments, for a time, between confrontations with the larger world. When you are wearing sensors on your body all the time, such as the GPS and camera on your smartphone, and constantly piping data to a megacomputer owned by a corporation that is paid by “advertisers” to subtly manipulate you by tweaking the options immediately available to you, you gradually become less free.


Instagram isn’t worth a billion dollars just because those thirteen employees are extraordinary. Instead, its value comes from the millions of users who contribute to the network without being paid for it. Networks need a great number of people to participate in them to generate significant value. But when they have them, only a small number of people get paid. That has the net effect of centralizing wealth and limiting overall economic growth.

The author, Jaron Lanier, asserts that the digital economy is destroying the middle class, and that we may have passed the point where increasing technology increases our standard of living. Everyone has access to photography in their pocket, but now what a few dozen people can do while employed at Instagram has replaced over a hundred thousand middle class jobs at Kodak while cheap labor in Asian factories construct the camera sensors.

The winner-take-all distribution we see in the internet world occurs in dating too. Elite men can now broadcast their value to larger pools of women using dating sites and internet apps, giving them access to women who would have not been able to meet these men in the past. The men who are not elite, like a Kodak employee, will find himself with no options. The non-elite men who don’t go through great pains to increase their value will simply not procreate, because today’s woman has been trained to score the most valuable man she could possibly get through extended experimentation that may last well over a decade, now with the aid of technology.

The fatal conundrum of a hyperefficient market optimized to yield star-system results is that it will not create enough of a middle class to support a real market dynamic. A market economy cannot thrive absent the well-being of average people, even in a gilded age. Gilding cannot float. It must reside on a substrate. Factories must have multitudes of customers. Banks must have multitudes of reliable borrowers.


The peasant’s dilemma is that there’s no buffer. A musician who is sick or old, or who has a sick kid, cannot perform and cannot earn. A few musicians, a very tiny number indeed, will do well, but even the most successful real-time-only careers can fall apart suddenly because of a spate of bad luck. Real life cannot avoid those spates, so eventually almost everyone living a real-time economic life falls on hard times.

This winner-take-all phenomenon is beginning to dominate every facet of human life as digital technology breaks down the barriers and levees that sustained the middle class (e.g., unions, academic tenure, taxi medallions, business licenses, etc), however inefficient they were.

If network technology is supposed to be so good for everyone, why has the developed world suffered so much just as the technology has become widespread? Why was there so much economic pain at once all over the developed world just as computer networking dug in to every aspect of human activity, in the early 21st century? Was it a coincidence?


…the Siren Servers [Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc.] channel much of the productivity of ordinary people into an informal economy of barter and reputation, while concentrating the extracted old-fashioned wealth for themselves. All activity that takes place over digital networks becomes subject to arbitrage , in the sense that risk is routed to whoever suffers lesser computation resources.


The primary business of digital networking has come to be the creation of ultrasecret mega-dossiers about what others are doing, and using this information to concentrate money and power. It doesn’t matter whether the concentration is called a social network, an insurance company, a derivatives fund, a search engine, or an online store. It’s all fundamentally the same. Whatever the intent might have been , the result is a wielding of digital technology against the future of the middle class.


Great fortunes are being made on shrinking the economy instead of growing it. It’s not a result of some evil scheme, but a side effect of an idiotic elevation of the fantasy that technology is getting smart and standing on its own, without people.


It seems as though online services are bringing bargains to everyone, and yet wealth disparity is increasing while social mobility is decreasing. If everyone were getting better options, wouldn’t everyone be doing better as well?

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Whatever benefit we get from technology now will have a cost, either upon ourselves or others:

The initial benefits don’t remotely balance the long-term degradations. Initially you made some money day trading or getting an insanely easy loan, or saved some money couch-surfing or by using coupons from an Internet site, but then came the pink slip, the eviction notice, and the halving of your savings when the market drooped. Or you loved getting music for free, but then realized that you couldn’t pursue a music career yourself because there were hardly any middle-class, secure jobs left in what was once the music industry. Maybe you loved the supercheap prices at your favorite store, but then noticed that the factory you might have worked for closed up for good.


In what sense is becoming dependent on private spy agencies crossed with ad agencies, which are licensed by us to spy on all of us all the time in order to accumulate billions of dollars by manipulating what’s put in front of us over supposedly open and public networks, a way of defeating elites? And yet that is precisely what the “free” model has meant.


The CEOs will gather at the golf resort and talk about a core financial problem: In the long term the economy will start to shrink if they keep on making it “efficient” only from the point of view of central servers. At the end of that line there will eventually be too little economy to support even CEOs. How about instead growing the economy?

Technological efficiencies slightly lower the cost for all but put a significant percentage out of jobs. In the past, new technology would create as many jobs as it destroyed while improving everyone’s standard of living, but are we seeing that now with the internet? It’s great that everyone can afford an iphone which contains a camera and internet access, but is that going to put food on the table and contribute to the economy? Silicon Valley is doing well, but how about everyone else?

The wide adoption of transformative connecting technology should create a middle-class wealth boom, as happened when the Interstate Highway System gave rise to a world of new jobs in transportation and tourism, for instance , and generally widened commercial prospects. Instead we’ve seen recession, unemployment, and austerity.

There’s also the privacy issue—our information is being used as currency by the technological elite.

A related trend of our times is that troves of dossiers on the private lives and inner beings of ordinary people, collected over digital networks, are packaged into a new private form of elite money. The actual data in these troves need not be valid. In fact, it might be better that it is not valid, for actual knowledge brings liabilities. But the pretense that we have a bundle of other people’s secrets is functioning like fine modern art. It is a new kind of security that the rich trade in, and the value is naturally driven up. It becomes a giant-scale levee inaccessible to ordinary people.


Big human data, that vase-shaped gap, is the arbiter of influence and power in our times. Finance is no longer about the case-by-case judgment of financiers, but about how good they are at locking in the best big-data scientists and technologists into exclusive contracts.

Inadvertently, this book tells you how to make money in the digital age: become a siren server. Construct a service people want to use for free, register users, collect their information, analyze their usage, and then provide them with ultra-targeted advertising.

Lanier’s solution to this problem is for companies to pay its users if the information it gets from them is providing the company with revenue. Since Google makes money when you use its products, they should actually pay you every time you do a search. Facebook should pay you if liking several pages improves their algorithm that targets users with ads. Youtube’s system is close to what Lanier proposes, since through their partner program you get paid for views on videos that you upload.

In a humanistic information economy, as people age, they will collect royalties on value they brought into the world when they were younger.


The proposal here is not redistributionist or socialist. Royalties based on creative contributions from a whole lifetime would always be flowing freshly. It would be wealth earned, not entitlement.

Thanks to this book I have finally realized what a “disruptive” technology is—it’s simply a technology that destroys more jobs than it creates, concentrating wealth and power in a few hands, invariably located in Silicon Valley, under the guise of efficiency and ease.

This book has powerful ideas but loses gas after the first half and simply repeats concepts. It seemed like the first 100 pages was the book proposal and then the rest was an afterthought to fill up space. Nonetheless, the insights it provides is powerful and has changed how I see the technological “progress” that is being forced upon us all. It gets a recommendation from me.

Read More: “Who Owns The Future” on Amazon

164 thoughts on “Is Digital Technology Destroying The Middle Class?”

  1. “The internet may be causing more harm than good”.
    The internet is the last hope for Humanity, Roosh. Internet = Good, Cell Phones = Bad.
    Jobs would be lost without technological advancements, regardless. The spread of information is, along with the 2nd amendment in the USA, is our last defense against the elites.
    Seriously dude, wtf?

    1. The internet is a massive communication network. Technology travels like a ripple- in all directions. You can’t expect to have the internet without smart phones to access it.

      1. Sure you can. Ever notice the difference in the sizes between a desktop monitor and a cell phone screen? Ever notice that it’s better to browse the internet while sitting down in a chair than walking around in public? The internet was just fine without “smart”phones before 2007. Lolz.

        1. Technological developments have corollary applications. Your argument is tantamount to saying we should have combustion engines but not firearms. Would it make you feel better to know people will be connecting through glasses and eventually contacts instead of their smart phones?

        2. And how many of those people connecting through glasses and contacts will be threatened with an ass-kicking? At some point, practicality and common courtesy become constraints.
          Hell why not put super computers in everyone’s brain and make us all hive-minded androids?

        3. There is already research being done on brain implants. I’ll assume you don’t wanna be first in line for that?

    2. The 2nd amendment and guns are becoming increasingly irrelevant due to, you guessed it…technology. What good is a rifle when a drone can get you from 20,000 feet above?

  2. Technology originally replaced manual labor. The THEORY is that that frees people up to become involved in the knowledge labor fields. What happens when automation becomes more economical than humans in knowledge-based positions? Outside of some catastrophic setback, this will happen in my lifetime.

    1. Watch what happens when cities and municipalities go bankrupt ( a lot due to pension demands ) at end of next year.
      Double the unemployment. Depending on your statistical set .. either 12 or 25%.
      THAT is the beginning of hard times for women too. Big daddy Gov divorces them.

  3. Technology, great topic. The end of the true biological advancement and evolution of mankind. Many jobs were lost due to it and it will continue. Machines replace labor, companies will profit off this instead of a failed ‘worker’ now automaton. See it every day, working in IT myself I make sure I stay strong, fit, and healthy. Coworkers are young in their mid thirties and late twenties with horrible health issues and chronic pains. Too dependent on Tech. for every single thing. Of course, tech is under our complete control, but if true AI were to be developed that’s it we’re done (lol Terminator, fiction) no longer will we be the most efficient, of no use. Imagine if technology didn’t exist and we were able to fully embrace our biological, primal nature. The human race would not NEED anything but the body to sustain and move forward.

  4. Google bought Boston Dynamics. It is believed that the technology developed at this company will replace human labour.
    Bill Gates stated that technology will replace a lot of jobs in the future including accounting jobs.
    Oxford University released a report mentioning that 40% of jobs will be replaced by technology.

    1. What a nightmare it will be when machines replace all the hard jobs and we have to spend more time having fun!
      Did OU provide a guarantee of future investment returns based on that ironclad prediction? If so, where can I invest?

      1. Having fun with what money? If real unemployment goes to 20,30, 40% what money are those people going to spend to have all that fun?

  5. I posted this in the other ROK article about education. It is relevant to mention it here as well:
    Here are the reasons why our economy is truly FINISHED:
    1) Deindustrialisation: What once was a nation of producing goods thanks to
    our steel mills, jute mills, factories, ship yards, manufacturing industries and coal mines helped to provide and maintain a true middle class. However, thanks to corrupt politicians and industries, this marked the end of the middle class and now, the beginning of the service sector economy. Bill Clinton signing off on NAFTA led to millions of manfacturing jobs being outsourced to third world countries and has led to the destruction of many American cities. One only needs to take a trip to the rust belt states to see how bad it has become. In the case of the UK, Margaret Thatcher allowed over 6 million jobs to be destroyed and outsourced. 99% of Great Britain is now a post industrial wasteland, where most economic activity is now based in the City of London.
    2) Oversaturation of Higher Education: When asked for alternatives, Margaret Thatcher encouraged people to go back to school and retrain. I won’t forget those bullshit commercials that would be on the tv, telling people to go to college and university and that all doors are open. To make this worse, Tony Blair perpertuated this problemto the final straw when he encouraged 50% of kids to go to university.
    This has led to the abundant and continuing oversaturation of kids with so many degrees that the value of a degree has now been diminished. Recruiters continue to create more higher, rigid standards and barriers to help reduce the overflow of job applicants (need 2:1 russell group degree, internships, assessment centres etc.)
    3) Technology: The destruction of the manfucturing trades was bad enough, but whatever jobsare left in the service sector economy, are now being replaced by
    technology. Thanks to companies like Google and Apple, the advancement
    of technology has now resulted in the decline of human labour. For example, the banking industry is now shutting down thousands of branches and merging them with post offices while getting rid of their human employees. This can also be blamed not on corporations creating this technology, but also on the general public. As long as you continue to use smartphones and apps, just remember you are killing off more jobs. Bill Gates has stated that in 20 years, most jobs will be replaced by technology. Oxford University has also stated in a report that 40% of
    jobs will be replaced by technology. And the signs are around us: Amazon
    derstroying retail stores, Netflix destroying Blockbusters, Uber destroying taxi cabs etc. When technology creates jobs, it only creates jobs for few, while destroying jobs for the masses.
    4)Overpopulation:Capitalism is truly dead. When we live in a society where bankers are allowed to walk off free and get bailed out by the general public, then
    what you have is fascism- the merger of state and corporations. But no
    matter how we choose to look at it, at the end of the day, the masses
    will have to rely on the money fat cats at the top for jobs. Without them, we are dead. And by looking at the growing income inequality, greed and more jobs being lost everyday, we must truly look at ourselves and where our responsibilities lie. Everyday, more people are choosing to procreate and yet there is no future for these kids that are born in today’s world. There are simply not enough resources such as jobs to accomodate every individual on this Earth. The wealth will NEVER be redistributed to create more jobs.
    So is college even worth it? The answer is NO. Even fields such as engineering and medicine are starting to become oversaturated and will no longer prove to be fruitful in the future. The only way to survive in this life in this day and age
    is to hustle and grind. Remember, there is nothing more important in
    this life, than keeping yourself alive.
    You are truly on your own in this world…

    1. “1 You are truly on your own in this world.”
      So what then is the solution? An early Smith and Wesson retirement plan (i.e. a pistol to the mouth)? What can one do?

      1. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t spend time worrying about stuff. You’re going to be fine.

    2. Amazon has not destroyed retail stores. I look out my window I see dozens of them lining the streets. Blockbuster was a massive pile of shit. Taxis are still here and are going nowhere. Stop complaining about progress.
      People have been worrying about overpopulation for centuries – we’re fine. Coal mines etc created a working class! A large middle-class is what you get when you automate factory jobs. Its called increasing productivity.
      As for tech? Jesus man are you some kind of nut? You sit at a computer or use a smartphone or whatever to write your comment while complaining about it?

      1. “A large middle-class is what you get when you automate factory jobs.”
        Get back on your medication you crackpot.

  6. Currently jobs are mostly being transferred to other countries. However sooner or later with continuous advancement a society must encounter massive technological unemployment.
    In my opinion a civilization then has to choose between the following options:
    1. Discard money / create plentiful interest-free money and thus create a different economic system where most people have jobs out of interest than out of necessity, but also fulfill a useful role.
    2. Embark on intergalactic conquest and thus “create” work for your people by subjugating other civilizations (that Galactic Blitzkrieg is a bit off for our species yet)
    3. Reduce population artificially and try to erect a stable, completely top-down controlled system similar to Huxley’s Brave New World
    Too bad our plutocratic rulers have chosen Option 3. Paradoxically one of the ways out is if we encounter as humans a species that has embarked upon Option 2.

    1. “If we encounter as humans a species that has embarked upon Option 2.”
      With at least a 100 billion planets in our galaxy alone, who knows how much of them habitable, that scenario is only a matter of time. People are so narrow-sighted, so immersed in their own petty little lives, they will have no idea what’s coming or how to deal with it when the time of alien contact finally arrives.

      1. Yup – and the funny thing is that mankind likely could be in a different technological age already, but when the plutocracy has decided to suppress all technologies which hurt the bottom-line or run counter to their chosen Option 3, then we are like sitting ducks on a platter. It will likely be a bit late to delve out the next-gen prototypes and try to mass-produce it in time.
        Ah well – their system cannot be much worse than the target goal of our current rulers.

      2. There will be no alien contact. If there was any life form out there with the capability and desire to contact us, it would’ve happened by now.
        The Universe is infinitely large, and I have no doubt that there are other life forms somewhere out there. But there are clearly no other life forms in our own galaxy that are trying to contact us, or have the capacity to do so.

        1. I see you’re an adherent of the “earth is special” theory. One big special snowflake inhabited with several billion special snowflakes.
          Has it occurred to you Earth could be purposely isolated or even observed undetected? It’s not like we would notice anything, we don’t have a massive detection grid covering the entire solar system and its neighborhood. We, with our limited technology, are close to being able to directly detect oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres dozens of lightyears away and we’re already experimenting with metamaterial optical cloaks ( Who knows what somebody else out there is capable of?

        2. IMO You’re borth right and both wrong. Yes there is the vast potential for space exploration. It would be likely given infinite space and time that another species more advanced would have made first contact. We could be the first however. Unfortunately the universe is still expanding and at an ever increasing rate. While another galaxy is planning to crash into ours all not before our Sun burns out and hopefully we don’t destroy ourselves first. So there’s potential out there but a lot of hurdles to jump first.

        3. I agree that any species has a lot of hoops to jump through before it’s able to make just a tiny leap in space exploration. Evolution is likewise riddled with barriers that must be overcome first, before any technological advancement is possible. However, advancement in technology seldomly follows a linear trend. The ability to fly was a barrier we have overcome, which boosted technological advancement and ultimately helped us reach orbit. Light speed travel is perhaps a similar barrier to be overcome before any interstellar colonization will be possible. Nothing within our current understanding of physics, however, points to this being possible.

  7. The Internet destroyed the middle class – Kodak employed 140,000 people Instagram employs 13. Oxford productivity commission stated that 49% of jobs will be made redundant in the next 20 years. This far surpasses all previous industrial revolutions combined. Now it’s important to understand, it’s not the time to be a Luddite. History has shown that change is about adaptation. There is money to be made. The last industrial revolution made a lot of money for a lot of people. It also displaced millions and their traditions. Society was changed forever. It’s perhaps signalled a change towards modernity/feminism and away from the traditional Romantic view of existence. 1 job skyrocketed last Industrial revolution. Prostitution. Unfortunately the speed of this industrial revolution will cause a schism in society between those that have access to capital and those that have no access. Government will aim to fill void.

    1. I just read the Oxford Productivity study you referenced. I recommend it highly. It’s available here if anyone’s interested:
      From the conclusion: “Our model predicts that most workers in transportation and logistics occupations, together with the bulk of office and administrative support workers, and labour in production occupations, are at risk. These findings are consistent with recent technological developments documented in the literature. More surprisingly, we find that a substantial share of employment in service occupations, where most US job growth has occurred over the past decades (Autor and Dorn, 2013), are highly susceptible to computerization.”

    2. The middle class has not been destroyed and in the long run it will increase in size. Any temporary squeezing of the middle class is down to government interference not the wide-spread usage of a communications technology.
      Kodak and Instagram are not equivalent companies but even if they were, if Instagram can do what Kodak can do with 13 people then that is a massive gain in productivity. Gains in productivity are good for the economy not bad. That means more stuff for less work. If you are concerned about the people temporarily out of work don’t be. They will find jobs somewhere else.
      Industrialization was not the cause of feminism, government was. Without government, no one can enforce feminist policy.

      1. “Kodak and Instagram are not equivalent companies but even if they were, if Instagram can do what Kodak can do with 13 people then that is a massive gain in productivity. Gains in productivity are good for the economy not bad”
        Too bad you’re wrong.

    3. That is catastrophe the likes of which we have never seen. There is no way to get around that. What the fuck do you think the people that held 49% of the jobs are going to do? Chaos, violence followed by savage repression. Then a permanent dystopian existence. What a world.

      1. It won’t work that way. 49% of jobs becoming redundant doesn’t mean you will have 49% unemployment. Just that those jobs will no longer be necessary. You don’t have firemen on trains anymore for example. As those jobs become redundant people will be employed in more productive roles.

        1. Probably not this time. The new technology is changing everything and you can forget about the old paradigms.

        2. Everything is always changing and always has done. I am not sure what paradigms you refer to but technology is not going to lead to massive unemployment. An increase in productivity leads to an increase in wealth. If Crusoe makes a bigger net that catches more fish is he better off or worse?

        3. While I agree that everything is always changing, this time, I have to take the side of the OP because, IMHO, this is a paradigm shift like we’ve never seen before.
          The big difference this time is that we’re not automating something and then retraining those people to work on the new machines. There are NO PEOPLE necessary, at least not people who don’t have the skills necessary to work on/maintain the machines. And, even then, when you look at something like automobile assembly robots you have one guy pulling down 150K who walks around and programs the machines who put 100 people making 30K out of work. Could those 100 people do the 150K guys job? Most of them, no, they just don’t have the intellectual horsepower to keep up.
          Here’s the way I look at it. If you were born 200 years ago with an IQ of 80 you would probably do pretty average; you wouldn’t start a business, but you’d be able to ride a horse, pull a plow, harvest in the fields. Basically, you’d be able to get a reasonable job and work as a productive citizen.
          The same guy today? Not so much. A job that an 80 IQ person can hold (say, for example, cutting grass/landscaping) isn’t going to pay enough to live. You’ll likely spend your days as a drain on society because you simply cannot keep up with the technology.
          Another example. A car mechanic with an IQ of 90 could have been a great mechanic 40 years ago. Today? Not a chance in hell. You have to understand computers in a way that not “intuitive feel” will ever make up for. The best mechanic today is going to have a high IQ, the cutoff for an “average mechanic” continues to rise every day.
          This is the problem; it’s not that there won’t be work to do, there most certainly will. It’s that the vast majority of high paying jobs are only going to be available to a very small segment of society. Even if you take a low bar, say an IQ of 110 to be productive, you still have over 1/2 the country that can’t do it. And we’re going to go WAY BEYOND that, and we’re going to do it pretty quickly. As soon as a computer has an “IQ” of 100, it’ll quickly be cheaper to replace your people at that level of intelligence with machines. And we will, putting more and more people into the “unemployable” category (as someone with an IQ of 80 is today). That number will continue to ratchet up, consolidating more and more wealth into the hands of the intelligent and putting more and more average people on the unemployment roster.
          50 years from now, we’re all going to be asking ourselves how do we deal with the fact that there’s so little work that needs to be done and so many people who need jobs with no prospects. High IQ fields and those that are focused on human interaction are going to be less impacted, but, all of us will feel it and we’ll have to adapt. 10% unemployment will become a joke; we’ll climb to 20% and then beyond as more and more people realize that their skills simply aren’t up to what a machine can do for cheaper (and no health insurance!).

        4. Let’s extend your logic. Let’s say 100% of the work is done by machines. The machines repair and maintain themselves. So we have infinite productivity. This means humans can spend 100% of their time on leisure since all of the work has been done. In this case there is no problem since the only reason we work is to finance our leisure time. We will be infinitely wealthy.

        5. These infinite productivity gains u speak of will be concentrated in the hands of a few. Unless google, facebook and the like are willing to socialize their profits and engage in large scale wealth redistribution we will have leisure all right, but not because we can afford it. Idle hands and an empty stomach a good citizen do not make. Get ready, because south-side Chicago is coming to a town near you.

        6. Look Kodak and Instagram are equal in every single way! Both record photos. Now the value of Instagram maybe 13 billion as a rough figure. Now if 13 people are worth a billion each that leaves far less needs satisfied than if 140,000 had access to that fund. Now as for wants satisfied. We are not Greek or Roman Civilization. The Greeks had 1/3 of the people as slaves. Even the poorest man in Greece had a slave. They could effectively do what a machiñe could do. The Greeks and Romans then formed an artisan class. Loving art and poetry. If we had 100% machine workforce this would not happen. Till there were a very small population base. It’s different times. The problem of the Western economies is they conflate population growth and economic growth. In fact as time moves forward population growth will destroy individual wealth growth. White women understand this biologically and yet vote in governments that do the opposite.

        7. You are indeed correct last industrial revolution there was retraining. The simple serf who tilled the soul become the person who would fix the machine that spun the cotton wheel. Not this time. 25 years is too short. This is the first time ever in history we are at 0 replacement. This year! That means you and I are living and breathing the first time when machines are replacing humans at a faster rate than humans can re-enter the workforce. Even scarier is that at some point even quite technical jobs that put people into debt for large study allowances will go and then we will enter the hunger games.

      2. Government will try and depopulate overtime. Not through some science fair project but through what we are suing now. Feminism. There’s 55,000,000 abortions have taken place in the USA. That’s 55 million not on social welfare. Now you can understand why government loves feminism.

  8. The day s of walking into GM/IBM/GE at age 21 and walking out 44 years later with a gold watch and a pension are Way Long Gone. They were gone back when I was a young man, too. What started out in the 80s or so is reaching its inevitable conclusion: as capital and production become more mobile, worldwide, margins have become thinner in a lot of “legacy” industries–those that haven’t died out–and workers have become more interchangeable and replaceable.
    What then, to do? Well, as usual, your Old Uncle Mistral has some advice:
    1. First, stop worrying that someone else has a bigger slice of cake than you do.
    Not everybody gets a trophy. Not fair? Too bad, life isn’t fair. Kids in China and India don’t all get trophies; they’re too busy learning math.
    2. Develop a Plan.
    This one is going to be long. Some of you are in HS or College and/or near that age. You have young bodies that can do a lot, but you have to take care of them b/c you will need them later. No time will be easier than Right Now for you to get in shape. Find a program that works for you and stick to it. When you are 50, your knees (and other joints) will thank you.
    Work on your game. Master it now. Got out and Talk To Girls. This is a Necessary Life Skill for young men (well 90-95% of us, anyway). Swing for the fences. Get shot down. I can’t remember the last time a girl rejected me. Why? Because I don’t care when a girl rejects me. My self-worth is not tied up in that. Not Giving a Fuck is HUGE Mojo.
    If you are still in school, its your FUCKING JOB to learn all day. Only take English if you are not proficient in it. Otherwise, these days, it’s a waste of time. Lots of “Derrida” and other stupid bullshit.* Skip political science and the various flavors of “Oppression Studies”) and learn a language or two. Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. French, too. Being able to speak French will totally get you laid, by women who don’t speak it, but like how it sounds. Being able to fake it is often enough. I’d recommend some business courses, also, particularly as they might related to entrepreneurship and small business, b/c that’s what you should be doing. Marx was right about this one thing: Control the Means of Production.
    If you can develop a skill that make you indispensable, you’re golden. Make yourself indispensable, and disappear.
    If you are wondering about college, there is a strong case for Not Going, now, based on the insane capital costs. This is a way for banks to enslave you, now. You spend and spend and spend on tuition, the universities get rich, give the money to the banks to manage (those that they do not use to “redistribute wealth”), while the banks turn you into wage slaves. If I were coming up, now, I’d think about becoming a plumber. Plumbing is the highest paid trade, and Google isn’t going to fix anyone’s toilet for them. Plus it’s a useful skill even if you turn into a white collar guy. When times get rough, chicks dig guys who can Solve Problems. Plus Mike Rowe will tell you he works with a lot of millionaires who wear Carhartt to work. If you want to “broaden” your mind there are lot of places where you can take classes, online, for free. Or you can simply go develop an appreciation of art (and shit like that 😉 ) on your own. Don’t bother with the posers who shit in their hands and wipe it on a canvas; go see the Masters. I like the Impressionists myself. If you don’t, that’s fine. You’re wrong, but that’s fine. 😉
    3. Learn How To Handle Money. Rule #1: Avoid Debt Like the Plague. We live in a consumer society where everyone has to have the next Big Toy. A “Need” in America is a “Want” that has not been fulfilled within 48 hours, usually by Amazon Prime. Rule #2: Save cash for when you need it (for travel to places with man-friendly women, etc.) That need not be in actual currency, as the governments of Europe and America are going to inflate their debts away. It’s pretty much the only choice they have, at this point. Rule #3: You will need it when you’re older. If you “work for the man” you may discover yourself “made redundant” You CANNOT lose your job b/w 50 and 60 in the USA. You will basically be fucked. Plan accordingly.
    4. Learn about investing. Sure the stock market is a total casino, but you should still understand it, especially if you have an IRA or a 401K. At this point, I’d recommend buying an index fund with low fees. Go find out who John Bogle is and then buy an index fun with the lowest expense ratio you can find. Sometimes, you can exploit things. I made a killing in pizza and in refiners. But for most folks, Index funds are the way to go. That said, once the Fed starts raising rates, the market is going to get killed. Not sure when that will be, but it is out there, lurking.
    5. You’re not going to learn the important shit in school. Go out and live.
    End Transmission.
    *It used to be Derrida and Paul de Man, but it turns out de Man had an advanced case of “Waldheimer’s Disease” where you conveniently forget that you used to be a Nazi and leave if off of your resume. The libs shat themselves when it was revealed that one of the heroes of Deconstruction like goosestepping a bit too much.

      1. Every moment is another opportunity to turn it all around. If you fall, rise back up.
        À bientôt,

        1. This is a great post.
          As with most fascinating websites, i have no idea how I got here. Its hard for me to acknowledge our best days are behind us. Peak private employment peaked in 2000- downhill ever since. One stat that will be forever seared into my brain- corp profits increased seven-fold since the early 80s; private debt since then has increased… seven fold as well. Kinda lets you know how fake our economy has become.
          Anyway, try not to get too mad at the ladies, their spending has been propping us up for decades (e.g., now we need two cars per household, more spending on clothes and makeup, etc).
          And Ive seen some posts about feminizing sports- its all about money. There are only so many men, that market has been tapped out, so corps pander to women so they will buy more pink jerseys. Sucks, but it is what it is, try to ignore it. We all know men taught us how to play sports, and should be acknowledged for it, but most men dont need the accolades.

    1. Interesting commentary. However the stock market isnt tied to interest rates. Its tied to international capital flows. For example Japan experienced a boom from inflows and then crashed when that reversed and rates are lower now..still no recovery.
      It will rise at least least until end of 2015 as will the US dollar. Note how everyone is pessimiatic on both?
      The majority is never right also.

      1. I sometimes think that the Mkt is only going up b/c there aren’t many other options, and that the FOMC should be re-named “The Committee to Re-Inflate the Bubble”.
        Japan has problems that, for cultural reasons, it is unwilling to solve. America has a different set of problems, and is eventually going to have to hit the re-set button.
        Rates do affect the Mkt, but I think they’re going to be kept down–because they HAVE to be. First, we’re in a low demand environment. Corporations are sitting on cash b/c if they used that cash to build product, those products will sit in warehouses, b/c there is nobody to buy them. Second, because the gov’t has let debt get out of control, the Fed has to keep its thumb on the scales ore it will REALLY blow out debt service. Third, so long as we are in a jobless (and sideways) “recovery”, rates are staying put. Not sure the dollar rises, although that would make the ECB happy, but I think the market will run on for a while, aimlessly. But what goes up, must come down.
        End Transmission.

        1. John and Mistral. Interest rates are negative in Europe . Large, no huge funds are searching for yield. The US can absorb it . Higher rates on debt and yet higher yields on S&P . Not to mention even Central Banks are investing there too.
          That is why the stock market relentlessly rises. And the retail investor is still not in yet. This will also cause the US dollar to press higher.
          For at least another year.

        2. The market is going up in terms of fake money because there are no other options. Not dissimilar to pre Great Depression. People see the stock market and think that is safe money. Even the very wealthy they are not immune forever. Liquid capital in terms of stock will plummet at some point. Solid capital will increase in value. E.g owning machinery. There is too much market speculation and people are playing in the casino. Not actually thinking where the market needs capital investment.

        3. I would somehow wind up being the guy who stayed to long at the party. I have been shifting into private placements. The upside is limited, but the downside is too, if you pre-qualify the hell out of your placements.
          À bientôt,

        4. I don’t disagree, but I’m happy to take OPM until Wall St. burns down. I have been shifting away from stocks of late (see my reply to Jim James, below).
          À bientôt,

        5. The US is with negative unrest rates is going the opposite of what should be done. We need to encourage saving. Sadly what we are seeing is a few families of old money in Europe becoming incredibly and increasingly wealthy by just having gold and paper sitting the bank. The idea of low or negative interest rates is based on that they will move it to capital ventures. Invest in new sectors and spurn economic development. In reality the old many doesnt take such risks and invests in safe houses, farms, art, big business and safe stock. Old money takes very few risks. They have enough capital to do so and still stay in the .01%

        6. Sure. Not a bad idea. Personally I have some riding on my market understanding and the rest in a partnership private investment concern.

        1. Watch what happens to the US dollar and S&P if Scotland votes Yes. Capital flows. And anticipation.

    2. You might appreciate then the dire prospects even STEM majors now face.
      “All credible research finds the same evidence about the STEM workforce: ample supply, stagnant wages and, by industry accounts, thousands of applicants for any advertised job. The real concern should be about the dim employment prospects for our best STEM graduates: The National Institutes of Health, for example, has developed a program to help new biomedical Ph.D.s find alternative careers in the face of “unattractive” job prospects in the field.”
      “The highly profitable IT industry, for example, is devoting millions to convince Congress and the White House to provide its employers with more low-cost, foreign guestworkers instead of trying to attract and retain employees from an ample domestic labor pool of native and immigrant citizens and permanent residents. Guestworkers currently make up two-thirds of all new IT hires, but employers are demanding further increases. If such lobbying efforts succeed, firms will have enough guestworkers for at least 100 percent of their new hiring and can continue to legally substitute these younger workers for current employees, holding down wages for both them and new hires.”
      “Claiming there is a skills shortage by denying the strength of the U.S.
      STEM workforce and student supply is possible only by ignoring the most
      obvious and direct evidence and obscuring the issue with statistical
      smokescreens – especially when the Census Bureau reports that only about one in four STEM bachelor’s degree holders has a STEM job, and Microsoft plans to downsize by 18,000 workers over the next year.”
      One more thing.
      El Greco and Rembrandt were masters. The Impressionists were the beginning of the end which as terminated in the whole sale eclectic painting of bovine plasters scattered about our downtowns.

      1. See, here’s the thing. In the late 80s, after Wall Street crapped out, we were supposed to get a glut of lawyers. And we did. I was trained as a lawyer, and I became successful doing it. That happened to computer folks in the 1990s and the STEM folks (apparently) now. The point is that there will always be adversity–and there will always be people who thrive in adverse conditions. I spent my first year or two out as a broke @ss MFer. Now I can light my cigars with $100 bills. I don’t–but I could. There are always going to be winners and there are always going to be losers, no matter what. The trick is, in the modern economy to be NIMBLE.
        Everyone in El Greco paintings looks underfed. And Rembrandt was a master—at painting pictures in which everyone looks like a hobo illuminated by a street lamp. The Impressionists were masters at capturing emotion in two dimensions. Or maybe I just like pastels. Anyway, there is little in life more subjective than art and music, to to each his own….
        À bientôt,

        1. I want to agree with you but I also want to argue the other side of this.
          You wouldn’t tell a person “If you want to be a humanities professor than go for it!”. Because its just not likely that they’ll be able to make a living doing that…
          I was flowing into a PhD program in Cognitive Neuroscience but I began to have my doubts… Maybe 1 in 10 of the post-docs that I’ve known throughout my academic career have gone on to obtain professorships… and I’ve seen others just quit academia altogether to work in some random other field… I’ve decided to switch into either Occupational Therapy, Organizational Psychology, Information Technology, or Clinical Psychology…. simply because I’m more sure there will be a job at the end of it…
          And sad to say… in a declining economy I predict people are going to be looking for mental health services… might as well be some red-pillers on the ground…

        2. CK, you aren’t required to agree with me; we’re simply talking through ideas. You will note that nowhere did I day “Go be a Humanities Professor”….just as I would tell kids thinking of going to law school, now, to Slow The Fuck Down and Think Shit Over. My point was that there is always opportunity. Back when I got out, there was NOBODY who was going to out hustle me. Eventually, I started beating out base hits.
          Academia is a different ballgame. I used to bang a feminist professor who is ridiculously intelligent but winds up teaching at Podunk State b/c supply far outstrips demand. She would also tell me about the “persona” she had to put on at work, where it was basically “Lord of the Flies”. Dunno who would want to work in such an environment.
          Anyway, I am not anti-education, but I *am* anti-Running Up Huge Amounts of Debt to Get a Degree. The value proposition just isn’t there anymore.
          À bientôt,

        3. As a millenial, I’m frustrated…
          But I couldn’t imagine having 20k debt and not sure how to pay it back…

        4. $20K is not the end of the world, believe me. I used to think that was all the cash there was. It’s the kids who come out with 6 figures of debt and no concept of how to pay it back who are never getting out from under.
          À bientôt,

        5. “Occupational Therapy, Organizational Psychology, Information Technology, or Clinical Psychology”
          The first two and the last one are feminized to the core. Be warned. I don’t have any info about Information Tech, though.

        6. Good point.
          That is the part of the reason I’m leaving academia… the men are treated like shit and there is dwindling opportunity to move up the ranks…
          I’m pretty sure mostly women go into OT you’re right… I’m not the type of guy to feel emasculated by the helping professions but I do find the female work-place maddening…
          Clinical is appealing because psychology is my forte and personal interest. If I could open up my own independent practice and be my own boss that would be the endgame. Also having a PhD would give me cred for writing books.
          Info-Tech is somewhat newschool. Basically like… designing textbooks of the future… interface design for education or other applications. My current research can be angled towards ergonomics and design so I might go that route if I can get into a decent program.
          Check this out… I ran this Myers Briggs personality test on myself and actually found it quite enlightening. Takes 5 minutes and the personality description I got gave me some interesting info on good career matches for myself. The things I’d always considered myself best at (i.e. psychology, teaching, arts, music) were all at the top. Might be interesting…

        7. “Educational Reality Coach”
          That’s a practical mental health position. 🙂
          Meanwhile, I’ve been watching some under-18s study like there’s quite literally no tomorrow for their GCSEs, hoping that the carrots being dangled in front of them have not yet become rotten …
          Now it’s not just A-levels, but A+ levels, A* levels … and I suppose eventually there will be A++ungood levels.
          Sadly, there may be so much chasing of credentials by then that nobody will actually get the Orwell joke …

      2. Not all STEMs are created equally (and don’t get me started on those scumbag CEOs from Microsoft, Infosys and even Facebook trying to game the H1B system by crying about no qualified people – that’s such abject shit).
        Right now, the right STEM people can do well coming out of law school. They are about the ONLY ones who have any business considering law school at all, since they are patent bar eligible. Patents are about the only growth area in law nowadays. Technically, bio majors can go this way too, but realistically even a biotech person with a PhD is facing a tough fight for placement in a patent related law job.
        The hot areas are computer science and electrical engineering, with mechanical engineering a distant third. But all that could change in the next few years. Meanwhile, Mistral is right, need to be nimble.

    3. Invest in shipping containers, I say – at 12% return paid monthly, you won’t find an easier to manage or better paying investment. Think about it; the best way to get goods to the consumer West from the producer East is by ship…and consumption just keeps increasing, thus increasing need for more shipping. When the decline finally comes, the old consumers will need a place to live, and those shipping containers that will no longer be moving goods, will easily convert into great affordable housing.

      1. Entertaining, but not a good investment. Production of shipping containers is flat. Shipping is consolidating tonnage- the recent Panama canal expansion project has created a huge question mark. Recently, the big traders are shifting Far East trading routes to include NY/NJ in liner trade with their newer, larger tonnage, relegating smaller ships, the former liners of 2008, to spoke-and-hub routes. End result is more efficiency with less movement, and less demand for containers. And, to put the shit icing on this crap cake, freight-sharing measures are now forming, so company-specific tonnage (minus the Wal-Mart China-to-NJ trade) will soon no longer be company-specific at all.

        1. So the decline I referred to has started! Good. And, to put a candle on “the shit icing on this crap cake”, these “…shipping containers that will no longer be moving goods, will easily convert into great affordable housing.”

    4. All good but there is a lot of value in learning arts courses. Don’t go to uni! Pay a College kid to tutor you or a teacher. Learning philosophy is very important! And in my opinion more so than a language but that too is important!

      1. I am not opposed to learning about art and being able to appreciate it. I just question the value of getting a degree in it, unless one is a properly groomed and tressed young lady for whom such might increase her ornamental value to a wealthy man.
        À bientôt,

        1. “I am not opposed to learning about art and being able to appreciate it”
          I hear ya. The contemporary art world is in need of serious overhaul. Today’s contemporary scene is a fucking convention of no talent clowns who hire crafts people to produce their mundane ideas. Your suggestion of focusing on the old masters is a damned good one.

    5. Oh, and for those of you who are in HS and College (just starting, anyway), choose your courses, to the extent that you can, based on quality of professor and less on subject matter. A good professor can make boring shit interesting; a bad professor can RUIN your favorite subject.
      À bientôt,

    6. John Bogle of “A walk Down Wall Street” fame?? Great book. Most people should be in Index funds. If you do well with individual stocks you are mostly lucky…

    7. Don’t bother with the posers who shit in their hands and wipe it on a canvas;

      So you are saying plumbers are no artists?

    8. I would stay away from stock market funds. You have two general types of investors. The guys with inside information and the guys who don’t. If you get an index fund you do two things. You give your money to the insiders and you tell the government where to find your money when it wants it.

    9. “When times get rough, chicks dig guys who can Solve Problems”
      I don’t think women dig guys for any reason; if you save them from disaster or crisis they won’t give it further consideration nor thanks. The rest of your reply is gold, good sir

      1. Thanks for the props, but i think you might discover that, when Things Get Rough, the ladies are more inclined to cozy up to us square-jawed, heavy brow ridge types. 😉
        À bientôt,

    10. Except for irreplaceable, personal jobs (e.g. healthcare, qualified technicians) very senior management and in-demand, revene-generating positions, the market will have no need for people over a certain age threshold.
      Essentialy, you will have aged off the market by 37 if you become unemployed. I am already seeing the signs at my early 30s.
      Accordingly, I am making plans to exit the job market. It shows the sad state of the world when people in their prime prefer to exit the rat race in their 30s.

      1. I think we are going to see an increased tightening of the Labor Market. When I was first thinking about about the “can’t lose a job after 50” bit, it was in the context of reading a WSJ article about how churning in the Labor Mkt is good and it will just be a while before the entrepreneurs figure out how to use the surplus workers.
        Um…Riiiiiiight. The entrepreneurs were thinking about making the most profit at the cheapest cost, not that I blame them for that.
        If a greater and greater percentage of workers are sideline, permanently, that is Not Good for the social order. We’re not going to see exactly that for a while–automation hasn’t been the end of banking, etc., but as it impacts more and more industries and there are more workers and fewer jobs, that’s going to be an issue. That’s the kind of thing that makes revolutions happen. I’m more of a “U6″* guy when it comes to unemployment, and right now, U6 is ~12%
        At the same time, kids these days (shakes walking stick, vigorously) are also “delaying” adulthood until they are 30 or so. Sort of an “extended adolescence”. Think of basically every movie role Seth Rogen has ever had, but especially in “Knocked Up”.
        It’s these sorts of convergences that make me Fear for the Republic.
        HBO did a documentary about long term unemployed people on Long Island called “Hard Times: Lost on Long Island” that’s worth a look, if only as an object lesson about consumer debt, joblessness as people age, and the value of being agile in a changing economy. I’ve worked for small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and for myself. I think, these days, you need to be sure you have at least 2-3 marketable skills, kept your debt crushed down to as little as possible and you also need at least 2 escape routes if Something Goes Haywire.
        End Transmission.
        *U6 is the total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force. So this is unemployed, discouraged workers, workers with part time jobs who want to work full time but cannot find work (which I see as a problem) and people who indicate that they aren’t looking but are “available” to work. It’s a better measure, I think, b/c it captures the amount of desperation in the work force.

        1. “2 escape routes if Something Goes Haywire”
          I’m an american currently residing in Europe. Are you speaking in terms of an escape route to leave the USA? And what kind of ‘haywire’ are you speaking of?

        2. I was speaking more generally about situations that people might be in. For example, if I lost my primary job tomorrow, I would be spending exactly *zero* time crapping in my pants and worrying about it, b/c I have a couple of options on the table. In fact, it might be the best thing for me. 😉
          À bientôt,

    11. Highest paid trade is elevator repair/installation. ~72k/yr median pay. Top 10% of elevator repair/install laborers making over 106k/yr. It has the best labor union in the USA and is projected to be one of the faster growing labor industries over the next 2 decades. Great idea for kids getting out of high school or in their early-to-mid-20’s to get into. Another great one is Commercial Automotive Inspection.

        1. Travel? Depends on the company you work for or the position you end up under I suppose, but generally most elevator/escalator/moving platform repairmen tend to service equipment in the same area they are based out of. Most travel would be local/surrounding area. Any major city will have hundreds/thousands of elevators which prompts the need for local servicemen who can be available same day/on-call.

    12. Please advise if you have a blog or will be writing a book. I’ll be the first man in the cue to buy a copy.

  9. Also remember the middle class was what Marx always endeavoured to destroy. It was the first class who through merit took control away from those who were born into money- old money. This new breed of people termed now pejoratively as the bourgeois were the class that opened access to capital for the masses. This is important because as the middle class is destroyed so to is economic freedom in many ways. But opportunities will arise. It’s sad to see the way in which people are driven to work to preserve their status as middle class. While I applaud their endeavour in terms of hard work. They are being worked to the bone for little reward. Self sufficiency is vital and working in things other than material possessions will be of greater value as time moves forward. Although access to legal tender will mean very cheap prostitutes.

  10. Eventually we will need to redefine the meaning of value and merit relative to the other. Because, our current society is nothing but a game. Technology will make a few people the most advantaged, while the rest become useless zombies.

  11. Fascinating article. Technology truly is a double-edged sword.
    I personally could do without a lot of it.

  12. The faster the middle class is destroyed the better. Progressivism, feminism, and all the other misguided -isms of our time were born from it.

  13. Things will truly get real when they finally develop cellular regeneration techniques to ward off the aging process. That will separate the men from the boys, or at least the elites from the masses.
    The one great equalizer is death. Once the elites figure out how to prevent it permanently, we are fucked.
    All though it will be tough to find a cure for “17 stab wounds in the back.”

    1. The flesh is weak. Titanium not so much.
      Attaching your ballot to an anti-tank round ought to do the trick though.

    2. “The one great equalizer is death. Once the elites figure out how to prevent it permanently, we are fucked.”
      The only hope is the good old fashion doomsday meteor to drop out of the sky and put us back to the puddle of shit from which we arose.
      Nobody is really set up to counter such a catastrophe.

    1. The whole “Unions created the middle class” line is a government school lie.
      Unions have always been parasites who seek the maximum amount of pay for a minimum amount of work even if they have to resort to murder. They did NOT create the 40 hour workweek or the weekend…capitalism did.

  14. Roosh, this is a sign that you’re getting old. First it was the power loom destroying the common man’s livelihood, now it’s the Internet. There’s nothing new under the sun, you just gotta adapt and keep learning.

    1. Yeah, I agree most of those excepts from that book were the same old Luddite lines.
      Seems strange that a guy who owes his lifestyle to technology believes “technology” is destroying the middle class when it’s actually the banks and big corporations who manipulate the government through money printing, etc.
      However, I do agree about the parts about electronic spying.

      1. Bang on point. Banks, Big Business, Government. Actually its all the same guys. These guys pass back and forth between the boards of the banks, big corps and the government.

  15. I speak as someone who is waist deep in the industry of Computers and IT.
    Moore’s Law states “over the history, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.”'s_law
    To adapt to the current age, we (and i only speak of men here) need to advance and adapt at least the same rate as Moore’s law.
    A lot of advancement with our tools are related to the betterment of society. Electricity, Running Water, the Panama Canal, Refrigerators…..all changed how we look on life. A lot of that advancement relates to shrinking tasks from 10 steps to 3. Those responsible for the 7 are SOL. Yep, find something else to do.
    Nowadays the advancement is solely to reduce the tasks and doesnt change the world (no matter what Apple thinks). The information age and those around us demand we participate in the “Matrix”. So instead of reading a newspaper one can just follow news briefs on twitter or check Drudge ten thousand times a day. Instead of reading a book one can go to the Kindle Fire. No one ever thinks of what would be studied of this age if Amazon were to go out of business and all of their servers were to crash simply because our books are now electronic. We are now innundated with news and briefs about every-day life that it seems there is overload. Its really easy now to start a rumor and have it spread throughout the world. People will believe the rumor only to find out 2 weeks later it was false. most people who believed the rumor wont believe the real truth. And this continues forever. I am impressed with this site in striking back on idiots who pretend to know what they are talking about but most people dont know how to do that.
    The information age is an apocalypse. Its going to get wors.e

  16. I work in IT, and since my first major project I have viewed it as double edged sword, yes it brings the appearance of progress for the masses but I would argue much of the true progress and spoils derived from IT specific advances go to the controlling interests.
    At this point the cat is out of the bag on this one all you can do is protect yourself against the unwanted effects of it. It’s not something that should be shunned outright, it can be used for benefit, but wisely.
    The more disturbing aspect of it is that I believe it has taken the place of religion for many who don’t even realize this. This in my opinion is the most dangerous aspect of it, any religion that is amoral is something to beware of. Some claim they are atheists but in reality they are technologists, the problem is with as any religion once you believe in it you don’t question the basic tenants of it you have faith in it so to speak. A very dangerous combination with technology as it has the potential to spawn into something humans can’t control in the end.

  17. In all seriousness, in the face of changing circumstances comes opportunity. I made a few glib comments tonight in the replies, but this is a very important issue. The current perception of service industry work is no longer accurate. As a kid, service industry meant toilet scrubbers and hotel maids. When I was 18 I paid $15 an hour and bitched about it to get a diesel mechanic to look at my boat’s main engine. These days it’s mechanical engineers who answer service calls at $220/hr for diagnostics and $165/hr for repairs.
    The middle class responds to economic forces and is as predictable as ever, though smaller. The days of the artificially-enlarged American middle class, however, are dead like the dodo.
    For the increasingly-smaller middle class, however, it’s still a competitive environment. I’ve preached here before, but I could give 90% of ROK readers a middle-class income inside of 3 months, if they’d be willing to work on boats. My lowest-paid guy, who I’m pretty sure is mildly-retarded, makes $245 a day for working 12 hours a day, 14 days a month. My mid-level guys make 70-100k/yr, very middle class, considering that half of ’em can barely read.

    1. Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing… about in boats — or with boats.
      Accept for bicycles, but there’s squat all money in bicycles.

    2. I am all about boats, I need a new job. I’ve been a captain, dive master, electrician, fiberglass, I’ve built entire wooden boats, expert sailor, etc. etc.
      I really want to go back to the boat world. Where are you? Can you give me a job? I’m serious. I’m tired of being a landlubber. There is nothing I’d rather do than mess about with boats.

      1. @YTisPissed:disqus,
        contact me at [email protected], and let me know your tonnage
        limit, endorsements, TWIC status, etc. Might be I can help, esp. if you
        have or qualify to be rated as Able Seaman or have a 200ton or above

  18. Smartphones made the vastly majority of Americans socially retarded. Most women in American now can’t leave their fucking phones alone of 5 mins without having withdraw symptoms. You can’t even have a real life conversation with one anymore.

    1. You are so right. The social landscape has changed drastically in less than a decade. At this point in my life I no longer have to worry about dates or being PUA or gamer. I feel bad for those of you still in the game. How do you think my “date” would go the minute I grabbed her smartphone and tossed it across the room?

  19. One thing is for certain a lot of blue pill people will be required to swallow the red pill when they can’t feed their women

  20. I think the author is barking up the wrong tree.
    This is the crux: “while cheap labor in Asian factories construct the camera sensors.” Imagine if westerners in the west built their own iPhones etc rather than Chinese workers in factories were the trade union bosses are simultaneously factory owners and heads of the communist party branch, wouldn’t we be more wealthy?
    New jobs are being created by digital technology, but they are being created in repressive police states and/or poor countries.
    If western countries imposed taxes on goods from countries with child labor or slave labor we would soon be making our own clothes, shoes and phones again.
    They would cost a little more but then we wouldn’t have to pay unemployment benefits to millions of proles. Products would also be better quality!
    One way in which digital technology does hurt the economy is by allowing western computer jobs to be done by third world employees. My dad’s company sacked its French tech support guy and subcontracted to an indian company. My dad now gets poor quality advice over the phone in an accent he (let alone French workers) can barely understand rather than from someone he actually knew and who is now presumably claiming unemployment benefits paid for by our taxes.
    As for getting paid for doing a google search or liking a facebook page… that’s ridiculous.

    1. “If western countries imposed taxes on goods from countries with child labor or slave labor we would soon be making our own clothes, shoes and phones again”
      Not gonna happen.

      1. No so long ago the British and French abolished slavery in the whole of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Putting a few taxes in place is no herculean task.

    2. Economies cannot survive on “service industries” alone. Can the population eat iPhones? I have worked in the agri sector for many years and see how commodities are traded and distributed. Its not going to last…..

  21. This is really the age old Marxist argument that capitalism will consume itself, that the capitalists steal value from the workers with a bit of Luddite-ism mixed in, in a nice new package.
    The argument is completely invalid. This new technology is increasing wealth across the society at large. Even though the rich are getting richer so are the poor. If in doubt compare the poor people toting iPhones with the poor of the 19th Century. There may be relative wealth gains between classes but this is not an issue.
    Arguing that you are less “free” because you voluntarily wear devices that tell Google where you are is nonsensical. Not only that, the chances that you will meet with any negative consequences from a corporation knowing that you bought an MP3 today is so small its absurd to even consider it. By freedom, we mean freedom from coercion or violence (such as that perpetrated by the State or criminals). There is no freedom from being observed when you step out in public, unless you intend to pluck out everyone’s eyes.
    When you provide Google content what you are actually doing is using their property. You have no right to payment to use someone else’s property for your own ends. You pay Google in kind by allowing them to use your information. This is the deal. To force Google to pay you, to use their property would be a violation of Google’s freedom.
    If you want to use a private search engine, private email or private web browser without providing information in return you have this option but you will have to pay cash instead.
    The people who wrote this book have a privileged mentality whereby they believe they are owed something by the rest of the world (the Welfare Mentality). They are not.

    1. “Even though the rich are getting richer so are the poor. If in doubt compare the poor people toting iPhones with the poor of the 19th Century”
      Too bad you’re wrong.

        1. 19th century? Population of planet earth in 19th century? Percentage of poor to wealthy? Population of planet earth in 21st century? Percentage of poor to wealthy in 21st century?

    2. Well said Bob, that basically covers my thoughts on it as well. My wife has a far leftist former hippy aunt that lives near San Francisco. When she flies here to see family she snarks about “income inequality” . I got tired of it and told her to consider that today the average lower middle class person lives a better life than even the mightiest king could have hoped for hundreds of years ago. Central air, heat, abundant clean food, cars, talking to whomever you wanted no matter how far away they are, not dying of infection when you get a splinter, most major diseases under control, advanced surgery, etc. Charlemagne could only dream of such luxury.

  22. If you can’t beat them, join them ! For those who can code, find an idea in which users bring the value, and make it happen. If the winner takes all, one had better work his ass off to be in the winner category.

    1. Coding? Don’t most companies import Indians to do all that anyway, so why bother learning it?

      1. That experiment has mixed results at best. Native coders with good skills will usually be hired before a n Indian because he has a decided advantage with verbal and written communication.

  23. The West is destroying the Middle Class the same way the Romans did it – the mob and patricians teaming up to tax them out of existence. By the end of the Roman Empire, taxes were so high on the Middle Class (artisans such as smiths, merchants, and small farmers) that they were choosing to sell themselves into slavery to avoid the crushing taxes.

    1. Well said. There does seem to be an effort underway by superstitious socialists to redirect responsibility away from the government and on to scapegoats.

      1. Classrooms across America are now teaching young people more or less anyone with a lifestyle better than yours
        A. didn’t earn it, just got lucky and
        B. needs it taken from them for the ‘collective good’.

        1. I had a guy in the office a little while ago tell me not everyone is as lucky as me (with respect to my job and salary). I told him that was insulting. Like my job just fell out of the sky and into my lap as opposed to being the result of years of hard work.
          Hard work which many people I went to school with didn’t do. But I was lucky.
          As you say, A and B are a recipe for resentment and ultimately disaster.

  24. Capitalistic markets adjust and evolve in response to economic strain and pressures. In this sense, they are inherently, cyclically boom/bust. As in nature, when too many wolves eat too many rabbits, wolves starve from lack of rabbits; less wolves means more rabbits live, and the remaining wolves feast, soon outpacing the rabbits again. The trick is to maintain equilibrium so that boom/busts don’t occur. In a free market this is impossible to prevent. America however is far from a free market. Solutions exist is all I’m saying. Yes we have tech barons, but we also have had oil barons, railroad barons, steel barons, etc.

    1. The only “solutions” to free markets in history all ultimately end up as legalized serfdom, gulags and death camps. No thanks.

  25. The typical response to any critique of technology is ludditism. That should give you an idea of how little people actually think about technology. The main difference between today and 200 years ago is that technologies are being introduced much faster than we are able to adapt to them let alone adopt new strategies and coping mechanisms. This IS a concern because it interferes with our society’s ability to achieve metastability or a kind of ‘equilibrium’.
    If you know anything about the social use of technology, you will understand that the gap between introduction and ‘adoption’ was generally much bigger than it is now.
    Technology is not simply a tool or a means to an end. It has side effects, many of which are unforeseen.
    The other issue is that most technology now serves the interests of a destructive form of modern capitalism that fails to see beyond its nose.

    1. Paying taxes just takes demand out of the economy. Any time you spend money you are creating a job to one degree or another. A rich guy with 5 cars, large house, vacation home, etc… All the shit he buys creates jobs.
      You have the typical dumb liberal thought process that government confiscation of private wealth somehow creates progress. Take your shit back to liberal academia.

  26. Recently there have been many analogies made about what is happening today, and the classic TV show “The Twilight Zone”, so without further adieu:
    The Twilight Zone S05E33 The Brain Center at Whip…:

  27. I cannot for the life of me see where I am forced to participate in Google or Facebook. Odd.

    1. Then you are daft. There is a difference between de jure necessity and de facto necessity. I need facebook to keep track of my friends and where they are. I reconnected with people because of it. Google enables me to find stuff quickly without surfing too much.
      Regardless of that, I tried to unplug, really. It’s honestly not worth it since your quality of life goes down and you need these crutches to compete with everyone else. These services force you to keep up with everyone else in order to stay in the same spot, just like evolution.

      1. You are simply rationalizing your choice to waste your life on FB. If your quality of life goes down by eschewing social media then you may wish to examine why that is so. The hint here is that you likely have spent less time investing in real life value than you have spent giving “likes” to pictures of poorly speaking cats in pictures.
        Your rationalization is not convincing to me, I stand by my original statement. There is nothing forcing anybody to use these services. Period. Full stop.

  28. The idea that “digital technology” is what is causing economic disparity, is plain wrong. Putting a network service out there, does not force anyone to use it. Nor to continue using it, if it no longer provides value to them. Suggesting that the availability to search via Google is somehow making people poorer, takes a level of clueless one would think even self appointed “opinion leaders” cold not seriously stoop to. And ditto for being able to call Uber instead of the local Mafia if you need a ride.
    The reason the middle class is getting less wealthy, is simply that the only means they have of reliably accumulating wealth, saving, has been taken away from them. Debased by the Fed, spent on being sued and/or insuring against being sued, taken directly by taxes, and indirectly by regulations forcing people to sped to comply.
    While at the same time, purchasing power is increasingly derived not from what you have, but from what you can borrow. Meaning borrow from people who don’t particularly have to worry about whether you’ll ever pay them back, since if you don’t, the savings of the once-were middle class will be debased away to make up for the shortfall.
    And then there’s the idiotic expansion of IP laws and enforcement. When the Freeway system was built, lots of people made a good living by opening gas stations along the route. It wasn’t like the one who happened to open the first one on the east Coast somewhere could patent “gas station” and prevent anyone else from using it. But nowaday, Amazon, Apple and a bunch of patent trolls are doing the equivalent all the time, on the so called digital superhighways. But that again has nothing whatsoever to do with digital tech, and all to do with laws, lawyers and governments. Which, as always, are the real culprits behind absolutely every single evil, possibly aside from Ebola and friends. Get rid of, or at least seriously (as in 95%) shrink those sectors of society, and people will find a way to get by.
    In any economy there are two ways to obtain resources. you either create something that people in an unrestricted environment want to trade for, or you compel them to hand stuff over against their wish. Google, Uber et al has no DIRECT way of accomplishing the latter. So they are stuck with creating value. ANYONE, ANYWHERE, whose income in any way shape or form derives from “you must”, “you have to”….. blah, blah, is reliant on the latter. And hence nothing but a forever expendable leech. Whom the world would always and everywhere be better off if had his head hacked off by some ISIS dude with a conscience.
    The extent to which the likes of Google, Apple et all are using wealth that may have originally been derived “morally”, to influence laws, regulations etc., does also put them in the latter camp. But then they are no longer dabbling in technology, and blaming the results of their meddling on technology or networks is again dead wrong.
    There is only one social “problem” in this world that needs to be solved, and it is excessive government. That’s it. Every time some dimwitted yahoo comes up with some other thesis about “why things aren’t so good no more”, all it serves to do, is divert attention from the real problem. Just as if the author was on the leeches’ payroll; paid to keep people busy chasing all manners of irrelevancies, instead of focusing on the simple, age old problem that is actually facing them. Sad, really.

  29. Way too late on this but this quote from the article is intellectual crap:
    The winner-take-all distribution we see in the internet world occurs in dating too. Elite men can now broadcast their value to larger pools of women using dating sites and internet apps, giving them access to women who would have not been able to meet these men in the past. The men who are not elite, like a Kodak employee, will find himself with no options. The non-elite men who don’t go through great pains to increase their value will simply not procreate, because today’s woman has been trained to score the most valuable man she could possibly get through extended experimentation that may last well over a decade, now with the aid of technology.
    This is difficult to unpack completely. But let’s start with this false equivalence: “The men who are not elite, like a Kodak employee, will find himself with no options.” The absent definition of “elite men” notwithstanding, the internet has not changed the number of women they (“elite men”) can potentially bang, just their set of choices has increased qualitatively.
    For the author’s statement to be true, “elite men” now bang more women and thereby some how removing them from availability to non-elite men. This is false on its face.
    SMV and the sexual market place have not changed. The male and female world still align according to SMV, period. Technology has increased the information available which makes price discovery (SMV) more precise.
    Lastly the breathless and absolute statement that non-elite men have “no options” is also nonsense. Elite-men would have to go without sleep for months on end to remove all the options for non-elite men.

  30. “Is Digital Technology Destroying The Middle Class?” This is not sufficiently a boolean question. There is no external force building nor destroying the middle class. It is all within the actions of each individual. “Digital Technology” can be used by the wise among the middle class to become richer, and can be misused by the foolish among the middle class to become poorer. Use what is available to better yourself. Never blame your downfall on other than your own self.

  31. Creative destruction is a healthy part of economic progress. Some skills are no longer in demand and as such no longer allow you to be part of the middle class.

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