One of the gloomier American narratives of our time is the possibility that Millennials will not prosper as their Boomer parents have. We assume that the obvious question in response to this is “Why?” as if Millenials are the paltry exception to a trend of ever increasing prosperity. But what if the question is “Why not?” as if the inevitability of their situation weren’t already baked in before they were born?
It only took us 20 years to understand that digital readers get “easily distracted, flitting from link to link, and a little allergic to depth.” By contrast, if you’ve paid hard cash for a newspaper and it’s the only thing in front of you, aren’t you going to get your money’s worth? Are you going to check Google News on your phone while you’re scouring box scores? Indeed, “In print, newspapers had few if any competitors. Online, they have infinite competitors.” This is the Achilles heel of making money from digital content.
For Apple, Google, Facebook, and Tesla, the future looks like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Tesla. I’m pretty sure that the future—particularly an AI future—will look nothing like what the tech moguls have already built. They’d be as likely to nail the future of AI as J. D. Rockefeller would be speculating on how to get to the Moon. If this is even sort of true then we should question our expectation that the tech moguls of today know enough to really know whether AI will be beneficial on net or not.
A lot more people think they’re middle-class than actually are. This is because “middle-class” is as much an ideology as it is a salary range. By “ideology” I mean a “way of thinking” that justifies how one thinks and acts. It’s interesting that neither “lower-class” nor “upper-class” are ideologies. Neither has need for it. Both understand the true nature of class warfare. It's crucial that the middle class remains oblivious.
We sense that something has gone wrong, that our way of doing things has been disrupted by its own rules. That everything we’ve built over all this time is more fragile than it should be. We may even feel some low-frequency trauma that we might not have it as well as our parents or grandparents. What Pinker might dismiss as “un American gloominess” shouldn’t dissuade us from thinking through to some clarity about whether Enlightenment values are still sustainable, even though Enlightenment institutions are still going strong.
Today: Low productivity, trade war, no money control, Hume this!, YubiKey, Neoliberalism is dying, benefits torch wages, Mises!, curse you Western philosophy!, and a child abuse contrarian. Come get some.
Today: Ever Wonder What Happened To Deficit Hawks?, The End Of Chimerica, How Not To Think About Atheists, and Here’s Looking At You...Kid?