Andy Kessler, whose take on things I generally like, recently wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal called, “Robots, 3-D Printers and Other Looming Innovations.”
In it he posed the question of whether the internet and other disruptive trends have destroyed more jobs than they’ve created. Could innovation actually be fueling the stubborn unemployment that has persisted in much of the country?
But Kessler was merely tossing some rhetorical “chum” into the waters to bait naysaying Luddites. Sure, people are hurting now, Kessler noted, and probably more jobs have been destroyed than created, but eventually things will more than even out, so suck it up!
Kessler then delivered his list of future job creating “game changers” with the certitude of a preacher sermonizing to his flock (it’s WSJ, after all).
But, Kessler’s truth ignores a messy paradox; namely, that while the innovations of tomorrow are most certainly worth working toward, that doesn’t obviate the parallel truth that the depth and duration of pain being experienced throughout much of the country is chronic, systemic, and arguably, must also be dealt with.
Reassessing the calculus of ‘value’
There is a Koan that is running through my head. Maybe you can help me suss it out.
In an era where cheap, commoditized and free are celebrated as democratizing virtues of plenty, when does a shirt for $6.99 cease being an asset, and when does it become a liability?
Read the full post at GigaOM by clicking HERE.
UPDATE: Fred Wilson of AVC (and Union Square Ventures) has blogged on my piece on Jobs and the Economy.