To further that point, I heard recently there are more unfilled jobs than unemployed adults in this country for the first time ever. But many of the unemployed don't possess the skill set necessary to fill these positions. Simply investing in education would allow most people to advance beyond where they are now.
I haven't been following this thread terribly closely, but has the effects of technology on wage stagnation been discussed? It seems to me that much of the increase in productivity over the past 60 years has been secondary to dramatic increases in technology. If that's true then that explains the wage stagnation, companies put the money where it gains the most increases in productivity. And if that's the case, there's no solution to it, because companies are going to continue to put their money where they have the most gains.
I just found this article from Harvard Business Review that speaks to both of these points and has a pretty optimistic outlook. Basically, they are saying that technology increases worker productivity and wages but that it takes quite awhile for the worker to adapt to the technology:
But are we really at an historical turning point? No. In fact, the present is not so different than the past. Throughout history, major new technologies were initially accompanied by stagnant wages and rising inequality, too. This was true during the Industrial Revolution in the early nineteenth century and also during the wave of electrification that began at the end of the nineteenth century. However, after decades these patterns reversed; large numbers of ordinary workers eventually saw robust wage growth thanks to new technology.
The initial power loom—one of the transformative technologies of the Industrial Revolution—automated weaving tasks, allowing a weaver to produce twice as much cloth per hour. But over the next century, weavers improved their skills and mechanics and managers made adaptations and improvements, generating a twenty-fold increase in output per hour. Most of the gains from this technology took a long time to realize, and involved the skills and knowledge of many people. Similarly slow progress was seen in steam engines, factory electrification, and petroleum refining. More recently, it took decades for computers to show up in the productivity statistics.
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