Tuesday, September 3, 2013



By Bill Kraus

The good news is that almost everyone who is planning to run for office in 2014 has said that he or she will focus on one issue: jobs.

Does this mean that we will be spared the personal demonization and negative attack advertising that has become a staple of 21st century political campaigning? Nobody is promising that, but we can hope.

In any event the subject of this discourse is jobs not smash mouth politics, and the good news is not as good as one may hoped.

Jobs were on everyone's short agenda in 2012 and 2010.

I quickly concluded that talk about jobs was just that. Talk.

On a few occasions when I got to ask a question of a job promising-candidate, I asked, "What jobs? For whom? Making how much?"

The only specific answer was, incredibly, "We need 400,000 more welders."

The other common answer was wishful thinking: "Manufacturing jobs are coming back." Those mass production jobs that haven't been taken over by robots are probably headed for the third world--like Africa--which many experts are saying is the logical destination for mass production.

I didn't get to ask any of the many follow up questions that occurred to me.

Maybe the answers will be better next year. Maybe candidates have asked experts, read books, or thought more deeply about the possibility that there are no easy answers to the question. Maybe they are willing to discuss the possibility that the technology revolution of our time is as revolutionary as or more revolutionary than the industrial revolution was a couple of centuries ago.

Will any candidate talk about a back-to-the-future world where mass production is mostly elsewhere and where our economy is driven by change, flexibility, entrepreneurship, and individualism where 200 people providing one job each will be more common than one person providing 200 jobs?

Will any candidates be familiar with disaggregation?

If so, what will they have to say about the EducationTrainingRegulatingFunding Infrastructure governments will have to imagine for the new, next economy?

If they're still blowing smoke about 400,000 welders, vote for someone else. Vote for someone who realizes that the technology revolution is going to be just as disruptive as the industrial revolution was.

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