After the march for Science: MAKE AMERICA THINK AGAIN!

I was there at the Boston Common at the march form science. I was one among the thousands in support of Science and its vital role in our way of life. I could not agree more with all that I saw and heard. Yet, one poster got my attention the most:

MAKE AMERICA THINK AGAIN!

Every one who truly believes in Science have to step back and think hard on the cause – why we are here marching for Science? It requires analytical thinking and not merely repeating the slogans or expressing anger against one or the other. Science as it was explained by one speaker requires hypothesis, its validation through data leading to conclusions that help us progress or at least better understand the problem we have on hand. Let us practice this thought process on a few of our problems we face today.

Global warming is indeed a problem. It started when China and India started consuming energy in larger quantities. Their means and methods for energy consumption and the emissions are not new. They rely on the same practiced in the Western world for decades.

How did this explosive energy consumption come to be? It started with off shored manufacturing to produce lower cost goods for the Western world. This local economic activity in developing nations was followed by their consuming the same goods – such as automobiles and energy – in larger quantities. The collective effect of all these is more pollution and emissions and global warming.

The scientists and their supporters who marched yesterday can make a commitment that they will buy only products made through clean energy- no matter where they are manufactured – even if it costs a little more. It is the demand of this consuming public and their sacrifice that will push the politicians and business leaders to switch towards solutions leading to a reduction in global warming? Corporations move and make the right decision only when they are impacted at their pocket book.

But, what technology enabled the off shore manufacturing in droves? One would have to conclude the developments in Digital Technology – internet, e-mail, communication services and Digital data and information processing – and their indiscriminate deployment as one among the enablers. Global capitalism was the intended consequence; Global warming is the unintended consequence.

Recently I was speaking with an engineer implementing an automation project using robotics. I asked him, why are you doing this project? His response without hesitation was “I want to eliminate jobs”. I ventured to ask him if he would do this project if it eliminated the job of his friends, family members or neighbors. He seemed amazed at that question. He responded, “My boss wanted me to do this job”!

Every scientist and STEM worker need to understand causality of the growing economic disparity. Developments in Digital Technology (DT) applied without discrimination leads to smart machines with the potential to marginalize human contributions. Contributions of workers through their cognitive skills, their ability to process information as well as through their physical labor. three pathways for human dignity through work are being challenged today.

Any society with meaningful employment and broad economic prosperity is the employer as well as the consumer. Everyone who marched for Science  must come to grip with this reality (i.e.) their developments in Digital Technology must be channeled for the benefit of all, not for the benefit of a few at the exclusion of the many.

One cannot be in support of Science without also being responsible for the larger scope of their work and consequences of their own actions. This responsibility squarely falls on the shoulders of the leaders in Science community. During the march I informally polled a few to see what they understood as “Technology”. Every one gave similar general answers such as something good for the society, where science plays a key role, etc. Then I asked them if I give you $100,000 what stocks will you buy? Every one instinctively said Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. Nobody mentioned GE, P&W, Caterpillar or even Dell or HP! Every scientist needs to ask why is this preference?

Over the past decades the society has begun to accept Digital Technology as the “Technology”. The true meaning of Technology as the integrated outcome of Science, its application (Engineering) and effective exploitation of such use (Management) has been lost in the public discourse. Developments in the field of Nuclear Science are called “Nuclear Technology”. Developments in the field of polymers and plastics are called “Polymer Technology”; Innovation in space exploration is called “Space Technology”. But we obsessively refer to DT as the technology. Then we fail to recognize the developments in DT that preponderantly favor a few workers and their efforts to automate cognitive work and leave majority of citizens of zero economic value.

When thought leaders discuss the societal needs they describe “innovations through Technology” as the savior of the future. Implication here is technology as derived from all fields of sciences and not limited to DT. But when it comes to decision making and risk taking Digital Technology is favored depressing the effect and impact of all other science based technologies. The ills in the abuse of the DT are brushed aside as they are not identified as such.

Society has disdain for the widespread use of Nuclear Technology because of the fear it instills in the mind of the many despite its many positive uses and potentials. But the abusive role of DT enabled smart machines that promote indiscriminate off shoring of processes using energy inefficient and ecologically ill-fated outcomes are not openly addressed. The potential of DT enabled solutions to marginalize human contributions, automating all forms of work (i.e.) Physical, information and cognitive work and leaving society with large swath of citizens without any economic value is not yet fully appreciated and baked into the thinking and planning of thought leaders, large majority of whom are the “Science and engineering” workers.

The role of DT to spread hate and foster home grown terrorists is not met head on. The recent mishap in Facebook and the mild apology from Mr. Zuckerberg is another dimension to this pitfall of the unbridled use of DT. Instead of addressing them head on, they are brushed aside under fallacy and illogical arguments claiming first amendment rights and free speech. An eclectic circuit without proper protection will never be allowed for use by broad public. There are no such restrictions for faulty DT circuits.

Scientists and Engineers cannot merely march and expect solutions to be developed by economists and politicians. They need to start thinking as managers and solution providers and on their own personal roles and through their jobs, projects and outputs that impact the broader issues. Every scientist needs to think as an engineer and a manager and a leader. They cannot wait for someone else to fix the ills of DT dominated society.

Let us Make America Think Again!

 

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Meaningful work

Recently I came across the essay titled: “Meaningful work should not be a privilege of the elite” published in the HBR.  The essay starts with the idea of inclusive prosperity (i.e.) wealth generated by the society and / or the economy should be for all to enjoy. Thought leaders and eminent economists are pursuing these three avenues according to the authors:

  • Re-distribute the rewards of the capitalism thus making the 1% pay for the needs of the 99%
  • Emphasis on over all wellbeing rather than merely in terms of economic well being
  • Prosperity in a society is the accumulation of solutions to human problems.

The authors then branch off to state that prosperity should also include engagement in the act of solving problems (i.e.) in the meaningful nature of work.

In all these discussions the macro and micro aspects of work get mixed up leading to perennial confusion and untold challenges to the society at large. For example: “What is the job that society needs to get done that it turns to competent managers to do”? In this sentence “work” has two distinct meanings: The job that the society needs to get done vs. the job that the manager needs to get done.

  • The job that the society needs to get done:

The job of the society – the work to be done – is to understand the need (i.e.) growing economic disparity as well as the cause for it. Developments in Digital Technology (DT) leads to “smart machines with the potential to marginalize human contributions, automating cognitive work and leaving society with hordes of citizens of zero economic value”. Human being can contribute as workers through their cognitive skills, their ability to process information as well as through their physical labor. All these three pathways for human dignity through work are being challenged today. Society needs to innovate as required with new solutions to address this crisis. The society with meaningful employment and broad economic prosperity is the employer as well as the customer.

Unfortunately customers do not hire anyone to address the economic disparity. The workers in this case are the investors in the society whose single minded goal is to increase the return on their investment. As long as they find ways to achieve their better ROI by eliminating labor cost (I.e.) human centered work that already exists or needed in the future, that will be their first choice.  The net result is the “smart machines with the potential to marginalize human contributions, automating cognitive work and leaving society with hordes of citizens of zero economic value”.

The above situation will be reversed if and only if the society at large realizes that its job is not to favor Digital Technology (DT) as the only “Technology”. Developments in the field of Nuclear Science are called “Nuclear Technology”. Developments in polymers and plastics is called “Polymer Technology”; Innovation in space exploration is called “Space Technology”. Society obsessively refers to DT as the only technology. Then the society fails to recognize the preponderant developments in DT that favor a few workers and their efforts to “automate cognitive work and leaving society with hordes of citizens of zero economic value”.

Yet, when the economists and thought leaders discuss the societal needs they describe “innovations through Technology” as the savior of the future, but the implication here is technology as derived from all fields of sciences and not limited to DT. The ills in the abuse of the DT are brushed aside as they are not identified as such. As an analogy recognize the disdain society has for the use of Nuclear Technology because of the fear it instills in the mind of the many despite its many positive uses and potentials. But the abusive role of DT enabled smart machines with the potential to marginalize human contributions, automating all forms of work (i.e.) Physical, information and cognitive work and leaving society with hordes of citizens of zero economic value is not yet fully appreciated and baked into the thinking and planning of economists and other thought leaders.

The first job or work of the society has to be to recognize this dichotomy and restore due emphasis and value for developments and exploitation of all fields of sciences and their impact for a more prosperous society. This will lead to a point of view that world problems and their needs are our opportunities. Mr. Rob Jones makes the following point in his response to the above essay: Discussions of “meaningful work” seldom include examples of “meaningless work.” Which is more meaningful: a STEM educated Microsoft coder building responsive applications for video gaming, or a ditch-digger working to bring water to a drought-stricken region? Which should get paid more? Which will have the longer lasting positive effects? We would all too often identify the coder as privileged and elite, yet also assign that job the comparative “meaningfulness” that clouds our reasoning and judgment on the nature of given work and its value. That is why hunger, thirst and poverty abound, alongside obesity and gaming addictions. To solve the problem of hunger, thirst and poverty, eventually someone is going to have to pick up a shovel. That’s pretty much what university level work design should teach…and require

  • The job that the managers need to get done:

Not every manager is an economist or thought leader. Every manager is a hired hand to get the job done. They should certainly strive hard to deploy the “increasingly capable machines that enable and empower people to collaborate more effectively, and make learning from experience scalable.”

They should also remind innovators who work for them of the importance of remembering the essential “job to be done” by their offerings – what is it that customers “hire” your product or service to do for them? Their job is not only to produce better goods and services more efficiently, but to organize individuals to collaborate and create together in unprecedented ways.  The business leaders who get that job done will be those who make the most of human potential, and manage to make prosperity inclusive.

In the DT enabled world is there really a distinction between a manager and worker? Aren’t they merely part of a chain or continuum? May be both the manager and the worker need to start thinking that they are part of the same “system”. In fact in a DT dominated world where  the use and value of every worker is threatened, may be it is better for all workers and at all levels to start thinking of themselves as Technology workers, where “Technology” truly means integration of Science, application of Science (Engineering) and exploitation of Science (Management) in every field. For such workers and pool of workers, the opportunities for meaningful work are limitless. Such workers also become very competent in their Transformational Skills.

Developing a framework for Industry – Academia collaboration : A case study

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Education & Training NGPG EM Mar 2017

To address the limited capability among Indian machine tool manufacturers to produce high precision machines, a model on Next Generation Precision Grinder (NGPG) has been developed. This project also illustrates the development of a collaboration frame work to integrate the expertise available with the Indian machine tool manufacturers, academic resources, etc with the knowledge available from across the globe.

Key lessons learned:

  1. Cooperative R&D is entirely possible between industry and academic/R&D institutions in India as long as everyone is focused on the same common goal (i.e.) advancement of academic knowledge that supports commercially viable end results.
  2. Such an approach is most appropriate for medium to long term R&D projects (3-5 years), not those requiring immediate development.
  3. At higher reaches of technology, the scientific inputs can only be brought by academia, since industry – especially the SMEs – mostly does not have the needed resources.
  4. There are tools and resources available from Govt. funded agencies that could be deployed by students and industry professionals. Developing such eco-system enhances efficiency and reduces the total cost and investments needed in such projects.
  5. A structured project with system thinking leading to clearly laid down quantified objectives stands a good chance of success.
  6. There must be a driver each from industry and academia, who make it their personal mission to complete the project successfully.
  7. 7. It is essential for the industry and academic institution to continuously interact and jointly work on the project at every stage. Such collaboration also benefits from engagement of organizations, such as IMTMA and international experts in knowledge integration.
  8. A free exchange of information and data is essential, without being worried about Intellectual Property (IP) confidentiality at every stage. This can be secured through a mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) at the start.
  9. If properly reviewed and managed periodically (as by the PRMC), it is possible to complete such projects within the time and budget allotted.

Understanding the voter resentment is also an opportunity for professionals.

In his essay The Populism Perplex, Mr. Paul Krugman describes the sad reality that Secretary Clinton lost the POTUS election despite her winning over 2 Million of popular votes than the PEOTUS Donald Trump.

Mr. Krugman  describes this reality as a result of news media spending very little time on policy positions and explaining the fundamentals of the economics at work. He conveys his sense of disbelief while explaining the economy and job situation in Kentucky where the uninsured for health care are far fewer today. The jobs lost in the coal country are due to shifts in methods of mining (from underground to surface layers) as well as due to cheap natural gas through fracking. Clinton lost Kentucky heavily when she spoke of this reality and promised to replace the lost jobs through new jobs through renewable energy.

Mr. Krugman concludes:  To be honest, I don’t fully understand this resentment. In particular, I don’t know why imagined liberal disdain inspires so much more anger than the very real disdain of conservatives who see the poverty of places like eastern Kentucky as a sign of the personal and moral inadequacy of their residents. One thing is clear, however: Democrats have to figure out why the white working class just voted overwhelmingly against its own economic interests, not pretend that a bit more populism would solve the problem.

We would like to offer a few thoughts to clarify the situation.

Income can be through wages and non-wage income (through real estate appreciate and making money off money). This is 99 % Vs. 1%. Deriding this gap serves no one any benefit. This grip of the 1% on the 99% can be lessened only though higher taxation of the 1% for the benefit of the 99%. But sadly the country has elected one among the 1% as the next POTUS. This is like hiring a fox to guard the chicken coup.

The 99% make their living through wage income. As we have described in the past, any wage can be earned only through one of three avenues: Professional Skill (ability to develop, deploy and implement a new solution – one could describe this as “Brain power”), Information work (to collect, process, analyze and disseminate information  – one could call this as “Pen Power”) and Physical labor work (one could call this as “Muscle power”). Of these three today one can gain reliable income through Professional Work. Even this situation is precarious as the physical effort and information work content are being depleted routinely through relentless application of Digital Technology and its uses.

The pen power and the muscle power have been diminished substantially as the sources of income through evolution in Digital Technology. This is well understood and well documented in many places. These jobs have literally fallen off the cliff.

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How did we get here? Any organization – place of work – is described as a pyramid. The bottom of any Organization Pyramid is made up of labor work force. Above them are the information workers and then the professional workers. In any organization we use a pyramid to depict that for good reasons. There were always more non-college educated labor workers. The number of college educated white collar information workers is fewer than physical labor workers. The number of professionals required are always far fewer than the other two categories. These work categories have been increasingly stratified since the advent of Digital Technology and its evolution since the late 1970s.

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But when these categories are clearly stratified and mobility across them is limited or eliminated (thanks to the standardized nature of work) now we have the highly divided and polarized America. Most of those with college degrees and professional work live on either coast (East of I – 95 and West of I – 5 corridors) and the rest – non college educated and mostly white, who have lost their jobs in information and labor work, live between these two highways.  Indeed these are also the two polarized groups which have supported Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump respectively.

But this polarization and support for either candidate is not directly correlated to the level of employment as noted in the analysis reported in Fivethirtyeight.com. Instead it is far better correlated with the standardized or repetitive nature of nature of work. More routine and standardized the job, the voter support went for Mr. Trump. The majority of the voters with their work content that is least standardized or routine overwhelmingly went for Secretary Clinton.

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What does this voting pattern tell us? It seems to be directly linked to what we have described as the Binary Economy!

Jobs or wage earning work at any level of skill can be standardized and hence de-skilled using Digital Technology tools. This de-skilling of work can be seen at any job and in any industrial activity and in any sector and in any region of the country. Such de-skilled jobs can also be automated and outsourced. What is left can command only low wages and often below the minimum wage. In these de-skilled jobs the power of the union is minimal as their contribution though skills that cannot be replaced is constantly reduced or eliminated. Industrial Midwest and much of the nation between the east and west coast has not found ways to replace these jobs with higher skill level jobs.

There are few opportunities where the worker can integrate knowledge from many sources and hence offer higher skilled and higher value addition. This knowledge integration is not a matter of higher education alone. While higher education and college degrees help, that is not the minimum requirement. Instead an aptitude for discovery of a need, developing a solution and implementing the same and get paid for that is the new skill required.  The startups culture and the entrepreneurship in the East and the West coast foster such on the job skill development. These are also the voters who see new opportunities in Globalization, alternative energy sources, solutions to counter global warming, etc.  These are the voters who have overwhelmingly voted for the Democrats.

The above skills development are not the Republican or Democratic priorities. Instead these are the priorities of those seeking high wage jobs and better incomes. But Democrats need to find ways to promote such skills development that supports and fosters the “Economy 1” in the Binary Economy model displayed in the figure above. This skill development cuts across all genders, races and economic levels. This new skill development has to be seen as the new Democratic priority. In this respect Senator Sanders’ call to Democrats to go beyond identity politics is correct. But his call that understand that working-class incomes are down, and “stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industry” may be dubious at best since these are obvious action steps without outlining the fundamental reason (i.e.) the relentless need for new skills development and investment policies that will draw on these skills with new job opportunities and solutions focused on that.

Returning to Mr. Krugman’s comment: “To be honest, I don’t fully understand this resentment. In particular, I don’t know why imagined liberal disdain inspires so much more anger than the very real disdain of conservatives who see the poverty of places like eastern Kentucky as a sign of the personal and moral inadequacy of their residents. One thing is clear, however: Democrats have to figure out why the white working class just voted overwhelmingly against its own economic interests, not pretend that a bit more populism would solve the problem”.

The resentment of the voters is not liberal disdain or affirmation of the conservatives. It is certainly against their economic self-interest. It is like the person sinking in the lake grabbing on to any straw no matter how flimsy it may be. Mr. Trump’s promise as an “outsider” to create new jobs and stop the bleeding of jobs from USA through trade agreements are the flimsy straws for the voters who see their demand for their skills – through muscle power and pen power – depleted. Either party that sees the real underlying causes – the polarization of jobs into few high skilled jobs (with decent wages) and large no. of low or no skill jobs (with constant spiral of diminishing wages)  at all levels of the economic activity – and finds answers for that will be rewarded in the long run. In the meantime the elections will be just toss ups governed less by rational choices and more by emotions and irrational events such as hacking and Comey letters.

As we have often said in our columns, the individual workers need not wait for politicians to figure out the evolving Binary Economy and the solutions for that. Instead they can seek out and learn skills for new solutions development. We call these new skills as the System Thinking and Transformational Skills.

What should you do when the thought leaders are so wrong?

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Following is a quote from the recent Meet The Press show on NBC.  http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2016/09/11/meet-press-republican-party-becoming-party-less-educated 

On the show, Brooks warned of “chasms that open up socially” between the well-educated and the poorly-educated, and how you can measure other social aspects with that information. He also shared his worry about what it could mean for an educationally divided country:

And so my question and this is really a serious worry; suppose one party becomes the party of less college and who feel head winds, and that would be the Republican Party, I think. And suppose another party becomes the party of the tail winds because they’ve got college degrees, and that would be the Democratic Party. Suppose our partisan realignment over laps with a class alignment and that to me is extremely problematic for what it says about what’s going to happen.

 His fellow panelist Tom Brokaw concurred with this prediction saying that it goes against all preconceived notions the media had about Republicans.

And also this is a profound shift because the Republicans are representing those who don’t have a college education,” Brokaw explained, “We’ve all grown up with Republicans who are at the high end of the income scale and are the elitists in American life. So this has been turned upside down.

Both David Brooks and Tom Brokaw are well respected national thought leaders. No one can question their wisdom, experience or acumen.  Yet in their above comments one has to believe that they are merely expressing their opinions rather than reasoned factual conclusions (which we expect from these thought leaders).

It is true that a large segment of the population feel the head winds. This is due to the massive standardization and de-skilling of work of any kind and in any sector. This includes manufacturing, accounting, medicine, not to speak of Walmart and McDonald work. This has nothing to do with college degrees. It has everything to do with aptitude, a willingness to put in hard work with our supervision and follow-the-herd mind set. For this skill and work, the salaries are rushing close to the minimum wages. So, even after two jobs in a day, one can not still take care of a family.

In the above scenario college degrees are used today merely as a screening tool as evidence of diligence and ability to follow the rules. If you have these skills you don’t need a college degree.

Large cross section of people who fall in this category are both Democrats and Republicans. Simply because Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton promote ideas on free or affordable college education, those who need such help are not merely Democrats.

Since over 80% of what one needs to know as information (falsely attributed as knowledge) is already available through internet (Google, search engines and social media) the need today is not college education, but a job or solution that needs your services. The smart people are those who can find such opportunities and they can get attached to them. We call them as Transformational Skilled workers. Hillary Clinton has been promoting this kind of skill development through Community Colleges and Vocational Technical Schools.

Those with a blend of academic education (not necessarily a four year college degree), attached to real world needs and opportunities, but with an unending zeal (Transformational) to identify, develop and deliver a stream of new solutions are the few with the tail winds at their back in the new Binary Economy. These few are not Democrats or Republicans. They are both.

Unfortunately the current POTUS election is not a contest for identifying these head winds and tail winds. Instead it is a contest between a demagogue and opportunist (who has already benefited from the tail winds at the expense of many) and a life long Methodist (who believes in social good for as many as she can help).

Also the tail winds favor a few at the expense of the many. This is seen as the rise of the 1% vs. the 99% who suffer the pains of the head winds. Protection for the many against the head winds may need social programs and Government involvement – which would be the Democrat’s preference. Instead people may be left to fend for themselves, while Government steps out of the way – which would be the Republican’s preference. Unfortunately these are not the subjects of debate in the current election cycle, since one candidate (Hillary) has policy proposals, while the other candidate (Donald Trump) has nothing but lot of words with little in terms of policy alternatives.

Tail winds can be taken advantage of by individuals to lift their own boats. This is the preference by Republicans (through their preference for tax cuts for the rich). Benefit of the tail winds can be used by sharing for larger common good (through tax increase for the rich). This is preferred by the Democrats. This may be the only policy difference one can see between the two parties.

Some of those who benefit from the tail winds are clearly noted in the media. The many “Pundits” who offer constant opinions on news, TV and social media are not necessarily the highly educated – with reasoning and logic  as their core values – but instead are those who have a drive and will to appear in as many media outlets as they possibly can and repeat or regurgitate what is already known over and over again. We can only hope that scholars and thought leaders like David Brooks, and Tom Brokaw will not fall into that category of media opportunists who express their opinions as facts.

 

 

 

How to bring back the jobs that are “never coming back”?

The conventions are over and the 2016 POTUS election is now in the final stretch. Stagnant wages and increasing concentration of the wealth will continue to be the case irrespective of who wins the race and reached the White House. This is the sad reality as reflected in the article titled “What to do about jobs that are never coming back” in the latest issue of TIME magazine (August 1, 2016 – Page23):

“Rapidly emerging economic order in which automation and ever smarter artificial intelligence will make even cheap foreign labor obsolete and give rise to a society that will be highly productive – except at creating new jobs. Today’s persistently stagnant wages and rageful populism are early signs of the trouble this could generate”

Here are a few thoughts for both the Republicans as well as Democrats. Independents have to be concerned about this as well.

We have been concerned about this development for over three decades. Our two books titled:

address this development and also how individuals can cope with the same. Please see the links below for details:

https://stimsinstitute.com/2016/05/24/donald-trump-is-smart-is-america-smarter/

https://stimsinstitute.com/2016/07/11/president-obama-gets-it-then-what/

In summary:

  •  “At a time when computers can do everything (read, write, speak, calculate, analyze, decide and direct), professionals and companies have to do something more!  This requires System Thinking and Transformational Skills
  • At a time when the products and services of any company have to serve one of two extremes – (a)High Volume and Lowest Cost or (b) High Value and Unique Capability – with no survival in the middle, companies and enterprises need to adapt System Thinking and Transformational Skills  to survive and succeed in this Binary Economy     

           – Dr. K. (Subbu) Subramanian, President

But our purpose of writing this blog  is larger than the issue of individual coping skills in this emerging new economic order.

While “Manufacturing” will continue to be a source of economic growth and employment, clearly the employment opportunities through manufacturing WILL NOT be as large as needed to address the larger populations and their needs. This will have serious impact for developed nations and developing nations alike:

For countries like India it will require economic policies that go beyond mere reliance on Manufacturing sector or “Make in India” as the sole growth engine for the future.

The Western or developed economies and industrial developments have largely been based on a simple model: “The economic success of an individual is judged by how large (limitless) one can consume energy”! – The richer you are, you own and enjoy bigger house, bigger planes, more cars, boats, ….”  These are also countries with small population size. Their emphasis on manufacturing are also related to products and services that support such energy intensive needs.

Today developing nations – India, China, …- seem to be copying the same models (with more reliance on cars, planes, highways, airports, ….). In fact copying this energy intensive opulence can be seen when the rich conduct their family weddings on board the airplanes! Investments in support of the above model benefits a very small fraction of the population – as one can expect – at the expense of the unmet needs for the larger population in the developing nations as well as the developed nations.

Unfortunately consultants and world economic planners view every growth from this lens of energy consumption intensive opulence. If the highways and airports are not in par with the “developed” nations then such countries are deemed under-developed! Add this unbridled copying of the energy intensive economic opulence model together with the relentless role of IT – Digital technology in a broad sense – to replace any and all human intensive work which leads us to the conclusion as  quoted above from the TIME Magazine article ” Rapidly emerging economic order in which automation and ever smarter artificial intelligence will make even cheap foreign labor obsolete and give rise to a society that will be highly productive – except at creating new jobs.”

One can see the writing on the wall ! Then what is the way out?

In a “Global Economy” the problems of any one has to be come the problems of all. USA as a world leader has to assume responsibilities for the global problems: World wide need for food, shelter, drinking water, energy efficiency, ecology, etc. Attempts to solve these problems of all also provide plenty of opportunities for high wage jobs and employment for highly skilled professionals.

These jobs created by the government will stay within the shore and create better employment in USA. Their outcomes when globalized will benefit every one and more economic opportunities for the private sector. Take for instance the GPS, developed with federal funding. It is now used by every one across the globe. Hence here are our suggestions:

Invest in areas to (a) educate and (b) employ a large number of skilled professionals, who are also educated and trained on  System Thinking with Transformational Skills.

Start thinking of “Technology” not limited to IT This is not the the current or prevailing notion.

Start thinking of all Physical Technologies as means to solve a wide variety of problems and meet a broad range of needs of the global populationThis would be like investing through NASA, NIH, Transportation, Space, etc. but many times over!

 These programs must be targeted not only for the immediate needs of the nation, but for the larger needs of the globe as a whole: Drinking water, food, home and shelter, better climate, low cost energy, better use of natural resources, better use of the ocean and the outer space, renewable energy, etc. Pollution in China need not be a crisis for China alone! Lack of adequate food distribution and hence hunger need not be India’s problem alone!

Global leadership requires ownership of global needs!

Where does the money for this come from? The unbridled use across the globe of developments inside of USA based on Physical  Technology  has given rise to unlimited wealth for investors who exploit the use of such developments across the globe, enabled by IT applications and their capabilities. These are the “new riches” of Globalization today that go with out being taxed.

GOP and the conservatives do not wish to tax the hard earned income of individuals. We agree with that. But the “new riches” – the non-wage income generated by investors – can not fall in the same category of income as that of the wage earners and their reward for their hard work.

Democrats believe that workers do not get living wages and the minimum wages have to go up. We agree with that as well. But beyond that individual income has to come from individual efforts and not government support. As an example we agree that “Debt free education” is better than “Tuition free education”.  Beyond that Government has an unique role to create New Jobs for skilled workers. These can be pursued as follows:

 

Investment for new high skill jobs that has to come from the federal government, since federal jobs can be protected and preserved to remain within the shores. Like the peace core that created good-will across the globe, we need Professional Core of high wage workers that can work in the USA and create a stream of new solutions based on a wide variety of technologies (beyond IT) for the betterment of the human kind across the globe as well as for a better planet tomorrow.

To this end Non-Wage income earners can contribute through higher taxes and the government can target this additional income for creating such high wage jobs.

The workers in these high wage jobs through their system thinking and Transformational skills have to be truly mindful of the outcome of their work and not become government employed bureaucrats merely pushing papers and administering programs, as they are perceived to be in the current work force.

The Men of America

Triangle of Skills

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The article titled Election 2016: The men America has left behind, in the CNN – Election 2016: Your money, your vote section is misleading on many ways.

In the first place, America did not leave behind any one. America as a nation is made up of people, who work in the country and get paid for AND the business men who run the companies and employ these workers. So, the article should be titled: The men that American businesses have left behind.

America is not a socialistic or communist country where everyone gets taken care of by “America” (i.e.) the US government and hence the POTUS and the US Congress. It is a Democracy – of the people, by the people and for the people. Hence the more appropriate title may be: The men of America who let themselves to be left behind. These American men were happy to be paid good wages as long as they had a job where they could use their physical labor in the factory floor. This is very well illustrated in the GE commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xGoBlI_fdg These skills – the muscle power – has always been available everywhere across the globe. Being born or living in the US does not guarantee the use or need for these skills. These men always used their brawn, but never used their innate skills to think and analyze what is happening around them. They let business men like Donald Trump take their jobs across the globe. Now they are being conned by the same business leader to think that it is everybody else’s fault, except theirs. The focus is on men only because there were more men than women using their brawn in our factory floors. But, the issues and being conned are the same for the women as well as the men of America. Also these men were idle or willing to let the state governments weaken the unions and their bargaining power, while the crony capitalism was also growing. Democracy does not succeed if the voters do not exercise their vote or uneducated on policies that affect them or swayed by cable news and radio talk shows and reality TV.

The title could also be The Men of America left behind by “Technology”. It is sad but true that everyone has been conned to accept that the word “Technology” stands for Digital Technology or IT. This technology is useful to take the power of information away from many people into the hands of a few. This has dramatically reduced the number of white collar jobs. This impact has been largest in the US first, but it is sweeping its impact across the globe. With the automation of information the men of muscle power could also be replaced by lower cost labor from Mexico, China, … all padding the pockets of business men like Donald Trump, with more profit. I

The title could also be The Men of America left behind by intellectuals and policy makers across the globe. The word Technology stands for integrated use of Science, Engineering and Managnment in any discipline. While America continues to make progress in a few other technology areas besides IT, the time and investments needed in many more technologies – for alternative fuels, clean air and water, controlling the global warming, space exploration, under water exploration, eradicating hunger, thirst and poverty across the globe, peace through prosperity in Middle East, …. – is far less than the jobs being taken away by the relentless use of IT in the current work place.

The title could also be The Men of America being misled by Donald Trump. No matter how much Mr. Trump promises, he cannot make America great again, by forcing US businesses to “make” things in America. It is only a matter of time that some manufacturing jobs will be returning to US due to natural economic forces (with or without Mr. Trump). But, they will not be for these men of muscle power. They will be for the few who with skills to work in an automated factory floor with robots and AGVs and networked machines and systems.

The title could also be The Men of America lured by cheap products at Walmart. While the US business men were attracted and even addicted to low cost labor, the US population has been equally attracted to lower cost items – made in China – available in places like Walmart. No one gets anything for nothing. Lower cost products at Walmart also mean lower cost labor from China and Mexico and lower cost of white collar labor every where.

May be the title can also be The Men of America who think college education is their savior. This is the myth propagated by the media and fueled by free college for all by Mr. Bernie Sanders. College education, even if it is free may not be the answer for a large majority of American workers. Yes, it is a definite pathway but only for a few.

May be the tile could be Men of America who are not learning some skills – to be a solution provider – for locally accessible jobs. Following quote from the same CNN Money article is relevant here:

Meanwhile, unlike some of his fellow factory workers, Cavins is determined to get a good job. He’s betting that a yearlong course in industrial maintenance will give him the skills needed to work in heating and cooling services, which his online searches found can start at $40,000 a year. He’s willing to leave Scioto County and work anywhere … in a hospital, factory, school or water supply facility, for instance. One day, he’d like to start his own business. …… The program, offered at Scioto County Career Technical Center, costs nearly $10,000 and has placed 95% of its graduates over the past two years in jobs that typically earn between $31,000 and $40,000 annually. To finance it, Cavins received a federal Pell Grant for $5,900 and took out two loans.  ….   “I didn’t think I’d get anywhere without learning a trade,” said Cavins, who graduates in September. “I want to give my family better than what I had. I want to try to break the cycle and not live on disability.”

May be the title could be: Men of America that the country and US policies left behind, due to crony capitalism, Republican obstruction in the Congress for infra-structure investment and false hope on higher education at the expense of free or affordable training for employable skills development. Perhaps for the time left before the November election, the presidential candidates can propose and develop support for such training. Community Colleges in collaboration with local companies and employers can offer such training. The companies who collaborate on such training can be given tax subsidies as their incentive? Free community college education proposed by the POTUS can be for such targeted training and not for open ended education?

For more details on how these men – working middle class – were left behind, please read: The System Approach – A strategy to survive and succeed in the global economy  ;

Thriving in the 21st Century Economy – Transformational skills for technical professionals.