The Technological Arms Race and the Middle Class

Over the last few days there’s been some rumblings in the blogosphere about whether technology will or won’t destroy the middle class.

There was this piece in the Washington Post by James Bessen arguing that although there might be short-term disruption, there will be plenty of work in the future for the middle class.

This was countered by Kevin Drum in Mother Jones who argues that you can hardly compare the technological changes that have happened in the past, with what is currently happening with regards to computing.

You can look throughout history and see plenty of cases of technology disrupting an industry, and humans scurrying off to find some other economic corner to exploit. The people arguing against structural unemployment are saying that this process can continue indefinitely. My own feeling is that everyone is competing now, whether they like it or not, using technology. The economic spoils will go to the people that recognise that they are in a technological arms race, rather than those who refuse to accept it.