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What Our Grandchildren Will Do When the Jobs Are Gone


What Our Grandchildren Will Do When the Jobs Are Gone

Paul Buchheit

The jobs reports would have us believe our rebound from the recession is almost complete. The reality is very different, and The Economist has some fancy words for it: "Job polarisation," where middle-skill jobs decline while low-skill and high-skill jobs increase, and while the workforce "bifurcates" into two extremes of income.


Good article except no mention was made of basic income. There will be about one job for every ten people by the middle of the century due to a variety of reasons. Does this mean that the other 90% should starve? Though starvation of the unemployed works out very well for corporate profits, it is a sad commentary on how society has failed to provide a government for the people. Though American society can easily afford to pay all workers at least $20 an hour, this would do nothing for the people who cannot find a job. Therefore a guaranteed income for the 90% is not only humane, but necessary if we're are to survive beyond a cruel and subsistent existence created for us by the corporization of our society.
The good news is that the money is there to provide this expansive social safety net. The bad news is that our corporate selected government will do whatever they can to maintain the status quo. The 99% could somehow seize control of the government in the distant future, but the control of the mainstream media has proven to be very effective at dumbing down the population. Our best hope at reversing this cycle of political discrimination against the 99% was to educate our young about the perils of a consumer driven economy, but even as I write this, our public school system is under siege from the corporate behemoths that that despise and fear an informed citizenry. Therefore we have to look for grass root alternatives if we're able to survive this corporate assault to make "America great again" to the days when men could own other men and might is right. If we fail to face this challenge to inject humanity into the daily routines of all of us, then we will usher in a new 'dark age' that will eventually kill us all.


Maybe it will become like the computer "Hal" in that famous movie.

The artificial intelligence will start replicating the machinery itself, and then all people can be eliminated; robot Congress, robot President, robot Supreme Court Justice, robot CEO, robot policeman (oops!) robot suburbanites (000ps). Who needs people when ya' got machines?


Thank you so much, Paul Buchheit. You continue to beat the drum. Some amazing stats in this article.


And the common response to a lack of people with skills for the's jobs is not to work with state governments to devise training programs, but to hire more workers from other countries. Vermont has a program to help employers recruit and train, but this is just a start, and it'seems designed to help corporations, not workers.

This is a huge area for improvement at state levels, and there is so much to be done that anything would be an improvement. But no government cares. Look at online job listings, (not fake ones, like monster) and for the good jobs ask yourself: where do people go for the training for them, even if they know in high school this is what they want to do? And for the majority of students, guidance counselors are no help, and they don't even know most of these jobs exist.


As Space_cadet mentions, we will need a basic income, but we will always have work that is worth doing. I live on a farm. I could work 24/7 and still not come close to doing all the work that I would like to see done. My vision of the future that I think we should work towards is a higher minimum wage than most places now have, but there is likely a limit of not too high. We need Medicare for All for sure. Then we need a government program where anyone can show up to work anytime they wish for however long and do something valuable. That kind of work would pay less than minimum wage because of the flexibility and because most of that kind of work would be less important 'beautification' work and the like, but it would allow those trying to live on a basic income to have a chance to supplement a Spartan income life style with something nicer.


Good article. I've been asking this question for years...where will people work? A provided income is one answer I guess, but most people I know would be miserable without work.


I was reading an interview with economist Robert Pollin, in which he said, "But in Germany, average manufacturing wages are about 30 percent higher than the US, businesses are much more heavily regulated, and unions are much stronger. Yet Germany is a manufacturing export powerhouse. How could that be?" And this reminds me of a book by Geohegan, Only One Thing will Save Us, claiming that workers in Europe are trained in multiple skills and are respected for this advanced skill base, are given greater rights and power with seats on corporate boards. Pollin also claims that there are 24 million non-fully-employed adults in the U.S., a large jump from the official 7.5 million unemployed measure. NJFAC.org puts it at about 19 million. We have the resources to train any number of workers for any job. There is over $92 trillion in private savings in the U.S., and the annual GDP is about 1/5th this amount. I should buy Paul B.'s new book The Disposable American.


Tax and collect FICA revenues for each robot installed in workplaces that replace a worker. Besides having jobless workplaces, we can expect to have ciytizenless 'democracy' as well. Aren't we all already suspects now?


We need a big change in this government for this country to survive.

There will be less jobs in the future ,due to robots.

Companies are closing because people don't have money to spend for
their products.

I am a vet whose birthday is the day that WW2 started. I survived a
number of close calls including getting close enough to see Russian
nuclear Rockets.

I have learned two things about the military ,when the generals have
an army they have a tendency to want to use them and when they made
the military all volunteer that they're not sending their kids to get

The Republicans are in charge right now and they want to destroy all
social programs.

What if the Democrats offered to the Republicans a trade;


1) SS

2) unemployment pay

3) min wage

4) snap

5) homeless money

6) unions

7) All charities tax deductions (5O1c’s) maybe all tax deductions,
they don’t help the poor.

8) all benefits by companies, just pay wages

Trade for;

$500 a week,per person up to18 ,$100 a week each kid, under a $100,000
,no income tax on it

Free pub school

Free Medicare for all +drugs

Transaction tax of 20% ????

If people were to receive $500 a week per person up to 18 ,$100 a week
each kid, Free pub school, Free Medicare for all +drugs, there would
be no need for Social Security ,unemployment payments ,minimum wage
,food stamps ,money for homeless ,unions and many other things.

Workers would not need unions or minimum wages, because they could
tell the company to shove it if the company was not fair.

There would be no need for workman's comp because free Medicare for all.

Vets could go to any hospital. Make the politicians use the same
insurance as the people..

Do away with all tax deduction, they don’t help the poor people.

Set a max of 40% of GDP, for the military…..

There must be a tax on Wall Street to take the control of company s
away from Wall Street.

I’m sure this will get a response from a lot of people. Would
like to hear more ideals.


A third party. The Neo-Luddites.


Call it a revolutionary preposition

We need to move from working "for" another

To working "with" each other


Some good ideas, but you see, a right wing reptilian brain is unable to do things that make sense. They are programmed to do stupid things.


With a 20% transaction tax there would be no transactions to tax. Would you buy a stock or mutual fund if you had to start out 20% in the hole?


Calif just gave many tech companies large tax breaks--many of these companies are developing robots and driver less vehicles-how much government money is going to schools to put people out of work????

We should move to an economy where the basics are cheap creating economic freedom.

Students in school should learn the fundamentals of building a home and farming----people should be encouraged to have home gardens----create a surplus of food from small growers. The gov should pay people to build homes---a community thing-so no one is homeless------the property tax on people owning a small house and small amount of land should be nothing------those wanting a huge house and large amounts of land should face a large tax.------Also people who think its cool to have lots of kids should pay a tax for those extra kids----I will never understand how having five kids gets a person all kinds of tax breaks---Wall street likes large families because it increases consumption and locks people into wage slavery.

The internet should be a public utility---solar should be developed and encouraged--Gov Brown remember a book called small is beautiful????????


The 99% currently have the power; no need for a generational change (in the sense that it would take at least a generation to effect desired change) when the answer is the most simple of all: economic boycotts. The power elites run on money and on extensions of its influence to control social organization, including divisions and suppressions of peoples increasingly on a unified global order (economy). Since elitist thought is fundamentally a concern about wealth, and because the conduit for the flow of wealth is money (money is the formal link between the more-than-haves and the increasing in number have nots), it means that the spigot of wealth indeed originates with the have-less and the problem becomes how to direct its flow upward. Boycotts of identified elites' products and services stops the flow before it gets upwardly directed and progressively strangles its enterprise and the well being of its benefactors. Boycotts are devastating--don't think otherwise. They can ruin corporations and personal fortunes. The problem is replacing the thinking expressed above that reflects an approach to dissent that respects the present political order (i.e., plays by the rules) with one that does not. You don't hear about boycotts (rather "resistance") because the establishment is terrified that the word about them might get out. The elites are betting that the current unrest will fizzle; if it does it will because its methods were conventional. You can't slay the serpent by stomping your political feet. You have to cut its economic head off. In a world organized about a cult of money there is no other way.


A couple of problems there:

  • what about persons over 18?
  • currently the US GDP is $16 trillion, the military budget is about $600 billion, that's way under 40%


Yes, survival of the fittest including the stronger and more mentally fit.


That has been done before.


Gee, who's gonna pay for this free stuff- you????