Too Many American Men are on Disability

It isn’t American men manufacturing the products being unloaded here, Mr.

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It isn’t 3D printing or robots killing our jobs.

“Already, there are more American men on disability insurance than doing production work in manufacturing.”— Larry Summers, former secretary of treasury under President Clinton, president of Harvard University, and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors for President Obama.

Mr. Summers makes this statement in his gushing review of Thomas Piketty’s “book of the moment,” “Capital in the Twenty First Century” on DemocracyJournal.org

But his additional remarks have us scratching our heads: “It will be the devastating consequences of robots, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and the like for those who perform routine tasks. And the trends are all in the wrong direction, particularly for the less skilled, as the capacity of capital embodying artificial intelligence to replace white-collar as well as blue-collar work will increase rapidly in the years ahead.”

In Mr. Summers’ view, technology is the job killer—blue and white collar alike.

And yet, according to Salon, “Summers is on the board of Square, an electronic payment service, and Lending Club, a peer-to-peer lending firm. Since 2011, he has also been a special advisor to the Silicon venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz.” 

Why blame the very technologies that you are profiting from? One possible reason: To deflect attention from the free trade policies and failures to enforce level playing fields in trade and currency on his watch.

So why are more American men on disability than doing production work in manufacturing?

  • Failure of federal government to deal with currency manipulation
  • Free trade agreements that facilitated the wholesale elimination of US manufacturing industries and jobs
  • Increased ease of qualifying for disability
  • Failure to understand and value manufacturing as a national economic factor
  • Mass insistence on college over a career in skilled trades

If United States is to remain economically vital, perhaps we need to address why we have more American men on disability than doing production in manufacturing.

I thank Mr. Summers for bringing this problem to our attention. Why do you think we have more US men on disability than working production in manufacturing?

 

Originally posted at PMPAspeakingofprecision.com blog.