I won't hold my breath for any recognition within my university. The latest was an email from my dean who pooh-poohed my work and external recognition with a note on how I need to work on "scholarly activities." I.e., my public scholarship is not "scholarly activities." I figured that his email is best ignored--no reply. I hope at some time--sooner than later--he and the rest will understand that intellectual onanism is not necessarily what "scholarly" means.
In many op-eds and blog-posts over the years, and in classroom discussions with students, I have been worrying a lot about automation's impact on jobs and incomes. My bottom-line to students has always been that they will experience a fantastic future thanks to automation, but that jobs--and well-paying jobs, in particular--might not be easy to come by. "It could be a challenging future" is what I typically tell them. But, like my faculty and administrative colleagues, most students too do not listen to me. Why should they, when they hear from those faculty and administrators that awesome jobs wait for college graduates!
This POTUS does nothing to help people understand the rapidly changing employment scene. He
Trump knows virtually nothing about technology — other than a smartphone, he doesn’t use it much. And the industries he’s worked in — construction, real estate, hotels, and resorts — are among the least sophisticated in their use of information technology. So he’s not well equipped to understand the dynamics of automation-driven job loss.One does not need to even work in the information industry, or in manufacturing, in order to understand the impact of automation. Consider, as a contrast, the former POTUS, whose experiences were shaped elsewhere--"community organizing" that the unprincipled Republicans always ridiculed:
“The next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas,” Mr. Obama said. “It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good, middle-class jobs obsolete.”
Even if he is informed enough, the current POTUS does not want to talk about automation because that will mean speaking truth with people. And he has made it immensely clear that truth is nowhere in his mind, ever. While he makes a grand spectacle out of his "negotiations" over plant closings and offshoring,
automation-related job loss is difficult to negotiate about. It’s the silent killer of human labor, eliminating job after job over a period of time. Jobs often disappear through attrition. There are no visible plant closings to respond to, no press releases by foreign rivals to counter. It’s a complex subject that doesn’t lend itself to TV sound bites or tweets.
If only his people will understand this:
Technology delivers its benefits and harms in an unequal way. That explains why even though the economy is humming, it doesn’t feel like it for a large group of workers.
The solutions to this are not simple, and "they’re not easily summarized in a sound bite." Certainly not in 140 characters!