Jeff: “Behold this soon-to-open Dutch road with 21st Century features.”
From Shelly Palmer’s blog:
Google is road testing its self-driving car. Now, Audi and maybe Lexus/Toyota will follow. If this turns out to be true, we will see a significant number of socioeconomic changes. Why own a car when you can just tap an app and have a car drive itself over and pick you up? But there’s more — The idea of aerodynamic trucks that are 40% more fuel-efficient and run 24/7 without union drivers will dramatically change the prices of goods that are delivered over the Interstate Highway system. I could go on forever, but you can too. Self-driving vehicles will change everything.
One more reason we are going to have to figure out how to “share the wealth.” All those cab and bus and truck drivers? One day unemployed?
In 1870, 70% of us were engaged in agriculture. Today, more like 2%. The number of people required to provide essentials — food, shelter, clothing, transport, energy, communications, education* — keeps shrinking. Done right, that should allow more and more of us to experience more leisure (is it really so awful the French get six weeks off?), more and more convenience and security, more non-essentials, shorter waits for the nurse when you press the button by your hospital bed.
But not, I think, if we insist, Ayn Rand-like, that only the super-talented or the super-great-looking or those who own the machinery get the lion’s share of the rewards . . . while your average Jane or Joe, without benefit of minimum wage or collective bargaining or much in the way of wealth-spreading and redistribution — all anathema to some — deserve little more than subsistence. And our contempt.
I have every expectation we’ll make progress toward working it out; and no expectation that I have all the answers. But to those who think raw capitalism with the least possible regulation and the smallest possible government, funded by the lowest possible taxes, are the path to full-employment and the most desirable society . . . I’d ask, what possible evidence do you have?
HERE COMES THE SUN
Because, really, when you look at these folks in a Spanish unemployment office, and watch what unfolds, is it your sense that they are lazy moochers on society; or that the Spanish, along with most of the rest of us, have simply failed to organize things as well as they might have?
*Remember, Harvard may soon have 10 million students and no larger faculty.
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Quote of the Day
The IRS audits about 1 tax return in 100 these days. When 357,598 taxpayers filed the first modern income-tax returns in 1914, they had to sign them under oath before officials. And the Bureau of Internal Revenue audited every one.~The Wall Street Journal
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