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I am still grappling with the idea that Bill Gates was musing about a robot tax to, in part, “slow down the speed of that adoption somewhat to figure out, okay, what about the communities where this has a particularly big impact?”
My thinking is more in line what that of venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, as he explained in a recent a16z podcast:
I actually think, I’m sort of a complete contrarian, a radical in this point, the problem we have today is not too much technological innovation at all. The problem overwhelmingly is that we don’t have enough. The reason I say that so confidently is if we had higher productivity growth, we’d have higher economic growth. If we had higher economic growth, we’d have higher job creation, faster rising incomes, we would have more opportunity for people, and people would be more optimistic about the future. Instead because we don’t have enough technological change hitting the economy, we don’t have enough growth. Because we don’t have enough growth, people don’t sense opportunity, and then that translates into zero-sum politics. And in the Valley, that translates to “If I’m gaining somebody else must be losing,” which is this wave of sort of anti-tech politics actually playing out in the tech industry. And in the rest of the country, it’s translating into “I am not doing well and it must be somebody’s fault.” And I just think the zero-sum mentality is the dangerous thing. We’re all at risk from all sides of the ideological spectrum right now.
Conservatism as a practical matter seems dead in America as far as the eye can see. … If nothing else the exceeding narrow victory of Donald Trump may best be understood as the last gasp of a dying conservatism that has been destroyed by American liberalism. … American conservatism was ultimately a failure because it advanced a liberalism that has now been visibly revealed to be fundamentally destructive of the fabric of the lives of a wide swath of countrymen, particularly those who are in many respects by design the “losers” in the liberal order.
Now by “conservatism” he means American conservatism — or basically a variant of classical liberalism — and it’s embrace of technological progress and creative destruction and globalization. But we just held an election which demonstrated what happens people don’t feel that there’s opportunity to improve their lives and those of their kids. Economic stagnation hardly seems an antidote here. To quote the authors of the “Innovation Illusion”: “Societies that do not inspire people to imagine the possibility of a better future inevitably decay.”
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