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A while back I posted a diary about how digitalization, convergence, and automation are creating an unprecedented reduction in employment.  Yesterday, I compared two companies in the same industry in order to point out the disparity in worker productivity.  Either time, I heard from people who pointed out that I was falling prey to the Luddite Fallacy, and that new technologies and new industries will come around and create new employment opportunities.

Being that this has become something of an obsession in my futurist brain, I spent this morning crunching the numbers even more, and the results are nothing more than alarming.  The jobs are disappearing and they are not coming back; at least not in a way that will get us anywhere near full employment ever again.

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In the ongoing discussions about unemployment and how to get people back to work, the issue of automation is, in my opinion, too often ignored.  Politicians and the media tend to get focused on red meat topics like off-shoring and NAFTA, all the while brushing aside what I believe to be the largest challenge to current employment, let alone job growth.

Case in point:  Company A has been in existence for nearly a half-century, and generates slightly over $192,000 in revenue per employee.  Company B has been around for fifteen years, and generates nearly $1.18 million in revenue per employee.

Here is the rub:  Both Company A and Company B are in the exact same industry.

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Amidst all of the animated discussion about what it will take to create millions of jobs today's climate, there is plenty of talk about what are the best means to do so, whether they be infrastructure spending, tax cuts, education, etc.  One thing that I have noticed is missing from the discussion is the concept of paradigm shift.  We are in the early stages of the shift from the information age to the digital age, and the unprecedented, exponential upswing in creative destruction is likely to eliminate more jobs than can be created in the years to come.

Come past the fold for more.  I would suggest, however, that the Luddites stay out; this may be too much for them to take.

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This started a couple of hours ago and is continuing into the evening.  Not really sure who this person is, other than we went to high school and she looks really good in a bikini.  Names will be withheld to protect the innocent and/or ignorant.

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Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:47 PM PDT

It's the Hannity & Beck Show!

by jeffinfremont

Lately, it seems that the right wing punditocracy is throwing about terms as if they were interchangeable.  One day a guy's a socialist, the next day he's a communist, one week later he's a fascist, and who knows what's next:  A collectivist Stalinist neo-bolshevist?

For some reason, the whole thing reminded me of a classic comedy bit.  That being said, I offer you a re-imagining for our modern times:  Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck in "Who's a Socialist?"

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I recently caught wind of this event, which is to be held this Friday.  Mr. Beck is encouraging his viewers to gather together to watch some sort of presentation on FOX News at 5pm EDT.  At first glance, it might just seem like some sort of attempt to rally the conservative base, but based upon the timing, I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't something more insidious going on.

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Every weekday, it seems to happen:  The Dow Jones Industrial Average, widely embraced as the ultimate indicator of the overall health of the economy, take some kind of hit, then the bankers, financial analysts, and Republicans get in front of a camera and blame President Obama for it.

It must seem simplistic to even a casual observer of the market, but it has caught on as a narrative with the mainstream media.  And given the number of albatrosses that are being allowed to hang around the neck of The Dow, it bodes the question:  Is this widely accepted benchmark of the economy being held down for political gain?

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One of the big lessons learned from this past election is how much of an impact ordinary people can have in a collective effort.  Barack Obama raised more money than any candidate in history, largely due to the small contributions of everyday Americans.  We witnessed similar efforts take fruit in other campaigns, most memorably after Michelle Bachmann's Hardball incident.  I want to share my own little effort to see how much good can come from the collective effort of everyday people.

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David Horsey is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  With his latest entry, he hammers down a concept that we all need to promote.  It's no longer the Republican Party; it's now The Rush Limbaugh Party.

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If there is one good thing I can say about Republicans, it's that they really know how to stay on message and create an ongoing narrative.  For the past thirty years, they have managed to turn "liberal", "socialist", "wealth re-distribution", and "government spending" into four-letter words to a lot of independents and moderates.  We are at a particular point in history, however, where progressives can utilize this same method to all but bury the GOP in 2010.

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