We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
In our times, the advantages of unplanned capitalist innovation and competition are even more valuable than usual. We need an era of social and business experimentation. Many of the bright young people who a generation ago would have gone to work for large corporations or law firms, or moved into tenure track academic positions, need to find new ways of making a living. The young people who would have gone into factory jobs or routine but secure clerical positions must also find new ways of using their skills and talents. The terrain is uncharted; the old systems don’t work.
Government needs to clear unnecessary obstacles out of the paths of the pioneers of the new economy. The single most effective way the government can support the necessary change is to adapt its regulatory and employment policies to the needs of the start ups from whose ranks the leaders of the future will emerge. That is not the only type of change that would help, but it is the most important one.
What's amazing is that, in this vision of the future, the past is really what is being referred to. Entrepreneurial vigor has ALWAYS been the lifeblood of the US economy.
It is precisely this vigor which Libertarians have pointed to for so long in promoting a vision of reduced government. Reduce the reliance on government for subsidy, for regulation, for oversight. Let individuals be individuals to grow and change, as they see fit.
The economic model(s) which the US government has perpetrated have created many of the problems we face by undermining the entrepreneurial spirit. It has long been assumed the wealth generated by a sale to a large firm, or an IPO, was the reason entrepreneurs entered industry. This is incorrect. Entrepreneurs do want monetary gain, but they are driven by something else altogether.
For that reason, it's best to move away from preconceptions about what model the US economy is based on and accept that it is driven by individual action and initiative. As Ayn Rand said, "The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."
Minor note - the Eisenhower Administration did not start the interstate highway system. It's a terrific myth and one Eisenhower himself did little to prevent. It's true he was president when work began, and he oversaw the first allocations of money for the project.
However, the actual system was begun many years before and the groundwork laid well in advance. Interesting note - the most successful large roads prior to this point were.....private. Well, public/private. The PA Turnpike, for example. Turnpikes were viewed as unlikely to be successful in regions which had little traffic. Except that, as the Turnpike proved, roads CREATED traffic!
Until recently, there was a bridge in NJ, along the shore, which was privately owned and operated. It was one of the most direct accesses to a barrier island community, but view used it because a 'free' bridge is further up the coast. There are two toll bridges nearby, both state operated. The private bridge charges less than the state run bridges, and has been better maintained over the years. No surprise, really.
Eventually, the owner sold to the state. Hard to fight a monopoly.
What seems implied is that adoption of strong AI, robotics, nanotech, and biotech will obviate most jobs, so people would have to reconsider the anachronistic trudge through decades of education, followed by decades of work-work.
Darwin would see it as obviating the need to adapt to the environment, which would eliminate the struggle for survival.
Oh well, we'll always have plagues and wars.
It's a good plan and the way I've seen things for a while but these jobs of the future will not come quietly. The new paradigm, independent contractors of a sort, undermines the entire Democratic party's and the union power base. One reason they've fought against small business ownership and independent workers is that their power depends on having lots and lots of cattle. Herds of "employees", minorities, special groups to manipulate.
Read Glaeser's "The Curley Effect". It details how mostly Democratic politicians rounded up a herd, got elected, then imposed policies to "encourage" those with different ideas to leave. Bu they never actually improve conditions for their herd as they need them as they are to stay in power. Of course, the outcome of this is all the whining we have now about middle class abandoned urban cities, which was the plan in the first place.
Don't think the unions and Dems aren't thinking of this. One of the funniest things I came across was a GAO report on collective bargaining rights. Seems outside of managers, independent contractors are considered the largest group to yet be given collective bargaining rights. Think about it, the tragedy is that independent contractors don't have collective bargaining rights. Only in government.
The defect in Mead's vision is that it only applies to the top 1%. Only they have the extremely high IQs and intense drive to succeed as independent entrepreneurs. Our entire computer world was created by a half-dozen people or so: Jobs, Gates, Hewlett, et al.
The critical problem is that automation destroys jobs. It also destroys STEM jobs and symbol processing jobs. Actually, it's easier to automate white collar work than blue collar work, especially work that requires manual dexterity.
Many years ago I was consulting on and off for an engineering design company that decided to go computer. First, most of the secretaries and bookkeepers disappeared. Then the draftsmen went. Then the engineers, especially the junior engineers. At least half the employees were let go, and the volume of the company's design work rose.
The same thing happened in spades in financing, law, business. Eg, almost all trades on the NYSE are made by computers.
When farm jobs disappeared, there was an expanding manufacturing economy that could absorb the displaced labor. Eventually. There were severe dislocations and suffering. Read Dickens. But what will absorb the workers displaced from manufacturing, and engineering design, and science and finance?
The real question is, How do we distribute the wealth created by automated factories and the few remaining workers? Mead's solution is a pipe dream.