Advances in Technology and Economics

The microeconomic picture of the U.S. has changed immensely since 1973, and the

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trends are proving to be consistently downward for the nation's high school

graduates and high school drop-outs. "Of all the reasons given for the wage

squeeze aˆ“ international competition, technology, deregulation, the decline of

unions and defense cuts aˆ“ technology is probably the most critical. It has

favored the educated and the skilled," says M. B. Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of

U.S. News & World Report (7/31/95). Since 1973, wages adjusted for inflation

have declined by about a quarter for high school dropouts, by a sixth for high

school graduates, and by about 7% for those with some college education. Only

the wages of college graduates are up.

Of the fastest growing technical jobs, software engineering tops the list.

Carnegie Mellon University reports, "recruitment of it's software engineering

students is up this year by over 20%." All engineering jobs are paying well,

proving that highly skilled labor is what employers want! "There is clear

evidence that the supply of workers in the [unskilled labor] categories already

exceeds the demand for their services," says L. Mishel, Research Director of

Welfare Reform Network.

In view of these facts, I wonder if these trends are good or bad for society. "

The danger of the information age is that while in the short run it may be

cheaper to replace workers with technology, in the long run it is potentially

self-destructive because there will not be enough purchasing power to grow the

economy," M. B. Zuckerman. My feeling is that the trend from unskilled labor to

highly technical, skilled labor is a good one! But, political action must be

taken to ensure that this societal evolution is beneficial to all of us. "Back

in 1970, a high school diploma could still be a ticket to the middle income

bracket, a nice car in the driveway and a house in the suburbs. Today all it

gets is a clunker parked on the street, and a dingy apartment in a low rent

building," says Time Magazine (Jan 30, 1995 issue).

However, in 1970, our government provided our children with a free education,

allowing the vast majority of our population to earn a high school diploma.

This means that anyone, regardless of family income, could be educated to a

level that would allow them a comfortable place in the middle class. Even

restrictions upon child labor hours kept children in school, since they are not

allowed to work full time while under the age of 18. This government policy was

conducive to our economic markets, and allowed our country to prosper from 1950

through 1970. Now, our own prosperity has moved us into a highly technical

world, that requires highly skilled labor. The natural answer to this problem,

is that the U.S. Government's education policy must keep pace with the demands

of the highly technical job market. If a middle class income of 1970 required a

high school diploma, and the middle class income of 1990 requires a college

diploma, then it should be as easy for the children of the 90's to get a college

diploma, as it was for the children of the 70's to get a high school diploma.

This brings me to the issue of our country's political process, in a

technologically advanced world.

Voting & Poisoned Political Process in The U.S.

The advance of mass communication is natural in a technologically advanced

society. In our country's short history, we have seen the development of the

printing press, the radio, the television, and now the Internet; all of these,

able to reach millions of people. Equally natural, is the poisoning and

corruption of these medias, to benefit a few.

From the 1950's until today, television has been the preferred media. Because

it captures the minds of most Americans, it is the preferred method of

persuasion by political figures, multinational corporate advertising, and the

upper 2% of the elite, who have an interest in controlling public opinion.

Newspapers and radio experienced this same history, but are now somewhat

obsolete in the science of changing public opinion. Though I do not suspect

television to become completely obsolete within the next 20 years, I do see the

Internet being used by the same political figures, multinational corporations,

and upper 2% elite, for the same purposes. At this time, in the Internet's

young history, it is largely unregulated, and can be accessed and changed by any

person with a computer and a modem; no license required, and no need for

millions of dollars of equipment. But, in reviewing our history, we find that

newspaper, radio and television were once unregulated too. It is easy to see

why government has such an interest in regulating the Internet these days.

Though public opinion supports regulating sexual material on the Internet, it is

just the first step in total regulation, as experienced by every other popular

mass media in our history. This is why it is imperative to educate people about

the Internet, and make it be known that any regulation of it is destructive to

us, not constructive! I have been a daily user of the Internet for 5 years (and

a daily user of BBS communications for 9 years), which makes me a senior among

us. I have seen the moves to regulate this type of communication, and have

always openly opposed it.

My feelings about technology, the Internet, and political process are simple.

In light of the history of mass communication, there is nothing we can do to

protect any media from the "sound byte" or any other form of commercial

poisoning. But, our country's public opinion doesn't have to fall into a nose-

dive of lies and corruption, because of it! The first experience I had in a

course on Critical Thinking came when I entered college. As many good things as

I have learned in college, I found this course to be most valuable to my basic

education. I was angry that I hadn't had access to the power of critical

thought over my twelve years of basic education. Simple forms of critical

thinking can be taught as early as kindergarten. It isn't hard to teach a young

person to understand the patterns of persuasion, and be able to defend

themselves against them. Television doesn't have to be a weapon against us,

used to sway our opinions to conform to people who care about their own

prosperity, not ours. With the power of a critical thinking education, we can

stop being motivated by the sound byte and, instead we can laugh at it as a

cheap attempt to persuade us.

In conclusion, I feel that the advance of technology is a good trend for our

society; however, it must be in conjunction with advance in education so that

society is able to master and understand technology. We can be the masters of

technology, and not let it be the masters of us.


Where have the good jobs gone?, By: Mortimer B. Zuckerman

U.S. News & World Report, volume 119, pg 68 (July 31, 1995)

Wealth: Static Wages, Except for the Rich, By: John Rothchild

Time Magazine, volume 145, pg 60 (January 30,


Welfare Reform, By: Lawrence Mishel (Feb 22, 1994)

20 Hot Job Tracks, By: K.T. Beddingfield, R. M. Bennefield, J. Chetwynd, T. M.

Ito, K. Pollack & A. R. Wright

U.S. News & World Report, volume 119, pg 98 (Oct 30, 1995)