Where have all the jobs gone? Computer scientist, and many people say, visionary, Jaron Lanier (he supposedly coined the term "virtual reality" when he helped pioneer the field), has found the culprit: the Internet.
In his new book Who Owns the Future? Jaron explains why the Internet is destroying the middle class by killing jobs, wealth (except for the lucky few) and even - gasp - democracy itself:
“Here’s a current example of the challenge we face,” he writes in the book’s prelude: “At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 14,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?” [...]
So Kodak has 140,000 really good middle-class employees, and Instagram has 13 employees, period. You have this intense concentration of the formal benefits, and that winner-take-all feeling is not just for the people who are on the computers but also from the people who are using them. So there’s this tiny token number of people who will get by from using YouTube or Kickstarter, and everybody else lives on hope. There’s not a middle-class hump. It’s an all-or-nothing society.
Read more in this interview with Scott Timberg of Salon: Link (Image: My Dream is to cut all ties with civilization but still be on the Internet)