We act as if automation is a necessity because corporations will always find ways to cut costs. We act as if small landlords will inevitably fail and large real estate holding companies will buy them out. We hand ring over the fact that when wages increase companies will just increase profits instead of looking at other areas of their budget to retain margins while paying their employees more.
Listen, the market only does these things because the public lets them. We can choose to pay people more for menial labor and holdback automation if ultimately that’s in the best interest of our economy. We can pass a universal basic income if we want to let automation run roughshod over 20% of the jobs in the economy and tax the production side to pay for it.
We can do whatever the hell we want from a public policy perspective because we run our society. What drives me nuts is that for a significant portion of the conservative base, with which I used to be in lockstep, feel that defending corporations’ ability to make profit is more important than protecting workers opportunities to make living wages.
We can set the rules of the new economy and through incentives and tax breaks and additional taxes levied we can impact behavior.
Ultimately the rich elites need the vast under classes to at least be satisfied with their lives so they don’t revolt. I’m afraid without significant shift of public policy far to the left we will never see a 1950s era large middle class in this country.