should have tested this argument before...
posting it up, there is a critical flaw in it.
quote: "If we can manufacture using fewer people then there are more people to go off and do other things: write Grand Theft Auto, wipe babies' bottoms, whatever. Thus we can have, as a result of this rising productivity, more things to enjoy: video games and clean and smiling babies. This is another definition of getting richer. We've got two or three things rather than the mere one we had before."
ok, the article is good, but this bit turns the head a little. lets elaborate.
manufacturing can be achieved with less people than before, because each person has increased the value of what they produce, we don't produce tea towels anymore, because they are low value products, all that moved to india, etc, etc, etc.
but the problem with this is that there are now more people making video games and clean babies bottoms than there was before, the problem with this is that there are only so many of those required.
so we get a huge number of unemployable people because manufacturing has no use for them, not everyone can make xbox games and not everyone is suitable to wipe babies bottoms, so for those poor folk who basically have almost no value to bring the world, whose existence would have been satisfied with packing boxes and working a robot, basically, are unemployed and unemployable because now there are 100,000 of them and only 20,000 jobs (for example).
so yes, the argument is correct, our manufacturing output has not dropped, but our unemployment rate seems to have, why? because we have moved up the value chain, but our employment workforce has not moved with it. we are not a nation of computer programmers, roll royce engine builders, bmw car mechanics with advanced computer expertise.
lots of people are still the kind who are only fit to put things into boxes, or make tea towels.
also this ignores the fact that the wealth created is concentrated in those who are not sharing it with the rest of us, so there is no "we" in the argument, WE don't benefit from this manufacturing shift, THEY do and most people would agree that the country loses if the majority loses, so if a minority of people are accumulating more wealth per unit of manufacturing than before, that means a majority of people are losing wealth, the country as a whole singular body, loses.
apart from that, good article