He begins by discussing the recent global uprisings, calling them all part of an "information technology revolution," and concludes that it is the "most important trend in the world today."
Here, I agree with him. He's right. It is the most important trend in the world today. But his overall points are reductive, and he fails to understand - or so it seems from this piece - that the decline in the middle class has been happening for over 3 decades, and before we were all connected with our iPhones, our Googlies, our Androids, blah, blah, blah.
But here's what gets me the most riled up about this piece - his advice. He goes on to say:
And [this trend] is a critical reason why, to get into the middle class now, you have to study harder, work smarter and adapt quicker than ever before. All this technology and globalization are eliminating more and more 'routine' work — the sort of work that once sustained a lot of middle-class lifestyles.Hahaha. Sorry. Pardon me. Hahaha. Whoops. There it goes again. All right, I've gotten a hold of myself.
Is he serious?!? We need to study harder, work smarter, and adapt quicker?!? Is this guy a shill for neoliberalism?!? Oh, wait. I forgot. Sorry. Here in the U.S., we're clearing not studying hard. We're definitely not working 'smarter' (God, his language is so vile). And apparently we have no idea what it means to adapt.
He also argues, "unemployment today still remains relatively low for people with college degrees." That's true . . . but that doesn't paint an accurate picture. So people with college degrees have a higher rate of employment versus those who have high school diplomas. But, and this is something I've pointed out before on AEM, what sorts of jobs do these educated folks have? Because if they are flipping burgers or serving corporate-slop-hot-slurpees at a Starbucks, I don't think the figures look so good. In addition, Mr. Friedman fails to mention the fact that most of these folks with college degrees have mountains of student loan debt.
As for the comments about us needing to work harder . . . For starters, we all work our asses off, Mr. Friedman. Millions and millions of us are working our asses off, and we're no longer a part of the middle class (we're in some sort of odd limbo, and it sucks, because it's hard to comprehend). I study hard, too. I'm not a student, but I still study, and I do it very 'hard.' As for adapting . . . wow . . . where shall I start? Again, I have to ask, are you f$*%@ing kidding me?!?
You want to know how people have adapted here?
They live in trailers and drive all over the country for work, Mr. Friedman.
They live with their parents or their in-laws (I'm in this camp). That's riiiight. I have adapted, Mr. Friedman. I could be making a great living in Dubai or South Korea (I adapt so easily, I've lived in 2 foreign countries), but I have decided to adapt here in the U.S. and run a non-profit on a shredded shoestring budget. I have adapted by living with my in-laws as a married woman with years of professional experience and loads of education.
Others are leaving the country - like I did - to start afresh, and find work.
How's that for adapting, Mr. Friedman?
To add insult to injury, there is a new org called Getting Smart. Apparently, we're not smart, and that's why millions of us are underemployed or unemployed. It's our fault. It has NOTHING to do with systemic collapse and the rise of a f*%@ing oligarchic state. Hey, Getting Smart! Did you receive the memo?!? We're smart. We're damned smart. You're pointless. That's what the memo said.
We're so damned smart, that we're ahead of you and Mr. Friedman. So ahead, you're in the damned dust. Get those cobwebs outta your head, and open your eyes a little!