Little companies...meaning ones with very few employees. 

“Here’s a current example of the challenge we face,” Jaron Lanier writes in the prelude to his new book, Who Owns The Future: “At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 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?” (source)

Lanier argues there are many parallel examples of high tech and the Internet killing not just a few, but vast numbers of well-paying jobs, replacing them with a miniscule number of high tech drones, or with software that totally replaces what used to be jobs that fed families.

Why is it that we blame The Gap for sending garment making jobs to Bangladesh but not Craigslist, which runs nearly on autopilot, for ending 10's of thousands of jobs in newspaper classified ad departments, or online news for putting newspapers and professional journalism on the skids?

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The difference is that the printing press created industries which actually created jobs.

Yes, but many fewer jobs as a proportion of the reading population than there were scribes.

What really happened is that the "wealth" generated by the printing press increased the access of the masses to books and reading material (and along the way inspired improved literacy).  It improved quality of life.

This is how economic progress works.  Innovation decreases cost of production, which makes things accessible to more people.  You can serve 1000 people for the effort it used to take to serve one.  That puts all the guys who were only serving 1 out of business, but it improves the lives of the thousand.  If you charge 1/100th what they charge, you're still making 10 times their living.  So yes, some wealth is concentrated with you, but in exchange a thousand people are more wealthy.

The problem with wealth concentration is when it happens without making others wealthier, as when banks play poker in the market against retirees and pension funds, or groups like Bain Capital raid relatively health companies to break them up in order to enrich themselves. 

Yes, but many fewer jobs as a proportion of the reading population than there were scribes.

Do you have any actual evidence, if not proof, of that? 

Remember, prior to the printing press, books were a rarity because they were handmade. Not just handmade but very expensive to make.

With the printing press, books and reading came to the masses, creating an entirely new industry which employed many people. I'm referring to the paper industry. And that commerce gave people a degree of income they'd never had before which created many other jobs. They bought bread from bakers, for example, instead of making it at home. 

A company like Craigslist, which singlehandedly destroyed some newspapers and all but eliminated the classified ad departments of those who remain, but is run by about 30 people, contributes little to the economy and throws hundreds of thousands into unemployment.

DON'T get me started about Craig's List... Shoddy operation. :(

Like about their totally nonexistent customer service department?

Unseen you should read this article

Intelligent Robots Will Overtake Humans by 2100, Experts Say

Technology will replace human labor at one point or another and we would probably have to adapt and find new ways of employment. It could also turnout that replacement of labor by technological advances can open doors to new ways of employment that we don't know as of right now. As you already mentioned, printing press created news industrial jobs, so who knows, that might happen in the future as well.

Take a look at Youtube videos of Amazon's gigantic warehouses in operation, and while clearly they are run on autopilot, consider that for every Amazon employee you see in the warehouse, perhaps a dozen other Americans no longer have a job. 

If this trend contnues, it may become the job of most people to be unemployed. In other words, on the dole. 

You are of course, right, but there is a way to slow things down. I believe Pol Pot figured out a way to deal with those troublesome intellectuals wrecking the job market. 

This argument is so full of pretzel logic and fallacious precepts it should only be considered a joke.

Think about it.

a) of the more than 140,000 at one time employed by Kodak, how many had middle class incomes?

b)Instagram provides a picture messaging service, Kodak's interest in that field (EasyShare) was a minor part of their business.

c) The digital photography field, has a lot of competition from major corporation s ( Asahi, Sakar, Konics, Logitech, and Apple just to name a few) more diversified that Kodak,

d) Instagram is one of those rarities that makes the news, but for every Instagram like success, there are tens of thousands of failures

e) A significant part of the middle class were small business owners, and as small business disappear, partly due to the recession and slow recovery, and largely due to unethical anti competitive practices used by corporate retailers, e see a shrinking of the middle class.

Mr Lanier's thesis the small business is destroying the middle class seen very contrived.

I guess this just goes to show that being an atheist doesn't always necessarily mean you're smart...

Why is it that we blame The Gap for sending garment making jobs to Bangladesh but not Craigslist, which runs nearly on autopilot, for ending 10's of thousands of jobs in newspaper classified ad departments, or online news for putting newspapers and professional journalism on the skids?

Or the wheel, putting all those load bearers out of jobs and replacing them with only a handful of horse-drivers and cart-pushers?!

It's called technology.... the more work is done by technology, the less work needs to be done by people, the closer we get to a utopia where no one needs to work... The capitalist model is the real problem here, rather than benefit the society, technology is benefitting the few who own it.

What's wrong with doing work? Isn't it a better use of time than being unemployed, watching afternoon TV while drinking cheap beer? It'd be great if every unemployed person was creative or innovative and made contributions to mankind. Unfortunately many simply become idle hands.

Isn't it a better use of time than being unemployed

Apparently not, if we can replace all the work a person will ever do with technology. What would be a better use of time is...

made contributions to mankind

Oh you beat me to it. Academia, art, sport, politics... technology has a hard time replacing people in those fields. In my experience, idle hands aren't idle long.




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