It's little companies who are destroying the middle class

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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    Melvinotis

    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. 

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      Gary Clouse

      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.

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        matt.clerke

        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.

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