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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Luke and Maddie revisited

Econtalk interviews Adam Davidson about his recent Atlantic article on US manufacturing. Adam says he "is good at math and computers" and is a "certified Mac (Apple) technician" but is sure he "couldn't do Luke's job". (Luke is a skilled machinist who has to test tolerances, program a half million dollar cutting machine, visualize spatial relationships, use calculus!, etc. For this he is paid a bit over $50k per year.) What fraction of Maddies (unskilled workers) could, given access to training?

(An interesting remark could be made about M,V,S cognitive profiles, but I will refrain.)

If you listen carefully, you'll notice that jobs for Maddies are as threatened by robots as by foreign competition.

Jack and Diane (John Mellencamp, 1982)

Little ditty 'bout Jack and Diane
Two american kids growin up in the heartland
Jackies gonna be a football star
Diane debutante backseat of Jackies car


Little ditty, 'bout Jack and Diane --
Two american kids doin', best they can

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