The laissez-faire economic euphoria will push back periodically over the “edge of destitution” [Shipler, David K. The Working Poor: Invisible in America] many more millions; and according to the conservative argument this is the result of their individual bad choice… They won’t mention structural violence which is the real cause (automation is another reason to be concerned, not because it is bad per se, but because it will further be used as a tool to push many more millions into poverty).
Jeremy Rifkin in The End of Work put it very nicely “The death of the global labor force is being internalized by millions of workers who experience their own individual deaths, daily, at the hands of profit-driven employers and a disinterested government. They are the ones who are waiting for pink slips, being forced to work part-time at reduced pay, or being pushed onto the welfare rolls. With each new indignity, their confidence and self-esteem suffer another blow. They become expendable, then irrelevant, and finally invisible in the new high-tech world of global commerce and trade.”!
Money rules. And in the foul air democracy chokes and gasps,” [Joel Schwartzberg, “Money in Politics: Where Is the Outrage?”] With Citizens United the union between democracy and money was completed and I think this is precisely Madison’s tragedy and farce, where “it is possible to vote and still be disenfranchised” [Michael Schudson, “America’s Ignorant Voters.”]
I am sure that some elites and many statesmen do not sleep well at night. They are feeling the speed at which the system becomes dysfunctional. But there are no quick fixes. The advancement of Artificial Intelligence, of automation overwhelms even them. That means less jobs, a weaker economy (although with an increased productivity), and many more poor and hungry millions. Universal basic income is a beautiful idea. Still, I do not see it implemented in USA anytime soon. We cannot agree on a healthcare system for all! The idea of a basic income system seems even more far-fetched. It might be that social unrest will be something unavoidable. The current administration has no solutions. All it does is to awaking the social ills: racism, bigotry, international tension. It can only divert the attention from the real problems. The changes are a lot more speedier and people becoming angrier. The huge investments in the militarization makes perfect sense now. That is their answer to the current issues. David Frum summarized it well, “the U.S. political system becomes more polarized and more dysfunctional every cycle, at greater and greater human cost. The next Republican president will surely find himself or herself at least as stymied by this dysfunction as President Obama, as will the people the political system supposedly serves, who must feel they have been subjected to a psychological experiment gone horribly wrong,” [David Frum , “When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?”]