A jarring recent post in The Atlantic raises that very question. Charles Davi, a New York-based capital- and derivatives-markets lawyer, crunches sets of numbers and comes to this conclusion: “People are becoming less valuable to companies.”
Part of his analysis examines the wage-growth differential in various income brackets (the rich are getting richer scenario) but it also looks at Moore's Law and the growth of containerized shipping.
You're familiar with the effects of Moore's Law, but perhaps not so much with the containers. The combination of the two, according to Davi, has been profound over the last three decades:
The freedom of capital to move throughout the world in search for labor has fundamentally changed the balance of power between labor and capital… This dynamic is already exerting sizable, downward pressure on the value of labor relative to capital in developed nations.
We know wages — even in high-skilled professions such as engineering — have stagnated for a decade, much of that due to the Great Recession. My sense is that this will improve once the economy improves and that the intellectual rigor required to design chips and boards — even helped along by productivity-enhancing tools — will remain highly prized and well rewarded.
But I could be being Pollyana about this.
What's your sense? Is it instead a matter of not if but when we will automate ourselves out of even highly skilled occupations in the electronics sector?