This was written as a long comment on the recent article by Steven Hansen (appearing at GEI Analysis and Seeking Alpha, among several places): Manufacturing Is the Reason the Economy is Not Doing Better? I would make the statement: "We have not lost manufacturing but we have gained something else." (We just haven't figured out what that is yet.)
At every stage in human evolution, humans were, and still are, delegating SOME of the things they used to do, in return for freeing themselves up PART of the time to do SOME other things. That's called cultural development. It's also called trade & trade routes. Still others call it paying the "cost-of-coordination" in order to reap the "return-on-coordination."
Face it. All humans used to chip their own arrow heads & weave their own baskets. We've moved on, and most people lost/discarded those skills ... BUT REPLACED THEM WITH NEW, ABSTRACT SKILLS, THE VALUE OF WHICH WERE BEYOND THE IMAGINATION OF THE CHIPPERS/WEAVERS TO RECOGNIZE.
Skills and activities, not just data, are meaningless without context.
That big picture never stopped us before.
We transitioned, and adapted, while continuously changing nearly everything that we used to do. Nothing in principle has changed from 100,000 years ago to today, except the details (including the scale).
What's to stop us from making further transitions and adaptations, even if our kids & grandkids now want to do things and have a lifestyle that seems beyond our imagination to comprehend?
What will the 7th generation yet unborn want and need to do? And will we do anything to enable them, or to impede them?
Is there a Cultural Hippocratic oath implicit in evolution? "First, do no harm that will impede the continued evolution of your species."
With the intro you made, Steve, isn't it apropos to now ask:
1) why are we shifting cultural/trade/citizen-dev patterns to outsource much of what we used to make for ourselves? (there are good reasons, but are we as a citizenry capitalizing on those reasons in a logical way?)
2) what new opportunities are now available for the US electorate to explore, since we're outsourcing SOME of what we used to do?
3) are we actually exploring our new, national options? At an adequate tempo?
4) what new Desired Outcomes does the citizenry of the USA want to achieve, that can guide and focus our exploratory efforts (given our new found free time and dizzying options)?
5) are we as a people ALLOWING our electorate to explore those emerging options? (i.e., educating/training/paying our kids adequately, so that they CAN transition and adapt?)
Once our electorate orients to the depth of this issue, maybe then we can start generating some very distributed, adaptive responses ... a bit sooner, rather than later.
Steve's fond of saying that methods drive results.
Yet methods follow pattern recognition and context awareness.
Group results follow group-adopted methods, which follow aggregate context awareness.
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