Evolutionary Process of Labor

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Evolution of Man

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; I found your evolutionary process of labor from agriculture to skilled labor fascinating. This is indeed why unions destroy jobs rather than preserve them. They fight against the evolutionary process of labor that follows technology. So clearly skilled labor is moving constantly. What field would you recommend for one’s children?

Thank you for all your generous efforts. We have never had someone with your experience speak so honestly and freely.


ANSWER: Skilled labor is shifting as always and we are moving more and more into an age of computer technology. The key is to understand programming. If if you do not desire to sit in front of a computer screen all day, it will become a basic tool like knowing how to read and write. There will never be the day where there is no manual skilled labor. The evolution of technology is limited to the developed nations where we tend to live in our little bubble. Less than 10% ever travel outside their own country so how do you expect to see the world and understand the various levels of development?

Asia will beat out the West and this is part of the shift in progress. Why? Because in the West we think linearly not cyclically where as in Asia, cycles are the basic tenet of even religion. I never had an Asian audience ever question cycles – they instantly understood and accepted that as a given.

We will never see such an age to all mental jobs in our lifetime or that of even our children. That is an evolutionary process measured in hundreds of years, not decades. Perhaps this is why the Jews had to wander in the desert for 40 years to create a new generation with new thinking. These are generational shifts. Even pilots flying prop planes during the war found that few could make the transition to jets for the reaction time had to be radically reduced. This is one reason where generational shifts are required to technology advancement. The fax machine was patented in the 1860s. It took 120 years to make it acceptable.

A plumber and a painter may not be easily replaced but a taxi-driver will eventually be replaced. Look at Uber drivers rapidly replacing taxicabs. One day probably in our lifetime they will be driven by computers for even Google is working on that. It would be great to replace judges with AI computers not subject to bribes. But all of this takes time and it can spread from one city to others. It is always the younger generations that move faster. I gave a IPad to a 2 year-old. They though I was crazy. Withing a week she was calling up Disney movies on her own.

There will be jobs that cannot be replaced like art, music, and even areas of science. They have even injected DNA nanobots into animals. This technology could even extend life. A critically ill patient will be injected with robots smaller than the head of a pin to test a new cancer treatment.

All of this put together will help to continue the evolutionary path for the economy and labor. The downside has already been seen with eliminating so many jobs that kids relied upon to earn money in high school that were invaluable in teaching work ethics. So the world ahead may find its own dark age as unemployment rises if unskilled labor cannot cope with the evolutionary process. The solution before – war to thin the herd.

The skills are never going to be equal and there will never be a totally technology age. Even in ancient Rome, the further you moved from the center, the more primitive it became. We have that today. Those in cities would starve for they know nothing about growing food etc. The city dweller may be at the head of technology, but they are also the first to crash and burn in the decline for they leave behind important basic knowledge. Ask yourself, do you know the phone number of everyone you call? I have a BMW with all the gadgets. The light come on automatically to the point I do not need a key to get in or start the car. When I have to rent a car someplace, I suddenly see how dependent I have become on that technology. As we advance, we leave behind skills that we still really need.

So look to technology, but do not forget your basic engineering skills. Develop both. The top jobs will be in computer skills, but you still need to understand what you are programming about.