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argument essay on technology

argument essay on technologyArgument essay on technology -If one woodworker makes 5 chairs and another makes none, the second woodworker will have less money, but not because anyone took anything from him.If you look at the history of stone tools, technology was already accelerating in the Mesolithic.Technology has decreased the cost of starting a startup so much that founders now have the upper hand over investors.Sometimes it's because the writer doesn't understand critical aspects of inequality, like the role of technology in wealth creation.If accelerating variation in productivity is always going to produce some baseline growth in economic inequality, it would be a good idea to spend some time thinking about that future. The public conversation so far has been exclusively about the need to decrease economic inequality.Even people sophisticated enough to know about the pie fallacy are led toward it by the custom of describing economic inequality as a ratio of one quantile's income or wealth to another's.It seems to be a rule with them that everything has to start with statistics.If all you have is statistics, it seems like that's what you need to fix.But this is a situation where it would be good to be precise about what we want. When the city is turning off your because you can't pay the bill, it doesn't make any difference what Larry Page's net worth is compared to yours.The acceleration would have been too slow to perceive in one lifetime.The reason he and most other startup founders are richer than they would have been in the mid 20th century is not because of some right turn the country took during the Reagan administration, but because progress in technology has made it much easier to start a new company that .It takes a conscious effort to remind oneself that the real world doesn't work that way.If we aim at economic inequality, we won't fix these problems. For example, let's attack poverty, and if necessary damage wealth in the process.And if there are people getting rich by tricking consumers or lobbying the government for anti-competitive regulations or tax loopholes, then let's stop them.So if you made it impossible to get rich by creating wealth in your country, people who wanted to do that would just leave and do it somewhere else.But while there are a lot of people who get rich through rent-seeking of various forms, and a lot who get rich by playing games that though not crooked are zero-sum, there are also a significant number who get rich by creating wealth.But if I have to choose between ignoring him and ignoring an exponential curve that has been operating for thousands of years, I'll bet on the curve.The evolution of technology is one of the most powerful forces in history.But that won't eliminate great variations in wealth, because as long as you leave open the option of getting rich by creating wealth, people who want to get rich will do that instead. Whatever their other flaws, laziness is usually not one of them.In the general case it consists of multiple ways people become poor, and multiple ways people become rich.argument essay on technologyStudents could learn less, if to improve graduation rates you made classes easier.Both further increase economic inequality, the former because founders own more stock, and the latter because, as investors have learned, founders tend to be better at running their companies than investors.Which would certainly get you a lower Gini coefficient, along with a lesson in being careful what you ask for.Usually this is an assumption people start from rather than a conclusion they arrive at by examining the evidence.And while some of the growth in economic inequality we've seen since then has been due to bad behavior of various kinds, there has simultaneously been a huge increase in individuals' ability to create wealth.If you want to understand economic inequality—and more importantly, if you actually want to fix the bad aspects of it—you have to tease apart the components.Which means by helping startup founders I've been helping to increase economic inequality. So have we just shown, by reductio ad absurdum, that it's false that economic inequality should be decreased? Surely it's bad that some people are born practically locked into poverty, while at the other extreme fund managers exploit loopholes to cut their income taxes in half.But again, the problem here is not simply economic inequality.We had a 40 year stretch in the middle of the 20th century that convinced some people otherwise.There is an enormous difference in wealth between the household Larry Page grew up in and that of a successful startup founder, but that didn't prevent him from joining their ranks.But exponential growth especially tends to bite you.It consists of some things that are very bad, like kids with no chance of reaching their potential, and others that are good, like Larry Page and Sergey Brin starting the company you use to find things online.In the real world you can create wealth as well as taking it from others. He makes a chair, and you willingly give him money in return for it. He makes a dollar only when someone on the other end of a trade loses a dollar.It's so easy to slip from talking about income shifting from one quantile to another, as a figure of speech, into believing that is literally what's happening.This is one way I know the rich aren't all getting richer simply from some new system for transferring wealth to them from everyone else.Such is the nature of the leftmost part of an exponential curve. You do not want to design your society in a way that's incompatible with this curve.Variation in productivity is far from the only source of economic inequality, but it is the irreducible core of it, in the sense that you'll have that left when you eliminate all other sources.To kids, wealth is a fixed pie that's shared out, and if one person gets more it's at the expense of another.Indeed, a good number are merely being sloppy by speaking of decreasing economic inequality when what they mean is decreasing poverty.Not because it's causing economic inequality, but because it's stealing. argument essay on technology When you use the would-have method with startup founders, you find what most would have done , when economic inequality was lower, was to join big companies or become professors.But as I explained in The Refragmentation, that was an anomaly—a unique combination of circumstances that compressed American society not just economically but culturally too.If the only way left to get rich is to start startups, they'll start startups.It's not economic inequality per se that's blocking social mobility, but some specific combination of things that go wrong when kids grow up sufficiently poor.Economic inequality is sufficiently far from identical with the various problems that have it as a symptom that we'll probably only hit whichever of the two we aim at.Much of the time, perhaps most of the time, writing about economic inequality combines all three.I think rising economic inequality is the inevitable fate of countries that don't choose something worse.I'm all for shutting down the crooked ways to get rich.Traditional economists seem strangely averse to studying individual humans.The rate at which individuals can create wealth depends on the technology available to them, and that grows exponentially.And in particular, the rich have gotten a lot richer.But we can't start from the symptom and hope to fix the underlying causes.Suppose new policies make it hard to make a fortune in finance.Ambitious people already move halfway around the world to further their careers, and startups can operate from anywhere nowadays.But instances of inequality don't have to be instances of the degenerate case.Plus a lot of the new startups would create new technology that further accelerated variation in productivity.Which means to understand economic inequality in a country, you have to go find individual people who are poor or rich and figure out why.One of the most important principles in Silicon Valley is that "you make what you measure." It means that if you pick some number to focus on, it will tend to improve, but that you have to choose the right number, because only the one you choose will improve; another that seems conceptually adjacent might not.Does it seem plausible that the people who currently go into finance to make their fortunes will continue to do so but be content to work for ordinary salaries?Closely related to poverty is lack of social mobility. argument essay on technology You can't prevent great variations in wealth without preventing people from getting rich, and you can't do that without preventing them from starting startups. Eliminating great variations in wealth would mean eliminating startups. Especially since it would only mean you eliminated startups in your own country.The other reason creating wealth is such a tenacious source of inequality is that it can expand to accommodate a lot of people.If you want to understand change in economic inequality, you should ask what those people would have done when it was different.So they give you very precise numbers about variation in wealth and income, then follow it with the most naive speculation about the underlying causes.Sometimes the pie fallacy is stated explicitly: Other times it's more unconscious. I think because we grow up in a world where the pie fallacy is actually true.Except in the degenerate case, economic inequality can't be described by a ratio or even a curve.For example, if you're a university president and you decide to focus on graduation rates, then you'll improve graduation rates.That's much more likely to work than attacking wealth in the hope that you will thereby fix poverty.And if you do, that core will be big, because it will have expanded to include the efforts of all the refugees.January 2016Since the 1970s, economic inequality in the US has increased dramatically.Almost by definition, if a startup succeeds its founders become rich.But only graduation rates, not how much students learn.I'm interested in this topic because I was one of the founders of a company called Y Combinator that helps people start startups.The reason they go into finance is not because they love finance but because they want to get rich.The acceleration of productivity we see in Silicon Valley has been happening for thousands of years.Ignoring any trend that has been operating for thousands of years is dangerous.They'll do well at it too, because determination is the main factor in the success of a startup.And even within the startup world, there has been a qualitative change in the last 10 years.Founders get less diluted, and it is now common for them to retain board control as well.He might only be a few times richer than you, and it would still be just as much of a problem that your water was getting turned off. argument essay on technology Technology has decreased the cost of starting a startup so much that founders now have the upper hand over investors. argument essay on technology




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