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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A new Moscow on the Hudson

Sunday evening, Boston MIT professor Andrew McAfee gave his view on the impact of robotics on American society and its labour force (http://tegenlicht.vpro.nl/). Robotics is likely to hit hard on the backbone of US - or any other - society, being its middle class. He referred to a September 2013 Oxford study which estimated that 47% of US employment is at risk due to robotics.

In Europe the solution would be rather simple as solidarity rules here. The USA is different from Europe. Very, very different. Mr McAfee is very concerned and proposed a rather European like solution: negative income tax for those without a job. I also expect that negative income tax will become as common as negative interest rates are nowadays.

I have been wondering for quite some time why American politics does not represent the people who didn't make it in US society. I suppose it's still a reminiscent of the Joseph McCarthy era (1947-1957). The American society lacks a trigger for a fundamental shift in politics. Robotics may become that trigger as most of the middle class will lose its job. American society will be fully divided in a few haves and in most have nots. A resemblance to South Africa before Mandela springs to mind.

The fundamental American lack of solidarity will cause a major boost in criminality. Perhaps the Mexican immigrants may even return home for safety and security reasons. The few haves will be forced to live in armed and gated communities. Kidnapping will become an important source of income for the many have nots. Resemblances to mid and south America spring to mind.

Finally someone will remember that the USA is a democracy with a one man, one vote system. This new movement will cause a fundamental shift in American politics. The late merger of the Democrats and Republicans did not help to maintain power. The few haves were not able to counter this long overdue process. The few haves finally paid the prize for decades of unlimited greed. Resemblances to Greece spring to mind.

Possibly one state (e.g., Florida, Texas) will want to declare independence but it lacks the required majority in the voter turnout. The number of immigrants, pensioners and other have nots is just overwhelming compared to the remaining few haves. The smart haves already left for the UK as they realised what was finally coming. The UK had already exited the European Union and welcomed its new wealthy citizens with open arms.

The fundamental shift in US politics will create a temporary vacuum in global leadership. Both China and Russia will try taking over. Many conflicts between China and Russia are to be expected as history taught both that they cannot trust each other. The massive redistribution of US wealth will also cause a fundamental shift in US priorities (e.g., military spending, its global role as police man).

For decades the USA is likely to be left sided of the remaining European Union. Ultimately, the political pendulum will steer towards a social market economy like in mainland Europe. Russia is likely to become - or rather stay - an aggressive kleptocracy. China will either implode or become like the USA once was. Given the west wards trend in the Rise and Fall of Nations, it's more likely that China will enjoy another famous dynasty.

The new Moscow will be on the Hudson.