There is something going on here that no one seems to be talking about: the collapse of markets.
Karl Marx made one chilling prediction: when the workers did not have the money to buy the goods they produced, markets would collapse and capitalism itself would collapse. Henry Ford beat Marx when he paid his workers an unheard of $5 a day, creating in a single stroke the blue collar middle class and a market for his own goods. And this made America an economic powerhouse, not just for it power to produce, but for its power to consume. Gaining entry into that market is sufficient to make other nations bend over backward. It is the main well of American soft power.
With the growth of capital intensive, rather than labor intensive, manufacturing, the wealth from the manufacturing industry is concentrated in a few hands, and markets continue to shrink even as productive capacity grows. Marx has become relevant again. In the early 2000's, when I heard about the shenanigans in the banking industry, I pessimistically predicted that these idiots would make Marx relevant again. And they have. Now I'm afraid that our new aristocracy will make Lenin relevant again. And believe me, you don't want to make Lenin relevant.
So that means we are going to have to employ people, and pay them a decent wage. Yes, even those that are less than the best and brightest, because being less than bright, they will find stupid ways to make money, most of which will land them in jail. And we have a burgeoning prison industry that would love that, but the prison industry is bankrupting us. Where once we had employment for ditch diggers and farmhands, now those jobs are done by machines. So, yes, we need to find something that they can do, and pay them for it. And it would cost far less to employ the barely literate as street sweepers and park gardeners, with a decent wage, than to house them all in prisons.
If you think you are immune to this trend, please keep in mind that one of the main thrusts of high tech research now is AI. Medicine and law are already within the scope of work that can be partially automated by AI, but the goal is to produce systems that can produce code on demand. And then, we will all discover what the blue collar worker had been experiencing for decades.
But the one percent cannot support capitalism, certainly not when they're own markets are dying.
We need to figure this out. And soon.