Are We Headed for a “Spikey” Future?

A while back, some smart folks argued that the tech revolution would “flatten the world”. Books were written about this theme and by and large, it was not questioned.

But things are not turning out that way.  So far, tech job creation has been “spikey”. That is, centered around a few locations (like San Fransisco, Boston, Austen, etc.). Most places have not seen great benefits. Even cities that have been targeted for huge tech based investment — like Buffalo — have not seen the payoff. At least not yet.

We don’t know how this will play out over the next several decades. It might be the template. Or it might be that new kinds of high paying jobs emerge that are spread more evenly. But one thing is clear. Those high paying jobs are not likely to appear in great numbers in locations that do not have a highly educated population. In other words, high value added work will require knowledge that you don’t get while flipping burgers at MacDonalds.

It will be interesting to see if we will see a more rapid and equitable dispersion of knowledge that leads to new patterns of wealth generation. The basic point of this post is to point out that we are not there yet. Not by a long shot.


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