John Mauldin sees major changes coming and argues that with unimaginable and unmanageable future, people must start thinking the unthinkable

John Mauldin sees major changes coming and argues that with unimaginable and unmanageable future, people must start thinking the unthinkable
Will you be as well prepared for the future as Doc Brown and Marty McFly were in Back to the Future?

By John Mauldin*

Lately, my life has been completely packed with speeches, meetings, and in-depth, often lengthy, conversations. Plus ongoing research and writing, of course. It all culminated Thursday afternoon at the beginning of a business meeting with the leadership team from a firm that will become a significant new business partner. At the very beginning of the meeting, the head of the firm leaned over to me and asked, “What’s on the top of your mind? What are you thinking about?” The previous night we had a small group of about 15 people in my living room after dinner, and the question was similar, “What keeps you up at night?”

It has become an emotional question for me, because the answer does not come easily, is complex, and can be more than a little unsettling. It is, however, evolving out of the research and writing I’m doing on my new book, The Age of Transformation. Whether audiences and readers agree with my answer or not, it is not a feel-good message, which is somewhat frustrating because I’m the biggest long-term optimist in the room. But I acknowledge that what I am talking about suggests that the ride between today and the long-term happy ending is going to be more than a bit bumpy.

This week’s letter is going to be a passionate summary of my answer. In form, it will be something like a conversation between you and me, sitting in your living room or mine, or in a restaurant, maybe sipping an adult beverage, thinking through the future together, and wondering at how the world is transforming in front of our eyes.

The fragmentation of society

In the interest of brevity, let’s take it is a given that we’re going to see massive technological change in the next 20 years. In fact, we will see more change – and improvement – in the next 20 years than we’ve seen in the last hundred. Think where we were 100 years ago and how much has changed since then. That much and more is going to happen in the next two decades. Global society really is going to transform that fast.

Let’s start with some good news. In 1820 some 94% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. By 1990 the figure was 35%, and in 2015 it was just 9.6%. Forty percent of those who remain impoverished live in just two countries, Nigeria and India, both of which are growing rapidly and will see their extreme poverty significantly decrease in the next 20 years.

There is research to show that, on a global basis, the poor are getting richer faster than any other group. However, if you look around the US or Europe, that is not the conclusion you come to. But Africa or Asia? Absolutely. Let’s be clear: The Industrial Age and free-market capitalism, for all of its bumps and warts, has lifted more people out of poverty and extended more lives than has any other single development. The collapse of communism has been a great boon to humanity (even if it is still talked about favorably in Western universities).

Because of where the emerging-market economies are in the development cycle, they have the potential for vast, rapid improvement in the lives of their people. But most of my readers do not live in the emerging markets. We live in the developed markets; and here, some of the outcomes of the Age of Transformation will not be so comfortable. Let’s start with this chart (hat tip, Downtown Josh Brown).

Obviously, the rig count in US oilfields is rising rapidly – no surprise there. But distressingly, the number of oilfield workers is continuing to fall. How can this be?

There is an answer to that conundrum in the long article that is the source of this chart and others I’ll use later. There is a new robotic machine called an Iron Roughneck that reduces the human labor required to connect a pipe from a crew of 20 down to a crew of five. And those jobs were quite high-paying. Here’s a picture of this new robotic roughneck. Fifteen workers per site at well over $100,000 a year each? Does that machine look like it cost more than a few million? I bet it amortizes pretty quickly, and that’s why it is being rapidly adopted.

Now look back at the chart. The amazing thing is that this transformation happened in two years; it didn’t take a generation or even half a generation. You were an oilfield worker with what you thought was potentially a lifetime of steady, well-paying – if dangerous, nasty, and dirty – work. And then BOOM! The jobs just simply disappeared. Your on-the-job experience doesn’t translate to any other industries very easily, and now you and your family are on the skids.

I could actually spend this entire letter talking about the amazing transformation of the oilfield. Oil production is now a technology business. Computers and artificial intelligence are used in abundance in the oilfield. Future wells are going to be a magnitude more productive and less expensive. There are oilfield operators here in Dallas running around with pro formas, raising money, talking about how they can do very well at $40 and even $30 per barrel. And with oil at $54 and looking as though it could well go to $60, they are raising money and punching holes. Just with fewer workers.

From the report on the Iron Roughneck we get the following alarming quote. (Note that the report is full of links to academic research. While I don’t like the author’s conclusions, his work is at least well researched).

A landmark 2017 study even looked at the impact of just industrial robots on jobs from 1993 to 2007 and found that every new robot replaced around 5.6 workers, and every additional robot per 1,000 workers reduced the percentage of the total population employed by 0.34% and also reduced wages by 0.5%. During that 14-year period of time, the number of industrial robots quadrupled and between 360,000 and 670,000 jobs were erased. And as the authors [Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo] noted, “Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, we do not find positive and offsetting employment gains in any occupation or education groups.” In other words, the jobs were not replaced with new jobs.

It’s expected that our industrial robot workforce will quadruple again by 2025 to 7 robots per 1,000 workers. (In Toledo and Detroit it’s already 9 robots per 1,000 workers.) Using Acemoglu’s and Restropo’s findings, that translates to a loss of up to 3.4 million jobs by 2025, alongside depressed wage growth of up to 2.6%, and a drop in the employment-to-population ratio of up to 1.76 percentage points. Remember, we’re talking about industrial robots only, not all robots, and not any software, especially not AI. So what we can expect from all technology combined is undoubtedly larger than the above estimates.

Automation has been happening right under everyone’s noses, but people are only beginning to really talk about the potential future dangers of automation reducing the incomes of large percentages of the population. In the US, the most-cited estimate is the loss of half of all existing jobs by the early 2030s.

You can find people who estimate that technology will eliminate as many as two billion jobs, while also creating a large number of jobs – but nowhere near as fast. I don’t buy those extreme estimates, as I think they amount to sensationalism, but if you want to predict 30 to 40 million jobs lost in the US by the middle of the 2030s (that’s 17 years from now), I’m not going to argue with you. How many jobs will be created? We’ll get to that in a minute.

The future of work

People frequently talk about the loss of trucking and taxi jobs that will result from the automation of driving. RethinkX, in a 77-page report, concludes that 90% of all driving in the US will be TaaS (transportation as a service) by 2030, although that will utilize only 60% of the cars. The good news is that the average family will save $5,600 per year in transportation costs, keeping an extra $1 trillion per year in Americans’ pockets.

Think of all the time that will be freed for activities other than driving, not to mention the traffic jams that will be reduced. The authors believe that freeing time now spent commuting to work, plus faster transport times, will lead to an increase in GDP of between $500 million to as much as $2.5 trillion. Public sector budgets will benefit because highway infrastructure costs will fall, and vast amounts of land will be freed from parking lots and publicly owned right-of-way properties next to highways. Of course, governments will lose as much as $50 billion in gasoline taxes as we shift from internal combustion engines to electric and other alternative forms of power systems.

The really bad news is that a lot of people will lose their incomes.

The report projects that the adoption of TaaS will come about in typical technological adoption fashion: slowly and then seemingly all at once. The authors talk about the end of individual car ownership. Why would you own a car if it was far cheaper and more convenient just to pick one up via an app on your phone? Not owning a vehicle frees a lot of garage and parking space and might even eliminate the hassle of picking up your kids and getting them to and from their various activities. Of course, the system will work much more effectively in urban and suburban areas than in the rural world.

And it is not just the six million taxi and truck driver jobs that are threatened. Automated driving will save some 30,000 lives per year just in the US, which is something to be applauded. But it will also dramatically decrease the number of people going to emergency rooms from automobile wrecks, reducing the need for healthcare workers. Since cars won’t be in wrecks, the number of people required to repair them will be radically reduced. There are 228,000 auto repair shops in the country, employing some 647,000 workers (at a minimum – data from BLS). When a new car will last for one million miles and have fewer than 30 moving parts, those auto repair people are going to be like the Maytag repairman in the commercials of my youth: very lonely and increasingly unemployed.

If driving is TaaS, then automobile dealerships are in trouble, as are most car salesmen and the 66,000 people who work in automotive parts and accessories stores. What about auto insurance salesmen? And all the gas stations that will not be needed? (When an automated car gets low on electricity, it will simply pull into a spot and replug – automatically, of course, aided by robotics.)

The US auto industry employs 1.25 million people directly and another 7.25 million indirectly. Not all driving jobs will be lost, but the authors estimate that around 5 million will be, with a reduction in national income of $200 billion.

And if we need fewer cars? That shift would put a lot of automotive manufacturing companies and their workers under severe strain. I’m not certain how the authors arrived at the number, but they estimate new-vehicle annual unit sales will drop by 70% by 2030, to around 5.6 million vehicles versus the 18 million that will be sold in 2020. Ugh. If we actually do see  wholesale conversion to electric vehicles, US oil demand for passenger road transport could drop by 90% or more. Oil production companies may need to figure out how to make life work at $25 per barrel, if that’s the case.

Personally, I think the report is a little over the top. (Well, maybe more than a little.) But if they stretch those projection figures to 2035 or 2040? Totally in the ballpark. And frankly, as I will note in a few paragraphs, whether it’s 2030, 2035, or 2040, the change will seem like it came overnight and totally out of left field – especially for the workers who no longer have work.

The end of cancer

I was talking with my friend Dr. Ray Takigiku, chief executive and chief scientist of Bexion Pharmaceuticals. The company is now 15 months into a phase I trial to determine the safety of a drug called BXQ-350, which is basically a full-on silver bullet for mass-tumor cancers. It has so far been a small trial in four medical research universities, with a limited but growing number of patients who have pancreatic cancer and brain tumors. The results have been very promising.

Ray told me about one patient at the University of New Mexico who has a very rare form of cancer and who was given the drug. This is a cancer for which there is no treatment – it’s basically a death sentence. It occurs in adults but more frequently in children. Ray was initially concerned about treating this patient, as the study is about safety and you really don’t want to have any issues associated with a safety trial. But the patient’s doctor talked him into proceeding, and they began to administer the drug. It hasn’t been very long, but the patient is improving, and the cancer is regressing. He had lost partial use of his right side but is now walking and using that side again.

Because it’s a phase I trial, we don’t really have much information about how effective the drug is, apart from anecdotes; and distressingly, the researchers must sometimes stop administering the drug because that’s part of the required protocol. The rules simply want to make me pull my hair out.

In the US, one million people per year get cancer, and half a million die. Those are ugly statistics, but they could change drastically within less than 10 years. Cancer could become a nuisance rather than a threat to life. I lose more and more friends every year to cancer. We all do. I will be so glad if that stops. So will you.

Full disclosure: I was a first-round investor in Bexion, and so I have a strong home-field bias in wanting BXQ-350 to succeed, but the reality is that its success will be extraordinarily good for humanity. And frankly, one of the main risks to my investment is not that the drug won’t actually work, but that any of several other companies that Patrick Cox and I are looking at will actually come up with a drug that is cheaper, better, and faster. Or maybe, as in treating AIDS, you end up with a cocktail of drugs to fight cancer.

One way or another, cancer is going to go the way of measles and polio. You’ll be diagnosed by means of a simple blood test that will be part of your annual medical checkup, and you’ll be informed if you have cancer. Next you will undergo further tests to determine what type. And then, whatever the therapy is, it is likely that you will simply go to your doctor’s office for regular treatments. In the case of Bexion’s drug, treatment will (hopefully) amount to a few months or less of three visits per week, no side effects, and your cancer goes away. That is the extrapolation from mouse studies. We’ll know more after phase II studies are underway sometime next year. Since it is now public information, I can mention that John McCain will be given access to this drug at the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center. Randomly, McCain has one of the types of cancer that the phase 1 trial has focused on. And he also actually qualifies for the trial (which is not easy to do). With all Americans, I wish him the best.

But let’s think for a minute about the impact of the success of a drug of this type beyond the many lives that will be saved and the significant reduction of pain and suffering. I couldn’t determine the number of healthcare workers specifically associated with the treatment of cancer, but it has to be in the hundreds of thousands, and they have relatively high-paying jobs. Then there are all the hospital beds filled by cancer patients – easily many tens of thousands. Plus all the ancillary workers that are associated with the care and welfare of cancer patients. The good news is that with the rising need for healthcare workers, those workers will be able to relatively quickly moved to an associated field. And let’s not forget the estimate Kyle Bass gave me, that at least $500 billion of market cap in big Pharma will be destroyed by a cure for cancer.

So there are just two examples of major disruptions to employment that will be caused by near-future technological change. We haven’t even gotten into the brick-and-mortar retail jobs that online sales firms like Amazon are taking away. And warehouse workers? The list could go on and on of whole job classifications that are endangered species. These changes are going to disrupt our lives and the social cohesion of our country. And of course these shifts are coming not just in the US, but in the entire developed world. And even technology centers in the developing world are going to find themselves at risk of employment dislocations.

Just so that I don’t appear to be a total Gloomy Gus, let me quickly note that the very technologies that are destroying job are also going to result in tens of millions of new and in many cases better jobs. Many of them will be high-paying, more life-fulfilling, and far less dangerous than the occupations they replace. I’ll write a letter in the near future in which I’ll talk about where those tens of millions of new jobs will hopefully come from.

The glib answer to the question, “Where will the jobs come from?” has always been “I don’t know, but they will.” That is what has always happened in the past. We went from 80% of laborers working on the farm in the 1800s at barely subsistence-level incomes to 2% producing far more food today. As these farm workers became redundant, they moved to where the jobs were. And with a lot of ups and downs, we managed over time to find jobs for nearly everyone. But that transition took place over 200+ years – 10 generations. There was time for people to adjust and for markets to adapt. Even when whole industries appeared and then disappeared again, it happened over generations. Everybody bemoans the loss of US manufacturing jobs, but few realize that we are producing almost as much as we ever have – just with fewer people. And this trend will continue. More production, with fewer workers. Just like we see in the oilfields.

The transformations I am talking about are going to happen in one half a generation, or at the most a full generation. That is not much time for adjustment, especially for a country like the United States where 69% of families have less than $1,000 in savings. (I have seen the figure quoted that 47% have less than $400.) That is not enough to deal with the loss of your job.

The classic Republican answer to this problem is that we need to unleash the entrepreneurial tide in the United States that has been dammed up by bureaucracy and excessive taxation. And there is a point to that. But for whatever reason – and this is a topic for another letter (and it’s one I have addressed in the past) – for the past five or six years the country has had more firms close than be created, and for the first time in our history.

Angst in America

Let me emphasize that ultimately we’ll arrive at a very happy ending. Our heroes and heroines will walk off into the sunset, holding hands and living happily ever after. Literally living happily ever after, because of the new life-extension technologies that are just around the corner in a world of amazing abundance and ever-cheaper products, with even greater lifestyles than today’s. Flying to the Moon and Mars…

The problem is not the happy ending. The problem is the transition, which is going to be bumpy and frustrating and potentially divisive. I’m going to show you three graphs from Pew Research. Analysts have been conducting studies (see people-press.org/interactives/political-polarization-1994-2017/ and pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/10/05/takeaways-on-americans-growing-partisan-divide-over-political-values/) since 1994, trying to discern political polarization. These three charts look at the years 1994, 2004, and 2017. Even as late as 2004, notice the broad crossover between the median Democrat and median Republican. And then notice how wide the divide is today.

Not only are the median positions of both parties further apart, but both parties have also shifted farther to their respective extremes in the last 13 years. The middle ground is much smaller, and to my eye it looks like the Democratic group is somewhat bigger than the Republican. You can see the same thing in the breakdown of the vote by states and counties; but since political commentary is not my genre, I’m going to avoid going any further down that rabbit hole.

But I will say that the internet, social media, and the media we consume on TV have allowed us to live in echo chambers where we are not really hearing much from the other side. We talk to people who think like we do and who tend to confirm that we are correct in our beliefs. That constant cycle of reinforcement makes our positions even more hardline, to the point where we trivialize or disparage the other side. It has seemingly become acceptable for an American congressman to say that he doesn’t feel sorry for those killed in the mass Las Vegas shooting because they were likely Trump supporters and against gun control. And for white hate groups to blatantly and publicly espouse racist positions. Antifa groups can call for the random killing of white people, simply for being white. And fewer than 30% of Millennials think that democracy is clearly the superior system of government.

And that is where we are today. Where are we going to be when unemployment is well over 12% and rising to 15%, the government is routinely running multi-trillion-dollar budget deficits, state and local pensions are defaulting, and taxes are high and still rising?

And all this is going to happen at a time when wealth and income disparity are going to rising even faster than they are today. It’s all there in the data if you take the time to look. I am working hard to document not just the technological changes but the social, demographic, and political changes, along with the economic realities we will face in the book I’m currently writing. My greatest challenge will be to keep it under 300 pages!

And so, yes, when people ask what is in my worry closet, it is the fragmentation of society. As a country, we are going to have to begin to think the unthinkable. We really don’t know how to accurately measure GDP or inflation, and we certainly don’t have any way to statistically measure the improvements in lifestyle over the years. And we will need those tools. As conservatives and Republicans, we are going to have to think about something like universal basic employment, as opposed to universal basic income. Good work and participating in society give us meaning in life. Income just gives us a way to scrape by, but not personal life satisfaction or meaning, which is why we have an epidemic of opioid deaths, suicides, and rising deaths from alcoholism in the United States among white unemployed workers between 45 and 54. They have lost meaning and hope in their lives.

The calls for a guaranteed basic income (like Mark Zuckerberg’s) are just beginning, but that is going to become a major political theme in our future. Like King Canute, we cannot stop the tides – but perhaps we could get creative and channel that tide. What do we think of shorter work weeks? Just as Roosevelt put men to work during the Depression, maybe we need to think about finding jobs around our communities that need to be done. Guaranteed basic employment. Mull that over….

Yes, that offends every Hayekian neuron in my brain, but in a world of an unimaginable and unmanageable future, we are going to have start thinking the unthinkable.

Voters are going to want politicians to solve their problems. Politicians can’t really solve the problems we already have, let alone the problems of the future, so I expect we are going to see shifts from one political extreme to the other.

Let’s be clear, these problems are not all going to show up next year, and most won’t even start to be understood until the early 2020s. But they’re coming, and we need to begin to plan for them now, for our country, for our own and our families’ lives, and for our portfolios. I look forward to being part of your journey and hopefully helping you to plan.

--------------------------------------------------

*This is an article from Thoughts from the Frontline, John Mauldin's free weekly investment and economic newsletter. This article first appeared here and is used by interest.co.nz with permission.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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54 Comments

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Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

Love it, “But I will say that the internet, social media, and the media we consume on TV have allowed us to live in echo chambers where we are not really hearing much from the other side. We talk to people who think like we do and who tend to confirm that we are correct in our beliefs. That constant cycle of reinforcement makes our positions even more hardline, to the point where we trivialize or disparage the other side”

Except on interest.co.nz. Left and right wing commentators in abundance.

That and the quality of discourse is much higher than blowing raspberries at the other colour/tribe/made up divide between only two indistinct concepts. Glad the election is over, most of the public will go into a political & economy interest hibernation. Almost as if our education in political and research areas is not encouraged alongside say the amount dedicated to sport.

According to Jack Ma, DT (Data technology, or big data) will solve any problem in future.

According to my daughter, the best flavours are, in order:

Raspberry
Lemon-Lime
Mango

A really good read, this one.

Interesting article, that raises some good points.

- When it happens, the transition will be brutal. More brutal than anything we have seen before. Both in terms of people impacted and speed at which it happens.

- The much heralded "Machines will do all the work" point is fast approaching, but no one has thought just how we will "spend" our leisure time.

- UBI, barter, free for all? how do we manage resource allocation in the future. We will need a new means of exchange.

- The current Financial/Political/Economical systems are not designed for this, yet people are blindly tethered to them, and fail to stray too far from current thinking.

It doesn't keep me up at night, but perhaps it should?

I'm still kept up at night worring about all the farriers, nightsoil men and chandlers that have lost their liveliehoods.

" In 1856 an average British man worked 149,700 hours over the course of his lifetime. By 1981 that number had almost halved to 88,000 hours – despite the fact that he lived much longer. He now spent more time in education, on holiday, in retirement or leaving work early. In 1960 a British worker spent nearly 12% percent of his or her life at work; by 2010 that number dropped to less than 9% (and I bet she spends some of the “work” time on his home life, reading emails, paying bills)."

“There will continue to be jobs for humans as long as there are unsatisfied human wants and desires. Once all of those are satisfied then jobs don’t matter, do they?”

http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/artificial-intelligence/

Maryborough in Queensland only got rid of its night soil service in the 1980s. Australians eh?

Impressive use of 'she' and 'his' there profile. Didn't you get the memo that you need to use gender neutral 'they' and 'their' now?

ZC I did contemplate for all of 2 seconds what the gender neutral term was for night soil dudes but then thought screw it no one will care. Silly me! If this comes up again I will be sure to use the term night soil gatherer. But then will I offend people from Southland having to pronounce "gatherer"?

And if the nightsoil gatherer trips over and tips the lot out (in Southland) shurely they'd have to be called a Re-Gatherer......

"A time-traveling Michael J. Fox... little imagining what his REAL future would hold. What it's brought is a challenge Fox has met with courage, resolve, and remarkable good humor"

Parkinson's for the economy?

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/michael-j-fox-on-working-towards-a-parkinso...

11
up

"Let’s be clear: The Industrial Age and free-market capitalism, for all of its bumps and warts, has lifted more people out of poverty..."

No doubt. But the flip side is massive human population growth and stress on resources & habitat. Human population & poverty success stories are only one side of the coin. The flip side is animal extinction & a trashed planet. Not such a great plan after all.

"“Where will the jobs come from?” has always been “I don’t know, but they will.” That is what has always happened in the past."

Strip it back and you get the equation "Burning fossil fuels creates employment". This is where the jobs have come from. Which tells you where they won't just come from in future. You cant build a city with a solar panel.
And as pointed out, Automation can have massive deflationary forces ... workers are also consumers.
The widespread belief in the ability of technology to solve resource/economic issues is really down to the fact no-one wants to have to change their behaviour.

Who wants change? We do
Who wants to change? ...

So rather than face change, they lap up the "electric car will solve everything" and settle back into as you were mode. Fossil fuel has created the belief that travelling on a whim is a right, not a temporary luxury. Not so.

"Who wants change? We do
Who wants to change? ..."

Most apt comment I have seen in a long time.

Nocents so how will YOU change to adapt exactly ?
Opportunity missed by so many Aucklanders

I have already made many changes. A change in mindset being the biggest one.

Ultimately I would like to be fully self sufficient in 10-15 years. But there is still a lot more work to be done.

I don’t think capitalism has been necessarily free market at all
Numerous laws regulate & restrict yet still the vast majority of wealth worldwide is held in fewer hands albeit there has been new millionaires created yet world population has also increased
Crony capitalism is what prevails and you need look no further than Trump seeking to cancel death duty and save his family at least US$4Billion while 47% in US have no more than $400 Saved
Obviously a few here need to live outside godsown & work for beans with no safety net

Those crazy capitalists trashing the planet. "“Our surveys show an exponential increase in the number of whales since 2011 when we first began our studies," he said."
https://www.popsci.com/new-york-city-whales

Not sure if you're trolling, simply didn't read much beyond the headline, or you're completely daft.

The article is about how many humpbacks are in the vicinity of New York because the Hudson river has been cleaned up, and says nothing whatsoever about overall populations. And it talks about how the Hudson river estuary is cleaner because the clean water act forced the 'capitalists' to stop dumping toxic waster into the rivers.

Jesus, it's hard to imagine a less accurate caption than yours.

No one forced the capitalists - they did it themselves.

No they didn't

Yeah Communism and Socialism have been so great for the environment.

from your article...
"To what can we credit this radical shift? For starters there’s legislation..."

The US basically legislated to shift their (manufacturing) pollution to other countries. They still consume 25% of worlds resources.

Nice theory Ham n Eggs. "Here's an environmental story not many people know about. Between 1990 and 2008, US manufacturing output grew by one-third.* Yet air pollution from US factories fell by about two-thirds.

How did this happen? One possibility is that by cracking down on air pollution, we simply pushed our dirtiest factories overseas to countries like China. If so, that would be bad news — it would mean we're offloading pollution elsewhere rather than cleaning it up.

But this gloomy story doesn't appear to hold up. In a recent NBER working paper, Georgetown economist Arik Levinson estimated that more than 90 percent of the drop in US factory pollution since 1990 was due to companies adopting cleaner production techniques — things like switching fuels, becoming more efficient, recycling, or adopting pollution-capture technology.

...And what he found was that the decline in pollution wasn't driven by offshoring. US factories were genuinely finding ways to cut emissions. In fact, the industries that saw the biggest drops in pollution intensity actually grew as a share of output."
https://www.vox.com/2015/2/8/7999417/US-factory-pollution-offshoring

Again, read your own article.

"Other studies have found that both the US and Europe have indeed "exporting" more and more carbon dioxide emissions to countries like China. In other words, we're consuming more and more stuff made in China, which causes their emissions to grow. Levinson's paper doesn't necessarily contradict those findings about carbon outsourcing (one looks at domestic production, the other at consumption habits)"

The outsourcing to China started round late 70s

Fact is the US is polluting less "sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and two types of particulate matter" and the study shows it is not because of off shoring as you suggested. ...and the old eco zealot ruse of conflating CO2 with pollution doesn't change this.

Where do you prefer manufacturing to occur? Communist China or the US?

"Where do you prefer manufacturing to occur? "

The ecosystem cares not.
What you are trying to get it is the USA/capitalism can do it "cleaner". Which begs the question why outsource any manufacturing then? Surely its not because capitalism also demands CHEAP and a return on investment?

Yeah right - forest area and growth has increased in the US in the past century. China not so much. But hey keep buying your steel from China if that’s what turns your dial.

It was not the ideas of capitalists that saved whales far, far from it, left entirely to them there would be none left, this sort of stuff falls to the objectors and the protesters, who, having reached a certain number are able to make the capitalists do something.

Yeah that nasty greedy Republican Grant going out and creating Yellowstone. What was he thinking?

Considering that Bob Dole barely recognizes the Republican party of 2017, harkening back to Ulysses Grant is pretty ridiculous, and by ridiculous I mean worthy of ridicule.

Heck, former speaker of the house John Boehner barely recognises his own party anymore, and that's only a few years back. This documentary is really illuminating: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyloY0AexbM

Exactly, the current Republican Party is contemplating downgrading National Parks in the USA, it is like the Dems and the Repubs did the politcial equivalent of planets flipping on their axes. In name only.

Energy creates jobs. It doesn't have to be fossil fuel. Fossil fuels were a simple way of releasing energy. Electric cars are superior to petrol/diesel in terms of performance and maintenance. The issue is the recharging times. The key issue is skills becoming redundant and how people are redeployed. Bus drivers aren't going to turn into data scientists over night.

"Energy creates jobs. It doesn't have to be fossil fuel. "

It does if
- you're planning on manufacturing anything (such as EV's)
- you're planning on mining anything (such as minerals for batteries)
- you're planning on feeding a 7 billion + population (ie industrial based Ag)
- you're planning on flying, shipping, freighting anything to scale and JIT
- you're planning on living in cities
- you're planning on existing medical care
- youre planning on using existing infrastructure &
- you're not planning on crashing the financial system

Ie Its a bigger problem than how we joyride.

"But the flip side is massive human population growth and stress on resources & habitat. Human population & poverty success stories are only one side of the coin. The flip side is animal extinction & a trashed planet. Not such a great plan after all."

Spot on. The core problem is the one which time and again goes unmentioned. There are too many people on Earth exerting too much pressure on Earth, and it's only getting worse. The question of what jobs, if any, these people might have is so far away from the real problem it doesn't even merit being called beside the point.

It's only getting better. Peak baby was 1990. Manhattan Island has one of the highest population densities on the planet and it has humpbacks cruising around in it's harbour. People are getting killed by bears within 50km of NYC... Nature is tougher than you think.

I will not repeat my comments about specious arguments, see above.

I just hope someone is investigating how humans, and/or human ingenuity will take over the work of bees.

Is there anything capitalism can't do? "But while the media declares disaster and the federal government attempts to create a "national pollination strategy," commercial beekeepers have quietly rebuilt their honeybee colonies to even greater numbers than before colony collapse disorder began a decade ago. Instead of standing idly by while their colonies vanish in the face of disease or pests, these migratory beekeepers, with their trucks full of bees and honey, continue to ply the roads between various crops to provide the pollination services our modern agricultural economy demands—busy as, well, you know.".

https://reason.com/archives/2017/07/19/how-capitalism-saved-the-bees/

"Is there anything capitalism can't do?"

Raise interest rates.

Comment of the week!!!!!!

Just head to the loan shark shops of South Auckland. I think you will find capitalists can raise interest rates alright. Pretty dumb comment. Yeah raise interest rates and make the fat cats rich. That'll sort out those spruikers. Dumb as a sack of bricks.

Pretty dumb comment. CapitaLISM rates are only heading one way.

http://www.fedprimerate.com/fedfundsrate/federal-funds-target-rate_chart...

Yay, lots more unemployed monkey brains demanding free stuff and blaming the world. Can't wait to live through that.

Typically Mauldin the whole story was a play to sell cancer stock
Shameless stock spruiker
There were no new facts in Mauldins article It’s all been well reported here

What I didn't get was all these unemployed/unemployable, who's going to be able to afford the cancer drugs?
I must be old, heard it all before.
While his stats illustrating change may be impressive they pale into insignificance for both speed and intensity beside changes such as those wrought by WWll.

Cynical comment of the week!!

12
up

So why have we been flooding our country with hordes of people who will be displaced by automation in the near future. We do not need to be setting up ourselves for the sort of polarisation that this article demonstrates. We need to fill any people shortages by increasing our productivity, embracing automation and new technologies. (and by shifting our priorities to endeavours that will make a meaningful contribution to our economy)

A cure for cancer was unthinkable years ago and now its within reach. This horrible disease has affected so many families so a cure in our lifetime would indeed be wonderful.

I read this article and see an exciting future.