FROM Darrell West
Should Americans Be Having More Babies? In the late 1960's, Paul Ehrlich warned that a Population Bomb was creating so many people they wouldn't be able to feed themselves within 20 years. The new book, What to Expect When No One's Expecting , is claiming the opposite: the root of America's problems is that the birthrate's declining. That means too few workers to care for the elderly, innovate and keep the economy growing. Is raising children just too expensive? Are liberated women working instead of staying home? What about abortion and contraception? Debate about population raises a host of hot-button issues, including immigration reform. If we're not producing enough people, why not import them?
Should We Blame Technology for High Unemployment? When two researchers at MIT started a book to be called The Digital Frontier, they were optimistic that technological innovation would increase productivity, and that would mean new jobs. But their inquiries led in a very different direction. From farms to factories, and now to the service economy, human workers are losing their jobs to machines. The "creative destruction" that used to increase employment is working the other way around: productivity is on the rise, but it's not creating many new jobs. As computers become more sophisticated, how can humans learn to compete? Segment Image: A traveler undergoes a full body scan performed by Transportation Security Administration agents at the Denver International Airport. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
Is a Robot Waiting for your Job? When two researchers at MIT started a book to be called The Digital Frontier, they were optimistic that technological innovation would increase productivity, and that would mean new jobs. Historically speaking, that has been the case. But their inquiries led in a very different direction. In the current recession it's the other way around: more productivity but fewer jobs. "Technological unemployment" has gone from the factory floor to America's service economy, once called "the last repository" of jobs. This time, the old jobs aren't being replaced by new ones. From banks to gas stations to grocery stores, information technology is taking a heavy toll. Google has shown that a computer can drive a car. What can we do to protect our species from losing the race with machines?
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.