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jerryking : industrial_revolution   14

An equation to ensure America survives the age of AI
April 10, 2019 | Financial Times | Elizabeth Cobbs.

Alexander Hamilton, Horace Mann and Frances Perkins are linked by their emphasis on the importance of human learning.

In more and more industries, the low-skilled suffer declining pay and hours. McKinsey estimates that 60 per cent of occupations are at risk of partial or total automation. Workers spy disaster. Whether the middle class shrinks in the age of artificial intelligence depends less on machine learning than on human learning. Historical precedents help, especially...... the Hamilton-Mann-Perkins equation: innovation plus education, plus a social safety net, equals the sum of prosperity.

(1) Alexander Hamilton.
US founding father Alexander Hamilton was first to understand the relationship between: (a) the US's founding coincided with the industrial revolution and the need to grapple with technological disruption (In 1776, James Watts sold his first steam engine when the ink was still wet on the Declaration of Independence)-- Steam remade the world economically; and (b), America’s decolonisation remade the world politically......Hamilton believed that Fledgling countries needed robust economies. New technologies gave them an edge. Hamilton noted that England owed its progress to the mechanization of textile production.......Thomas Jefferson,on the other hand, argued that the US should remain pastoral: a free, virtuous nation exchanged raw materials for foreign goods. Farmers were “the chosen people”; factories promoted dependence and vice.....Hamilton disagreed. He thought colonies shouldn’t overpay foreigners for things they could produce themselves. Government should incentivise innovation, said his 1791 Report on the Subject of Manufactures. Otherwise citizens would resist change even when jobs ceased to provide sufficient income, deterred from making a “spontaneous transition to new pursuits”.......the U.S. Constitution empowered Congress to grant patents to anyone with a qualified application. America became a nation of tinkerers...Cyrus McCormick, son of a farmer, patented a mechanical reaper in 1834 that reduced the hands needed in farming. The US soared to become the world’s largest economy by 1890. Hamilton’s constant: nurture innovation.

(2) Horace Mann
America’s success gave rise to the idea that a free country needed free schools. The reformer Horace Mann, who never had more than six weeks of schooling in a year, started the Common School Movement, calling public schools “the greatest discovery made by man”.....Grammar schools spread across the US between the 1830s and 1880s. Reading, writing and arithmetic were the tools for success in industrialising economies. Towns offered children a no-cost education.......Americans achieved the world’s highest per capita income just as they became the world’s best-educated people. Mann’s constant: prioritise education.

(3) Frances Perkins
Jefferson was correct that industrial economies made people more interdependent. By 1920, more Americans lived in towns earning wages than on farms growing their own food. When the Great Depression drove unemployment to 25 per cent, the state took a third role....FDR recruited Frances Perkins, the longest serving labour secretary in US history, to rescue workers. Perkins led campaigns that established a minimum wage and maximum workweek. Most importantly, she chaired the committee that wrote the 1935 Social Security Act, creating a federal pension system and state unemployment insurance. Her achievements did not end the depression, but helped democracy weather it. Perkins’s constant: knit a safety net.

The world has ridden three swells of industrialisation occasioned by the harnessing of steam, electricity and computers. The next wave, brought to us by AI, towers over us. History shows that innovation, education and safety nets point the ship of state into the wave.

Progress is a variable. Hamilton, Mann and Perkins would each urge us to mind the constants in the historical equation.
adaptability  Alexander_Hamilton  artificial_intelligence  automation  constitutions  disruption  downward_mobility  education  FDR  Founding_Fathers  Frances_Perkins  gig_economy  historical_precedents  hollowing_out  Horace_Mann  Industrial_Revolution  innovation  innovation_policies  James_Watts  job_destruction  job_displacement  job_loss  life_long_learning  low-skilled  McKinsey  middle_class  priorities  productivity  public_education  public_schools  safety_nets  slavery  steam_engine  the_Great_Depression  Thomas_Jefferson  tinkerers 
april 2019 by jerryking
John Steele Gordon: The Little Miracle Spurring Inequality - WSJ
Updated June 2, 2014

Extreme leaps in innovation, like the invention of the microprocessor, bring with them staggering fortunes....The great growth of fortunes in recent decades is not a sinister development. Instead it is simply the inevitable result of an extraordinary technological innovation, the microprocessor, which Intel brought to market in 1971. Seven of the 10 largest fortunes in America today were built on this technology, as have been countless smaller ones. These new fortunes unavoidably result in wealth being more concentrated at the top.

But no one is poorer because Bill Gates , Larry Ellison , et al., are so much richer. These new fortunes came into existence only because the public wanted the products and services—and lower prices—that the microprocessor made possible. Anyone who has found his way home thanks to a GPS device or has contacted a child thanks to a cellphone appreciates the awesome power of the microprocessor. All of our lives have been enhanced and enriched by the opens up many new economic niches, and entrepreneurs rush to take advantage of the new opportunities....The Dutch exploited the new trade (with India and the East Indies) so successfully that the historian Simon Schama entitled his 1987 book on this period of Dutch history "The Embarrassment of Riches."...attempt to tax away new fortunes in the name of preventing inequality is certain to have adverse effects on further technology creation and niche exploitation by entrepreneurs—and harm job creation as a result. The reason is one of the laws of economics: Potential reward must equal the risk or the risk won't be taken.
Silicon_Valley  wealth_creation  innovation  income_distribution  income_inequality  productivity_payoffs  plutocracies  software  Thomas_Piketty  microprocessors  historians  history  entrepreneurship  books  Industrial_Revolution  Gilded_Age  Simon_Schama  Dutch  discontinuities  disequilibriums  adverse_selection 
march 2015 by jerryking
Welcome to the Failure Age! -
NOV. 12, 2014 | NYT | By ADAM DAVIDSON.

The unexpected truth about innovation is that it is, by necessity, inextricably linked with major side-effect of innovation through the ages: pure terror. Every week brings news of a profession or an institution in the target of the next Uber. But terror—of losing a job or having no skills for the information age or being attacked by tiny drones– “can also be helpful,” “The only way to harness this new age of failure is to learn how to bounce back from disaster and create the societal institutions that help us do so.
failure  innovation  Industrial_Revolution  institution-building  resilience  bouncing_back  social_fabric 
november 2014 by jerryking
James Surowiecki: America’s History of Industrial Espionage
JUNE 9, 2014 | The New Yorker | BY JAMES SUROWIECKI

One of these artisans was Samuel Slater, often called “the father of the American industrial revolution.” He emigrated here in 1789, posing as a farmhand and bringing with him an intimate knowledge of the Arkwright spinning frames that had transformed textile production in England, and he set up the first water-powered textile mill in the U.S. Two decades later, the American businessman Francis Cabot Lowell talked his way into a number of British mills, and memorized the plans to the Cartwright power loom. When he returned home, he built his own version of the loom, and became the most successful industrialist of his time.

The American government often encouraged such piracy. Alexander Hamilton, in his 1791 “Report on Manufactures,” called on the country to reward those who brought us “improvements and secrets of extraordinary value” from elsewhere. State governments financed the importation of smuggled machines. And although federal patents were supposed to be granted only to people who came up with original inventions, Ben-Atar shows that, in practice, Americans were receiving patents for technology pirated from abroad.

Piracy was a big deal even in those days. Great Britain had strict laws against the export of machines, and banned skilled workers from emigrating. Artisans who flouted the ban could lose their property and be convicted of treason.
Alexander_Hamilton  China  copycats  espionage  history  industrial_espionage  Industrial_Revolution  intellectual_property  James_Surowiecki  security_&_intelligence 
june 2014 by jerryking
Making it in the new industrial revolution
Aug. 29, 2012 | The Financial Times | by Luke Johnson.
Two new books make this point: first, the Financial Times's Peter Marsh in his excellent book The New Industrial Revolution ; and second, Chris Anderson, of The Long Tail fame, in his new title, Makers . They argue that mass production is giving way to customisation, combined with localism, and the emergence of "micro-multinationals".

Digital manufacturing employs computers and a process called stereolithography to make products using layers of either powdered or molten plastic or metal, in what is described as "additive manufacturing". ...whether it is Apple iPhones or Rolls-Royce Trent aero engines, the real profit is not made in the basic assembly of goods. The margins are in servicing, brands, design and after-sales.

Manufacturing contributes to an economy in many ways. As Andrew Liveris, chief executive of Dow Chemical, argues in his book Make It In America , it creates more added value pro rata than other activities, and is much more likely to generate exports to help offset trade deficits. Moreover, research and development tends to take place alongside manufacturing centres, which foster clusters of sub-contractors. It is no coincidence that Germany, Europe's manufacturing powerhouse, has weathered the credit crisis so well compared to other EU nations.

Since the downturn started, many politicians in the developed world have insisted that societies move away from financial capitalism and back towards the real business of making things. If this policy is to succeed, it cannot be the usual formula of enticing global public companies to build multibillion-dollar plants. It must be about education, entrepreneurship and exploiting new equipment on a more bespoke scale. Incremental jobs in manufacturing can come from new, niche entrants using innovations in technology to help make them more of a match for the big incumbents.
manufacturers  Luke_Johnson  3-D  books  DIY  microproducers  Industrial_Revolution  developed_countries  margins  services  brands  design  after-sales_service  Apple  Rolls-Royce  developing_countries 
august 2012 by jerryking
Industry: Nimble, niche and networked -
June 12, 2012 | FT |By Peter Marsh

Nimble companies, operating on a global basis in niche areas of technology, that seem likely to prosper in the new industrial revolution now beginning. The fact that the UK is replete with such businesses suggests the country could emerge once again as a leading contender in manufacturing– a sector it pioneered in the 18th and 19th centuries but more recently has allowed to slip back in favour of services.......Although Britain may have the knowhow and cultural characteristics required to stage an industrial comeback, it still lags behind far behind the likes of Japan and Germany, where boutique companies making uniquely specialised products form the economic backbone of the nation. If Britain is to resurrect manufacturing as a high-value growth engine, it will almost certainly require some action by government to make the most of the country’s potential....hundreds of connections with companies around the world, which is one fundamental characteristic of the new industrial revolution. Three others involve the application of new technologies, a focus on “niche” areas of industry and an increasing focus on “personalised” products........Today the archetypal UK manufacturer is a small business with perhaps 50 employees that is based in an unremarkable edge-of-town business park and boasts global links as opposed to a highly visible smokestack in a large city. Such companies account for a greater share of industrial activity since the larger enterprises have fallen away.....The UK’s prevailing approach to manufacturing – emphasising small, agile businesses with an eye for the unusual that formulate their own rules – could fit in with the requirements for success......An individualist in the same mould is Sir James Dyson, a high-octane innovator who has made his eponymous vacuum cleaner business into a global leader. His dividing of the company’s Asia-based production from its UK-centred product development is in line with the blueprint of the new industrial revolution stressing the separation of elements in the manufacturing “value chain”......There are further reasons to think the natural leanings of UK manufacturing fit into the framework of the new industrial revolution. One is a tendency to focus on selling into areas with narrow parameters that can to a large degree be invented by the participating companies themselves, and to rely on selling services as well as products.......The best example is the Formula 1 car racing business. This involves intensive use of engineering resources to design and make high-grade machines that do little apart from playing the lead role in a global spectator sport built on advertising. There is no reason why Britain should have become the leading country for Formula 1 car production – apart from the fact that it fits with the UK leaning towards production based around esoteric technologies and markets......British industry also features a facility for working with a range of technical disciplines and finding the common ground between them. ......A third important strength of the UK is the ability to devise solutions to customers’ problems. These are often based on an approach geared to making products as highly customised “one-offs”, and to the needs of one business as opposed to many....The characteristics of the new industrial revolution, however, make the task of assisting UK manufacturing a lot simpler as the country already has many of the attributes required. In this new environment it would seem sensible for policy to plug the gaps in the manufacturing framework that already exists. Such initiatives could focus on helping companies to improve their technologies, develop more global strategies and organise more joint development projects with larger businesses in order to learn more about such groups’ technical capabilities.
3-D  boutiques  collaboration  competitiveness_of_nations  Dyson  Formula_One  gazelles  industrial_policies  Industrial_Revolution  James_Dyson  manufacturers  niches  nimbleness  one-of-a-kind  personalization  production_lines  product_development  specialists  United_Kingdom  value_chains 
june 2012 by jerryking
Mining of Raw Data May Bring New Productivity, a Study Says -
May 13, 2011 | NYT | By STEVE LOHR.
(fresh produce) Data is a vital raw material of the information economy, much as coal
and iron ore were in the Industrial Revolution. But the business world
is just beginning to learn how to process it all. The current data surge
is coming from sophisticated computer tracking of shipments, sales,
suppliers and customers, as well as e-mail, Web traffic and social
network comments. ..Mining and analyzing these big new data sets can
open the door to a new wave of innovation, accelerating productivity and
economic growth. ..The next stage, they say, will exploit
Internet-scale data sets to discover new businesses and predict consumer
behavior and market shifts.
....The McKinsey Global Institute is publishing “Big Data: The Next
Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity.” It makes
estimates of the potential benefits from deploying data-harvesting
technologies and skills.
massive_data_sets  Steve_Lohr  McKinsey  data  consumer_behavior  data_driven  data_mining  analytics  Freshbooks  digital_economy  fresh_produce  OPMA  Industrial_Revolution  datasets  new_businesses  productivity 
may 2011 by jerryking
The Most Powerful Idea in the World
In less than a century, in a single place, human welfare and
prosperity, which had barely changed in the preceding 10,000 years,
entered an era of sustained and explosive growth that continues to this
day. The moment did not occur in 2nd century Alexandria, or 12th century
China, or Renaissance Italy, but in 18th century Britain; and, as
William Rosen chronicles in his extraordinary new history, the reason
was the power of an idea: that inventors should have ownership of their

The Most Powerful Idea in the World is the story of that idea as
expressed in the “biography” of a single invention: the steam engine.
How it came to be born; how it grew to power factories, drive other
inventions, and carry people and freight, by rail and by sea
18th_century  book_reviews  Industrial_Revolution  United_Kingdom  inventors  patent_law  patents  books  ideas  inventions  industrial_age  steam_engine  James_Watts 
december 2010 by jerryking
Thinkers And Tinkerers
June 22, 2010 | The New Republic | Edward Glaeser. Reviews
The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain, 1700-1850 by
Joel Mokyr Yale University Press, 564 pp., $45. The Industrial
Revolution is the inflection point of economic history. During all the
millennia before that revolution, incomes were static and humans were
poor—often hungry, inadequately clothed, ill-housed. But somehow, in the
2.5 centuries since humanity learned to mass produce, a large number of
ordinary people have acquired more material comfort than even the
wealthiest magnates of the pre-industrial era....Joel Mokyr (The Lever
of Riches) a distinguished economic historian, explores England’s early
industrial age. Mokyr's overarching thesis is about the power of ideas.
His grand idea is that the practical, avaricious inventors of the
industrial revolution owed much to the academic, but worldly,
philosophers of the Enlightenment.
Industrial_Revolution  history  book_reviews  financial_history  the_Enlightenment  Joel_Mokyr  economic_history  industrial_age  precision  ideas  inventors  books  mass_production  England  United_Kingdom  steam_engine  James_Watts  tinkerers  inflection_points 
july 2010 by jerryking
George Lucas Wants More “Greek Philosophers and Cobblers” — World Business Forum — Presented by Shell
George Lucas divides the forms of learning into two parts that
are equally important in shaping how people think and act. The first
part is “the philosophical-intellectual side,” in the
Aristotle/Plato/Socratic mold. The second part is apprenticeship
mold....“Once we got into the Industrial Revolution, those two forms of
learning got swept aside and education became an exercise in pumping as
much information as possible into kids,”... like an assembly line, and
at the end of the assembly line, the students spit back the information
and get a diploma. That doesn’t work.” Through the George Lucas
Educational Foundation, he’s applying his storytelling and technical
prowess to engage students and turn out sharper thinkers who can thrive
in an age of information overload.
storytelling  George_Lucas  Greek  apprenticeships  students  Industrial_Revolution  Socratic  critical_thinking  foundations  philanthropy  philosophers  Plato 
may 2010 by jerryking
Emerging Markets, Emerging Giants
April 22, 2007 | New York Times | By WILLIAM J. HOLSTEIN. A
NEW wave of foreign competitive pressure is beginning to ripple through
the United States economy, from companies in emerging markets like
Brazil, Russia, India and China. “We are seeing a rebalancing of the
global economy back to where it was before the Industrial Revolution,
when China and India were major powers in the world.” says Antoine van
Agtmael, author of a new book, “The Emerging Markets Century: How a New
Breed of World-Class Companies Is Overtaking the World.” The emerging
multinationals haven’t had time to establish brand names, as Sony or LG
have done, but they will compensate for that. “They are either going to
buy American companies and use their brands or develop their own brand
BRIC  globalization  KPMG  publishing  ripple_effects  Gadi_Prager  books  emerging_markets  multinationals  China  market_entry  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  brands  Industrial_Revolution  history  global_economy 
december 2009 by jerryking

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