As three-dimensional (3D) printers, which make objects layer by layer, have fallen in price, their use has expanded beyond industry. A number of artists now also employ the technology. One of them, Ioan Florea—Romanian-born but now based in America—used a 3D printer to customise his classic 1971 Ford Torino for a recent exhibition. Mr Florea prints parts in plastic, coats them with other materials or uses the printed parts as moulds. For his car, he developed a process that produces what he calls a “liquid-metal” finish. Ford, which uses 3D printers to make prototype parts, has shown interest in his work, but Mr Florea is keeping his methods secret.
IMAGINE the proceeds of economic output as a pie, crudely divided between the wages earned by workers and the returns accrued to the owners of capital, whether as profits, rents or interest income. Until the early 1980s the relative sizes of those slices were so stable that their constancy became an economic rule of thumb. Much of modern macroeconomics simply assumes the shares remain the same. That stability provides the link between productivity and prosperity. If workers always get the same slice of the economic pie, then an improvement in their average productivity—which boosts growth—should translate into higher average earnings.
More recently, however, economics textbooks have been almost the only places where labour’s share of national income remains constant. Over the past 30 years, the workers’ take from the pie has shrunk across the globe (seearticle). In America, their wages used to make up almost 70% of GDP; now the figure is 64%, according to the OECD. Some of the biggest declines have been egalitarian societies such as Norway (where labour’s share has fallen from 64% in 1980 to 55% now) and Sweden (down from 74% in 1980 to 65% now). A drop has also occurred in many emerging markets, particularly in Asia.
The scale and breadth of this squeeze are striking. And the consequences are ugly. Since capital tends to be owned by richer households, a rising share of national income going to capital worsens inequality. In countries where the gap in wages between high earners and the rest has also increased, the two effects compound each other. In America, the share of national income going to the bottom 99% of workers has fallen from 60% before the 1980s to 50%. When growth is sluggish, as it is now, these shifts mean that most workers are getting a smaller morsel of a smaller slice of a slow-growing pie.
Politically, that is dangerous, and it is producing a lot of predictably polarised debate. The left blames fat-cat firms and the weakness of unions for workers’ declining share. Those on the right, if they acknowledge a problem at all, argue that the fault lies with big government and high taxes.
These explanations are hard to square with the fact that the shrinkage in labour’s share of the pie has occurred in so many countries, with widely differing levels of unionisation and sizes of government. Indeed, studies comparing the trends in different countries’ labour markets suggest that the sorts of things politicians argue about, from corporate-governance rules to trade-union laws, are not what really count here. Bigger global forces seem to be at work. Innovation, especially in information technology, has dramatically increased the wages of workers with the skills to harness it, while hitting others. It has also squeezed labour’s overall share of the pie, as firms substitute ever-cheaper machines for less-skilled workers. Some economists also emphasise the role of globalisation, especially trade with China, in adding to the pinch.
All this points to the sorts of things policymakers can do to help. They should focus on improving the prospects of the low-paid and low-skilled. And they should aim to spread capital’s gains more widely.
The goal should be to strengthen workers without hamstringing firms. Growth, rather than employment protection, is the priority. More work means a stronger labour market, which would bid up employees’ slice, as it did in America in the 1990s when unemployment was at record lows. But even in a growing economy a worker competing with a machine can lose out. So education and training need a reboot too: a greater emphasis on technical subjects, from maths to mechanics, would help ensure that more workers are not replaced by machines but design and operate them.
The charms of popular capitalism
Other sensible reforms may seem counterintuitive. A cut in corporate tax rates is one: combined with a narrowing of the difference between tax rates on individuals’ income from capital and from labour (which is often more heavily taxed), the result would be a more efficient system that promoted economic growth, and thus jobs. Policymakers could also think more creatively about broadening capital ownership, whether through pension reform or more privatisation. Paradoxical as it may sound, a good antidote to labour’s falling share of national income would be to boost ordinary workers’ share of capital.
IF SCHOOLS were child centric they would make age relevant interventions:
if anyone is illiterate at age 6 it only takes 90 days to change that - best of all a literate kid can be main helper in 20 minute session - see sunita gandhi
finacial literacy would be practicsed from age 8 - see aflatoun ( works in 100 countries
from age 10 pre-teens would have access to pfysical and mental health studies designed peer to peer -see Lancet
no kid would leave primary school without knowing how open space meetings/teamwork is facilitated
teachers would be celebrated for clarifying which skills involve experiential learning not classroom examination - while there is some recognition that music and sports involve practice, its shocking that coding isnt valued this way ..
Do you have life-changing moment to share? - what was it and what did you think or do differently after it?
example until 9/11, i assumed that (good) futures are happening somewhere in the world and would be searched out so that all could communally replicate them; === 9/11 caused me to question whether global connectivity will give us time to find sustainable solutions for our kids- i became particulaly interested in places where good education leaps appeared but did not get app'd the world over - one example actually goes back to my favorite 1990s advances in schools that a small cliuster of new zealand schools pioneered - download it here https://oiipdf.com/download/the-learning-revolution
i welcome discussion of this book's parts at any time rsvp email@example.com if you have a solution every community that develops youth could be cooperational
in 1984our book with economist editors 2025report made the case for 40 year commitment to every child identifying own skils dashboard and maximising AI curation of this- we valued this as sustainability critical worldwide cooperation - we see no logic for changing this concern
== we live in an age where most up to half of knowhow of techforgood changes every 3 years - we needed mindsets for exploration not for being standard examined; a nation that makes its college students its largest debt class is likely to collapse economically socially environmentally if web3 is designed for celebrating sustainability cooperation; and if web3 is not designed for neough yout to linkin the first sustainability generation then we are all heading the way of the dodo
TECH - What is IT? and which exponential multipliers most impact human and natural futures?
AI >. silicon chip singularity (ie when one chip > one brain in pure analytical capacity) - science fictiion no moore
who programs the ai - the race to include lost voices eg girls- the world of statistics re=-examined like never before (eg previously mass statistics very weak at coding meaining from numbers)
Biotech >> Affective science (loveq and emotional intelligence remains human's unique edge over artificials for at least 10 more years!)
Some people say that Virtual or Augmented Reality has advanced at its best so far in last 12 months that there are hardly any qualified teachers only pioneering explorers- does this matter - well its VR which is your gateway to web3 - intead of just a mobile device you will like wear a visual sensor system; equally others argue that you shouldnt worry about how fast you put googles on - what you should want is to take back ownbership of what you spend time creating virually- look at the small print of the big platforms you probably dont own anything without them..maybe this is a generation issue bu interstingly the met-generation can now work on chnaging anything that old systems are destroying (eg climate) ...t
IOT which things will now have brains and be as mobile connected as you are
Crypto - can communities celebrate financiang their own most urgent sustainability cooperations? if they dont who wil?
Cyber >> Drone - opportunities and threats of public spaces- first in spaces like the arctic circle if we dont use drones we will get no warning before the big meltdown
-the mkist memorable western campus event i attended in 2010s was tufts colllaboratory summit convened mainly by arctic circle youth under 25;
one of the main debates how to help teachers in arctic circle schools empower their students to use virtual reality to visit other arctic circles schools communities; many of the changes and solutions are analogous; I am reminded by educators leading the compilation of virtual realty libraries of the DICE acronym - a reen might want to do something dangerous like climb everest, why not VR simulate that? there are impossible things a trainee doctor will never be able to travel inside a humans gut but that can be VR'd; there are catastropghic simulations - you would rid the world of bees just to test if donald is wrong about nature being more powerful than he is, you can simulate it; or the future of smart tourism may be curation of what a community is proudest of being visited for - this way ecotourism, cultural appreciation exchanges can be twinned to maximise celebration of each other- and by the way friends of the tourist can join in virtually- of corse this raises a metaverse question - that Hong Kong is leading the world on
being 100% public - good and bad hacs- note context matters - context 1 smart city context 2 isolated vilalge no moore context 3 make a huge land safe at borders