A Reader In Mississippi [Email him]
Brenda Walker and Steve Sailer have developed two strands of thought that ought to be pulled together, specifically Ms. Walker’s essays on the increasing automation of the American economy, and Mr. Sailer’s blog post on Africa’s population explosion: The African Population Bomb: This, Too, Shall Pass.
The automation of American labor, skilled and unskilled, is obviously proceeding apace. Even in the medical profession, specialties like radiology and anesthesiology are under threat in the short-to-medium term. Someone clever enough to make his way into one of these fields, though, is clever enough to make his way into other highly paid employment when the need arises.
The rubber meets the road, though, when automation displaces workers in the bottom third of the Bell Curve more or less completely. I can claim fairly extensive knowledge of this segment of the population, as most of my Emergency Department patients are drawn from amongst them, and what I can say is that the destruction of their employment by technology will be almost total.
The jobs that they can manage (and often struggle to manage, when they feel like struggling) are jobs following simple instructions that do not require much counting, or clarity of thought or expression. Dexterity is the only advantage that they have over the machines, and that advantage is fading fast.
Choosing robotic reliability over incompetence, sullenness and sloth is not difficult, and will be made every time it is available. In time— and perhaps not even that much time— there will be nothing left for these people to do, except for rare cases where an employer has formed a personal attachment to one of them.
What, then, to do with all these superfluous hands (and mouths)? Here in the Deep South we have considerable experience with managing unproductive members of society: We warehouse the minors in Head Start programs and public schools, and pay the adults to stay out of the way by giving them welfare. This management will only intensify as their jobs dry up.
But after these people have been got out from underfoot, what do they do? They breed. And breed. And breed. As far as I can make out (and with very minimal exaggeration) the life of the lowest rungs of society in the South seems to revolve around fornication, washing cars, smoking pot, doing hair weaves and going to the welfare office.
This is where we come to Mr. Sailer’s blog post, in which he mentions a UN estimate that the population of Africa will rise to four billion by the end of the twenty-first century. These may be so, but the more important point is that we would have seen the African population explosion in our own midst, had we cared to look.
In 1940 there were 116.2 million white Americans, whose numbers had by 2010 increased by 70% to 196.8 million. In 1940, there were 12.9 million black Americans, whose numbers had by 2010 increased to 38.9 million, an astonishing 200% increase.
Leaving aside the differential fertility of lower-order whites, and of Meso-Americans, and considering the high heritability of the intelligence and personality traits that make one valuable civilly and economically, what will this country look like after another eighty-five years and another trebling of the population of America’s own Africans, most of whom will have nothing to do?
I can’t pretend to have a specific answer, but swamped from within and without, the country as we know it is sunk.
See a previous letter from the same reader.