the ineluctable increase in the number of people with no marketable skills, and technology's role not as the antidote to social conflict, but as its instigator.Unlike the period between the start of the Industrial Revolution and the mid 1950's, the gains from technological progress no longer accrue to the unskilled. So the future will be one with sharper and sharper income differences. Perhaps we can accept this regarding restaurants and homes, Clark writes, but regarding health care it is politically unacceptable. The critical question is then:
So, how do we operate a society in which a large share of the population is socially needy but economically redundant? There is only one answer. You tax the winners -- those with the still uniquely human skills, and those owning the capital and land -- to provide for the losers.The future will see higher taxes. The question is how to set them in a politically acceptable way.
The last great hope may be to design a more efficient tax system. .. A more efficient system would tax only where there is a need for some specific public good or a transfer to the poor.
Unfortunately, such measures are only stopgaps. In the end, we may be forced to learn to live in a United States where, by stealth, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" becomes the guiding principle of government -- or else confront growing, unattended poverty.