Education     Poverty


Socialism      Government

Elections      Postscript

Recommended Geopolitics

Return to U.S. Wellbeing 5/20/20  Please Share! 

Education-Historical Advise

Confucius "It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don't stop.

E. Forster "Spoon feeding ... teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon."

A. Kohn homework doesn't help young students.  

A. Greenspan education reform will take years. See Year-round calendar.

Plato "Do not train a child to learn by force of harshness; but direct them to it by what amused their minds so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each."

T. Cowen best students special, others should be motivated

P. Drucker emphasize what learners do well. See Special Intelligence


Current Economic Realities

J. Heckman The highest rate of return in early childhood development
 comes from investing as early as possible, from birth through age five ...

L. Thurow small payoff from little bit more education

F. Pryor and D. Schaffer poor graduates got low level jobs

P. Krugman: rising wage premium for higher education is over. 

C. Murray more investing in our best and brightest

W Antoniotti academic education not always a good economic investment

Please Visit Educating the Class of 2034

Recommendation: Consider Historical Education Advise

Education Poll Results

51st annual public schooling poll and Education Next Annual survey

1. Americans love local schools but are ambivalent about schools in general. 

Voters may well be receptive to the suggestion that schools somewhere else may need stronger medicine. They feel the same about politicians.

2. Parents support stricter school discipline by 10-to-1.

Concerns that minority children implies institutional racism has fueled approaches like "restorative justice" to limit suspensions receive lukewarm support. Parents like disciplinary measures regarded as effective and fair.

3. Parents, by a 2-to-1 margin, like academics over Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

4. Support for increased teacher pay varies.

Consider 1. Laboratories of democracy approach beginning with replacing State and FED Rules
Local Community Prioritizing Goals.

2. Classroom Technology Holds Students Back "...there’s little evidence they help children—especially those who most need help.
Editor: 20 years ago I Flipped a few Accounting, Economics and Statistics Classes with the same result.
 I believe all the money and time in the world will not change the fact that "intelligence is normally distribution."

ee FED Rules and Money Did Not Increase Testing Results Please share!

Education Increased Success

Good News

Bad News

Throughout this [post Great Recession] expansion, aggregate real wage growth has been slower than expected given its historical relationship with traditional measures of slack.

However, that has not been uniformly the case. Of particular note, real wage growth of male high school graduates and dropouts has been relatively strong over this expansion.

Much of the disappointing real wage growth has been among college-educated workers, especially college-educated workers in their fifties and sixties, who have seen virtually no cyclical improvement during this expansion. Source



Economic Return Often Small


One of Many Nonacademic Benefits
 from a Little More Education


Do some educators increase
The Dunning Kruger Effect?

Test scores should not always be "the" goal.

Local Community Prioritize Goals begins the process.
Use Individualized Curriculum Design
Educating the Class of 2034

Student loans have long been treated as an entitlement. Banks had
no authority to turn down eligible applicants.
Rising tuition
: up 166%, compared to 52% for overall consumer prices.
Increased enrollment
: Peaked at about 21 million in 2011, up 20% from 2005.
: Opportunity cost of college drops and recession wiped out wealth.
Congress raised the college and graduate students borrowing caps.
Payments Plans are bases on income and because required payments exclude interest balances often increase.

10% are 30 days or more past due
20% are in a deferment or forbearance plan
30% are in income-based repayment plan
limiting payments at 10% of discretionary income and discharge the remaining balance after 20 years or 10 for folks in “public service.”
The Long Road to the Student Debt Crisis

Defaults Up, Something Must be Done

Merit based graduate school loans for needed specialties.



Consider Making Future Loans Cost Effective by limiting federal college educations student funds to first time college student with forgiveness based on success.





Loan Forgiveness Alternatives

Summary of Forgiveness Isn’t Divine When It Comes to Student Debt
by Beth Akers a WSJ Opinion Commentary 12/16/19

Democrats want a  generous taxpayer-funded fix for the higher student debt problem. President Trump is interested in developing a competing plan.

High earners bear an outsize share of student debt, but
delinquency/defaults are most frequent for debtor of less than $5,000.

1. Give every student borrower a $5,000 refundable tax credit.
Low debt strugglers would really be helped and payment periods or amounts would decrease for others.

2. Add to the current payment reduction provisions
when income is low.


3. Replace the Pell Grant program with a savings account.
Students could choose when and how to spend the funds implies all funds awarded at once. This would allow them to cover most or all of Year 1 and walk away debt-free if they don’t continue.
This would likely increase federal spending, but it would lower the taxpayer cost of repayment plans.
Awards should still be annual. Would you give your 18 year-old a checkbook with a balance equal to four years of spending money?

4.  Simplification of the repayment process. Beth's reason of forms
being too complicated for applicants make me a little nervous.

5.  Combine repayment of multiple loans into a single loan
with repayment by withholding a percentage of income.

Ms. Akers is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of
 “Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt.”

College Transparency Problems

Too many students are ill-served by college.
Many colleges are insufficiently responsible for student outcomes.
Too many students wind up with too much debt.
Taxpayers are not confident that dollars are being invested wisely.
The higher education ‘market’ is in the grips of dysfunction.

Source “Mapping Out Common Ground on Accountability in Higher Education.” by ,




Top charts of 2019 clarify economic priorities for 2020


Report Student  Completion rates  Loan delinquency rates  Earnings by major entire college  Many more.

Source “Mapping Out Common Ground on Accountability in Higher Education.” by ,

Editor: Increased Financial Aid and expected easy repayment plans
 have encouraged schools to raise prices and enroll students in low demand majors.
A NYU master’s in dance shoulders on average $96,000 in debt, according to government data.


New York City Faces
an attack on programs for gifted students
Frederick M. Hess | when reading the Bell Curve,

I stopped reading
The Bell Curve-Intelligence/Class Structure in American

when Murray recommended more funds for our
best, brightest, and most ambitious.
I figured they could take care of themselves.
But the world changed.
Ten years later, I expanded the scope
 of the Charles Murray cohort beyond our academically gifted

to those with
Special Intelligence of any kind
who are seeking improvement.
NY should expand their reach to all their gifted programs.

Is Financial Aid Welfare?

Economics of Investing in College

For a few   More Academic Education, Means Work and More Income


Cost Effective Poverty Investing

GDP Grew, Helping the Poor Grew More
Most Increase Went for Healthcare

Both Parties Help to The Poor

Manhattan Institute Budget Chart Book 2019



Fraud is a Problem

The Bureau of Economic Analysis  published a report in 2012 that does that for 2010.
Placed side-by-side with the Census Bureau
income figures that underlie its poverty stats, the differences are striking—
particularly for the poorest and richest U.S. households


Tax Credits Have Highest Return



Eligible households receive a net tax refund that supplements their earnings. In 2018, over 22 million working families and individuals received an average credit of nearly $3,200. Like the minimum wage, a large body of research indicates that the EITC reduces poverty, and the tax credit also improves health and educational outcomes. In addition, the EITC can also raise total incomes above the low floor guaranteed by the minimum wage in many parts of the country. The current EITC refund adds 39%—or about $5,800—to the pretax earnings of a single parent with two children working full-time at the federal minimum wage.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


Work Requirements Hurting
Very Poor Children



Safety Net Investments in Children Report

Quick Notes on Child Income Tax Credit



U.S. Median Income Families Live Well




Many Still Earn Less-
Than Half the Median Income

Consider Creating a Poor People Standard of Living Report from the CBO.



Consider the Politics of Misinformation,
the "real" Fake News 
Source  Please Share!


Low Wages Not
Our "Biggest" Work Problem


Serious Problem #1
Changing Nature of Work

   Affected: firms, required employee skills, employment terms,
     government policy and worker attitudes.


Serious Problem #2
Less Young Rural Workers Work


Rural Population Loss And Strategies For Recovery


Jobs of the future are clustering in a handful of U.S. cities


Realism-About-Reskilling 92p 

Workers paid to leave depressed towns
Michael R. Strain | Bloomberg Opinion


Government Spending is Bailing Out Rural Areas
Composition of Average Real GDP by Sector: Metro and Nonmetro Counties U.S. Metro U.S. Nonmetro

U.S. Needs a Rural America
Marshall Plan?

  In overworked Japan, Microsoft tested a four-day workweek. Productivity soared 40 percent.


Private Goods-Producing 17.9% 32.4%
Private Service-Providing 70.1% 51.9%
Government and
Government Owned Enterprises
11.9% 15.7%
SOURCES: Bureau of Economic Analysis and authors' calculations.

Business Keeps Minimum Wage Low


Rural Population Loss And Strategies For Recovery



Study #1 American Enterprise Institute
Reported NY Loss of Jobs

1. Canary in the coal mine?
2. NYC small businesses struggle to survive $15
3. Minimum wage hike: ‘They’re shutting down’


Bloomberg Opinion: Against Minimum Wage Increase


Here is AEI Data
Followed By A Different Study?

 Study #2 NY FED
Wage and Employment Grew in NY


NY Unemployment Rate

Editor's Analysis























New York Fed economists Jason Bram, Faith Karahan and Brenda

Editor's Note: Not the first time an economist has reported what appears to be a legitimate answer 
which does not communicate truth. See
The Effects of Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage on Employment and Family Income from Congressional Budget Office


Bridgewater Associates Reports $15/Hour Would Help

More Support for Raising
 the Minimum Wage



For Considerations

1. Increase the Minimum Wages


Opinion: Expected Job Losses Will Be Temporary

2. Expand Federal or State Solutions Non-compete Law

Michael Lipsitz of Miami University and Evan Starr of the University of Maryland.

Large firms move high-skill jobs to Lower Taxes

3. Lower Supply of Low Wage Job Seeker

7.8 million illegal aliens took US Jobs in 2016
Pushback has business looking for an alternative.

4. Encourage Union Membership

See Weakened labor movement leads to rising economic inequality By Heidi Shierholz


Solving the "Real' Worker Problem is a Challenge

Many of the nation's current pathologies are centered in the majority-white population of rural America, heavily hit by the Opioid crisis and facing falling populations, job losses and rising suicide rates, Axios' Stef Kight writes.
  • Why it matters: The malaise and discontent that President Trump taps into goes beyond the racism of the past few weeks, and includes anger at a changing world and frustration at dwindling opportunities close to home.
  • These trends are further entrenching the rural-urban schism that came to light in the 2016 election.

The big picture: Political and economic power is shifting to the cities, and 20% of the population — 46 million people — is being left behind in the middle of America.

  • These communities face increasingly higher barriers to education, wealth and health.
  • And if you're African American or Hispanic, your chances of success and survival at every turn are even worse.
Let’s say you were born, grew up, and now reside in rural America:
  • Throughout your life, you have been more susceptible to poverty, lower education, illness and even death than your urban counterparts.
  • As a kid, chances are, you lived farther away from a doctor or hospital and got less exercise.
  • You were more likely to live in a school desert, having to travel long distances to make it to school.
  • Say you did get a college degree. You'd likely end up so saddled with debt, that returning to your rural hometown wouldn't be an option if you hoped to get a job that would enable you to pay it off, according to Federal Reserve research.

As an adult, you’re more likely suffer from obesity, mental health issues, diabetes,

  • You are more likely to know people who took their own lives.
  • If you keep working in your hometown, your job is more likely to be taken over by AI, according to a Brookings Institution study — especially if you live in Indiana, Kentucky, South Dakota, Arkansas or Iowa.
  • Your community's economy still hasn't fully recovered from the 2008 recession, according to Fed data.
  • As you get older, you are more likely to die a preventable death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    • If you do make it into old age, you may not have a place to grow old near your friends, family and the place you called home your whole life.

    What's next: Technological advancements such as 5G and automated vehicles won't directly make life harder for rural America, but instead will fuel inequality by making life that much easier for urban America.

    • The rural-urban divide will continue to play a central role in politics and elections for the next several years — unless and until rural America's population declines enough that their political power dwindles.

    Consider Federal

    Lack of Federal Investment is Not a Problem.

    Few knowledgeable people who have no vested interest in government training expenditures feel it is a good use on  believe investment dollars.

    Companies know what is best and will make appropriate dedesions.

    Consider a Laboratories of Democracy approach where
    Federal Involvement is limited to block grants helping poorer states.

    The Politics of Socialism

    Political Basics

    21st Century Party Politics
    1. Democratic Socialism
    is an economic system modified by Democracy Principles
    with state ownership of key industries with wellbeing emphasised.
    It is followed in Great Britain and most of Western Europe. GB has just a bit
    more capitalism because of the Thatcher influence. Ronal Reagan followed.

    2. Communism
    is an economic system modified by Totalitarian Principles
    with state ownership of all value and a concern for anarchy
    resulting in diminished individual wellbeing. China and
     Russia have totalitarian governments with illiberal Capitalism.
    Recommended U.S. Russia, China, Rivals, Adversaries, Enemies


    3.  Democratic Capitalism

    of the US has a little socialism and is a mixed economy modified by Democracy Principles with an emphasis on business/individual opportunity with measurable concerns for individual wellbeing.

    Government Departments report to the President, managed by Civil Service Administrators under the influence of, and often captured by, interest groups.


    4. Capitalistic Democracy
    is a  Democratic political system modified by Capitalistic
    to be developed during the 21st Century.

    Government Departments are profit centers supervised by the General Accounting and Comptroller of the Currency.




    Recommendation: Describe U.S. Capitalism as a Mixed Economy
    Receipt for Successful Capitalism:
    Take the basic Ingratiates of Capitalism,

    add a little socialism to negate creative destruction
    while properly consider the Declaration of Independence
     and the Constitution.
    Result: A Century Plus of Baking Success:
     Business Regulation by TR, Socials Security by FDR,
     Medicare, Medicaid, Safety Net by LBJ,
    Medicare Part D by GWB,
    with Obamacare as a Work in Process.


    Democratic Capitalism
    Current Approach

    Regulation and control
    Regulators protect society from improper behavior associated with white collar crime with an undisciplined fine system.

    Treasury and the Federal Reserve are manned by capitalists who used big money from Wall Street to get their appointments. These people believe Wall Street is the heart of capitalism and protect it, and when finished with their government service, return to wall street.

    Consider Capitalistic Democracy

    Regulation and control
    Regulators charge fines that cover all costs plus a reasonable return on invested capital. Example, the IRS and FBI fraud division,  should be profit centers paying all of its cost plus a 10% return on invested capital. Whenever possible, investigations would be contracted  with the federal government paying a percentage of the collections.

    IRS is an incentive based profit center which throws a party for its biggest clients, the rich who pay a lot of taxes.

    Government Investment
    in areas like defense, education, and aid to the poor are made based on lobbyist activity as long as there is a perceived positive marginal benefit.

    IRS is managed as a typical government agency begging money form congress.

    Government Investment
    Investments no longer funneled to traditional areas with the largest measured political benefit. Areas like defense, education, and aid to the poor must compete with basic research, health care, lower taxes and entrepreneurial startups.

    Treasury and the Federal Reserve are manned by equally apportioned bankers, company finance people, academics, and career civil servants.

    Politicians controlled by Interested Groups set policy.
    Capitally gains taxes are minimized.

    Corporate gaming the regulation process

    receive the minimum fines needed to keep the voters happy.


    Administratively expensive taxes
    like tolls disallowed.
    Capital gains
    are divided into long, Intermediate, short term with tax rates inversely related to time.

    Corporations gaming the regulation process
    pay fines so steep the Justice Department makes a profit  helping to pay for the Defense Department.

    Question: Should We Adjust the Ingredients of Our Mixed Economy

    Change Safety Net, Increase Profit Centers Approach to Government or Both?

    Editor's Take:

    The Constitution was Designed to put checks and Balances on Majority Rule.

    As time passed, the fear of anarchy from majority rule has lessened.

    Making economic wellbeing "a right" created a second major federal responsibility.

    Conflict with securing natural rights developed.

    Our Supreme Court, the final arbiter on natural rights,
    settled conflicts among conflicting natural rights
    or between natural rights and the majority rule.
    As the final Arbitrators, it only yields to a Constitutional Amendment. 

    Should protecting natural rights be the ultimate goal?
    George Will believes this and does not want the government involved in economic wellbeing.

    Editor's Questions: Would requiring cost effectiveness help?

    Would eliminating federal grants to states make U.S. more Federalists?

    Hoe can we make Supreme Court decisions more tolerable?

    Could Libertarians, Conservatives and Liberal Unit Around Cost Effectiveness?

    Source  Conservatism vs. Progressivism

    Government's Industrial Policy
     Investment Level is fine but

    5G Military Industrial Technological Complex
    is required to defend America.

     American technology depends on a working collaborative partnership among industry, the academy and government.

    America’s private non-residential investment is about 14% of GDP and in line with its long-term average. But less money is being put into structures and equipment, more into Intellectual Property. In America IP now accounts for about one-third of non-residential investment, up from a fifth in the 1980s.

    The Pentagon increased Other Transactions Authority (OTA) AE contracts, creating more prototyping, research and development opportunities and an okay to innovate environment. Source: Raytheon senior solutions architect told Business Insider. From 2016-18 OTA prototyping up from $1.4 billion-$3.7 billion and awards up sing from 248- 618 from Source GAO

    Recommendation: Cost Effectiveness replaces less spending, the budget will take care of itself. Source

    First Collaboration Google Data Centers’ Much Water

    Goal of Phoenix Water Conservation Campaign
     Reduce  the 120 gallons/day citizen usage rate. 
    Problem:  Google is guaranteed 1 to 4 million gallons a day.
    In Dallies suburb  Red Oak, Google will need about 1.46 billion gallons of water a year by 2021. Red Oak's water conservation Internet page encourages residents to reduce water use or face mandatory water restrictions. Google's planned Mesa Arizona data center will gets half its water from the drought-prone Colorado River. 
    Summary: Google requested, or was granted, more than 2.3 billion gallons from three different states.

    Problem #2: Google,  Amazon & Microsoft expanding cloud-computing market will require more water. Solution: States impose National Drinking Water Usage Tax.

    Is US Net Investment Drop Bad?

    The Good: Third Industrial Revolution Investments are less cost.
    The Bad: Third Industrial Revolution Production Requires Fewer Unskilled Workers..

    Business RD Investment, US Has 5 of top 10

    Business Invests
    Lots in FinTech

    Source: EIB


    American Capitalism Adjusted Early

    U.S. Most Competitive Large Economy in 2018


    Is US More Socialist Then Advertised?

    International Per capita Income
       and Safety Net Spending

     Jones-Klenow study THE WASHINGTON POST

      Income Welfare
    United States 100 100
    France 70 91
    Sweden 79 91
    Japan 71 83
    Norway 113 81
    Germany 74 77
    Ireland 96 70
    Hong Kong 83 59
    Singapore 117 57
    South Korea 58 45



    U.S. Funds Social Security Well

    Social Security is Not a Problem.
    As Baby Boomers Cohort Decreases, their use of funds decrease,
    and this should help with the Medicare funding problem.
    Economic Growth Will Determinedif Current Benefits Can be Maintained.

    Europe Wants More Taxes from American Companies



    The Nature of Democratic Elections

    Modern Republican Theory Basics

    (1) popular self-governance by the political community

    (2) individual liberties protected from government and  social interference

    (3) equality


    All values matter but they are sometimes in conflict and emphasizing or choosing one over the others creates political anxiety.

    Adding to political system complications are changing social, economic, and technological modernity.

    Continuous unprecedented changes cause society unhappiness which limits political control or change.

    (4) communal or national preservation

    (5) economic and material modernization.

    Why Republicans Appeal to the White Working Class

    Political appeal traces to Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson.

    Clay Republicans saw an integrated and interconnected economy.  Workers and owners share a fate. Republicans increases overall prosperity by helping businesses.

    Jackson Democrats saw workers/owners class divide where owners enrich themselves at worker expense.  Democrats redistribute profits to the workers.

    Democrats received an enormous working class boost from the 1935 National Labor Relations Act which  made unions a major political force. Democrats were hurt when the decline of organized labor hurt workers.

    Democrats now appeal to gay rights and environmentalism with less to offer the white working class. Democrats are hurt by movements that emphasize these issues as they cast (by implication or explicitly) the white working class as part of the nations problem. 

    Democrats were helped by increased African Americans voting following the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Recently  Latin America immigrants joined Blacks. Democrats were hurt as this leads to economic policies that often run contrary to white working class interests.

    Abortion has universally increased voter constitution.

    Free trade was defended by Post-war Republicans because it helped  America  conquer both international markets and Communism. Democrats were divided into the historically free-trader South and protectionist working-class Midwest. Intersectional differences give the Republicans an edge with the white working class should the two sides fight to a draw over economic issues.



    The current clash in Congress over whether to "...impeach.... has extended to more than two centuries
     the bitter partisanship  that marked eleven previous presidential impeachment inquiries...."

    The Original Debate

    Massachusetts merchant Elbridge Gerry moved for “...removable on impeachment and conviction for malpractice or neglect of duty.”

    New York’s Governor Morris scoffed at Gerry’s proposal

    George Mason riposted, “No point is of more importance than that of the right of impeachment. Shall any man be above Justice

    Benjamin Franklin:  Impeachment "... would be the best way to provide... regular punishment of the Executive..." or for honorable acquittal.

    James Madison: required for defending the community against incapacity, negligence, or perfidy..."  "He might lose his capacity... pervert his administration into a scheme... betray his trust to foreign powers."

    Charles Pinckney drawled impeachment would destroy his independence.

    Gerry shot up. “A good magistrate will not fear them. A bad one ought to be kept in fear of them,”

    Virginia Governor Edmund Randolph. Guilt ought to be punished to avoid power.

    Morris climaxed his argument with a stirring assertion: “This Magistrate is not the king! The people are the king!”

    six states voted "ay"--Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. two voted no S. Carolina/Georgia

    Requirement: treason with at least two witnesses needed to convict.
    George Mason  moved to  add maladministration quickly changed to high crimes and misdemeanors. Eight states voted yes, two voted no.


    Section 4 of Article II: “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    Upon final approval; Patrick "Henry stared at the old man in disbelief: “O, Sir!” he replied softly. “We should have fine times indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people. Did you ever read of any revolution in any nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?” Virginia’s convention ignored Henry’s objections but it left unanswered Henry’s question. After 230 years, the question still awaits an answer from Congress. 


    1) Has America Lost Her
    International Greatness        Economic Greatness

    2) Post WW2 Political Economy

    How Economics and Politics Affected Our Economic Wellbeing


    Post WW 2 US Economic Normality


    Post WW 2 World Economic Normality




    21st Century Geopolitical Options


    Geopolitics of 20th Century Wars





    3. Is U.S. Capital Investors on Hold While Business Decides What to Do?


    Poverty Civility Taxes Debt Government


    Geopolitics  Terror Fake News Bottom Line 



    here is the link.  And here is the source with explanation, p.48.


    4. Huston "We Have a Problem"

    We propose a preliminary but plausible story in which cumulative disadvantage over life, in the labor market, in marriage and child outcomes, and in health, is triggered by progressively worsening labor market opportunities at the time of entry for whites with low levels of education.

    This account, which fits much of the data, has the profoundly negative implication that policies, even ones that successfully improve earnings and jobs, or redistribute income, will take many years to reverse the mortality and morbidity increase, and that those in midlife now are likely to do much worse in old age than those currently older than 65. This is in contrast to an account in which resources affect health contemporaneously, so that those in midlife now can expect to do better in old age as they receive Social Security and Medicare. None of this implies that there are no policy levers to be pulled; preventing the over-prescription of Opioid is an obvious target that would clearly be helpful.


    Note: Scale is a little off?



    5. Solving Technology Fear from GZERO

    Technology is changing faster than people or governments can keep up. The move to an information economy is rapidly displacing old industries. People subjected to a continual barrage of news and data feel anxious and alienated. They're suffering from "information overload."

    These ideas could easily be part of a stock description of life at the beginning of the 2020s. In fact, they were first popularized half a century ago, in 1970, when the author Alvin Toffler and his wife Heidi, later credited by Alvin as co-author, published their book, Future Shock.

    The Tofflers were trying to make sense of a world moving faster and faster, thanks to jet travel, mass media, the birth control pill, and the then-still-very-nascent computer revolution, leaving people and society struggling to cope. Some of these concerns may seem quaint or dated (check out the documentary film about the book, which opens with a Pan-Am jet and a middle-aged Orson Wells walking through an airport puffing a cigar), but many of the trends it identified are still relevant: today's policymakers, business leaders, and citizens face a new wave of technology-related angst. Artificial intelligence, automation, and viral disinformation are leaving people alienated, disrupting traditional institutions, and raising concerns about the future of democracy.

    What lessons can this 50-year-old book offer? Here are two ways to look at it - one positive, and one slightly more pessimistic:

    The world (and democracy) survived the "future shock" of the 1970s – it will do so again. While the Tofflers may have put their finger on an important trend, the world didn't fall apart after 1970. Future Shock also arguably put too much stock in the idea of accelerating change as the culprit behind the "malaise, mass neurosis, irrationality and free-floating violence" of its time and too little stock in society's ability to adapt to technological disruption.

    People, governments and other important institutions adapted to the technological changes of a previous era, and they can do it again. In another 50 years, social scientists may look back on today's big sources of tech-driven angst and see either overblown worries or other factors besides technology as the main drivers of disruptive trends. In other words, don't underestimate the power of human beings to change. We've been doing it for a long time.

    Future Shock was before its time: It wasn't technological change itself that the Tofflers were worried about. It was the accelerating pace of change. The world we live in today is scarcely recognizable from 1970, and not just because you can no longer smoke in the airport. The information overload wrought by the internet and smartphone revolution will only increase as technologies like artificial intelligence and ultra-fast 5G networks lead to an exponential increase in the amount of data that people, governments, and criminals can access. As another futurist, the novelist William Gibson might say, the Future Shock is here, it just isn't evenly distributed.

    Readers, which of these interpretations do you think is correct? Let us know here.


    Change Will Continue

    The 2010s saw collective transformation of how we work, live and learn. We begin the 2020s with 25 times as much digital data on the planet as when the past decade began. Change of this magnitude is never easy. It's why we live in both an era of opportunity and an age of anxiety. The indirect impacts of technology are moving some people and communities forward while leaving others behind. The populism and nationalism of our time have their roots in the enormous global and societal changes that technology has unleashed. And the rising economic power of large companies – perhaps especially those that are both tech platforms and content aggregators – has brought renewed focus to antitrust laws. This is the backdrop for the top ten technology issues of the 2020sRead them here.