In a post a few weeks ago I envisioned a future for middle-class job growth in light of the contraction of American manufacturing employment. By leveraging the power of the internet, a wide range of services may spring up in which experts aid laypeople in navigating complicated systems such as health insurance and college selection:
Value added intermediation is the rationale for a whole range of services that entrepreneurs will be building in coming years. You might have a family tech agent that for some reasonable fee reviews and manages your communications life: helping you select the right phone package for your family’s patterns and needs, advising you about major electronic purchases, making sure you get the most out of your equipment and software, serving as your tech back up and troubleshooting. When something goes wrong you don’t call New Delhi; you call the people down the street.
These jobs of the future are already beginning to appear; a new report in the Washington Post describes a rapid increase in demand for home-based health personnel as seniors try to avoid nursing homes. Right now, it’s mostly relatively poorly paid home aides, but the potential for a broader range of better paid jobs is clearly there. The phenomenon of trained professionals who work directly with their clients on a personal basis is becoming increasingly common; this service revolution will increasingly create rewarding jobs while improving our lives.Manufacturing fundamentalists see these jobs as “fluff”; if you aren’t bashing pig iron you aren’t doing anything worthwhile.Wrong. The fact that fewer people have to spend their lives growing food and making widgets means that more people can spend time making life better and richer. It’s called progress and, while it’s sometimes unsettling, it’s a good thing.