If larger groups of people were connected online, might that somewhat help close the income inequality gap?
Broadband’s effect on productivity, employment rates, and wages for high-skilled vs. low-skilled workers. Machines are rapidly coming after the jobs of low-skilled labor.
While there hasn’t been much of an appetite to treat internet access as a utility or to create a national broadband system, like the one described by Mogstad, et al., in Norway, there have been market-based ideas to expand service – Google Fiber, for example, has a free tier for those who are lucky enough to live in one of their service areas. Though to be fair, there is the perpetual chatter of treating Google itself as a utility (as Robert Litan described for Brookings recently), so perhaps that muddles the comparison a bit.
Google Fiber’s free service tier – will all digital services have an ad-supported option?
Perhaps assigning blame for income inequality on lack of internet connectivity among some populations is too narrow in scope, and this is just a sub-sect of the ongoing debate about how technology is shaping the future of the job market. Either way, it is clear that the ecosystem that high- and low-skilled operate within has permanently changed, and huge portions of the working population may be completely marginalized. Perhaps David Graeber’s thesis of “Bull Jobs” is the only that will save millions of low-skill, low-wage jobs.
This article is brought to you courtesy of Jonathan Todd.