Adjusting to a new era

There’s some talk in America that Ted Cruz might, in fact, become the Republican choice for president — but, for many of the intelligentsia, his ideas are even worse than Trump’s. I wonder what either of them would have to say to the notion that the industrial revolution (1780-1980) might have been a unique historical era which only came off because a few advantageous factors acted simultaneously.

Now that the typical consumer/worker in the advanced countries has the full kit of aristocratic status goods, including his coach and horses — and is largely satisfied in that respect — and when automation is marching relentlessly into most jobs, then we’re now into a new era in which considerably higher standards of education will be necessary for all those who want jobs that are both satisfying and well-paid. In short, intelligence and some allied traits such as conscientiousness and stamina are being selected as never before in man’s evolutionary history.

The irony is that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are, together with Justin Welby yesterday, speaking a lot more realistically about mass immigration and the consequent fears of ordinary folk than intellectual think-tanks are. As we adjust to a more highly professional post-industrial era, the bulk of the populations in advanced countries already have a lot of worries and frustrations before them without yet more immigration.

The indigenous masses are adjusting as quickly as they can by steeply reducing the size of their families. The elite ought to be more patient and allow for the occasional Trumps and Cruzes to disturb the peace while the masses reduce their populations to zero in the next two or three generations. As Mervyn King says in his The End of Alchemy (p 19) “If capitalism [KH: that is, the industrial revolution] did not collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions, neither did it provide economic security.”

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