Friday, 27 June 2014


by John Engelman

One way to predict the future is to think of a future one desires, and to think of ways that future will be achieved. The most famous example of this can be seen in the writings of Karl Marx. Marx was disturbed by the effects the industrial revolution was having on the lives of the factory workers who made the industrial revolution possible. He managed to convince himself and his followers that in the economic and social chaos of laissez faire capitalism were macroeconomic tendencies that would lead to the creation of an economy and a society without war, poverty, or crime, where everyone would like his or her job.

There would not even be jobs in the traditional sense. In The German Ideology, chapter three, Karl Marx wrote, “In a communist society there are no painters but only people who engage in painting among other activities.”

Before we sneer at Marx we should acknowledge that the economic system that inspired his writings had serious injustices. Millions of men, women, and even children worked twelve hours a day six days a week in dangerous factories and mines for subsistence incomes.

Now that Marxism has died as a political ideology that people are willing to kill and die for, we can see why Marx’s ideal of a classless society failed to come about. The most obvious reason is that this statement in The Communist Manifesto — “The workingmen have no country” — is simply not true. It never was true. If Marx had patronized several working class taverns and listened to what the men were talking about, especially during a war, he would have learned that. Blue collar workers are among the most nationalistic people in any country.

Second, it is unfortunately true that we do not all have the latent talent of Michelangelo. People differ significantly in native ability levels.

Third, Marx underestimated the flexibility of Western civilization. The excesses of nineteenth century capitalism have been restrained by legislation and softened by the growing productivity of technology.

Fourth, Marx overestimated the flexibility of human nature. His ideal of the classless society after the Revolution required people to be motivated by disinterested altruism. In truth, most people care more about themselves than others. They care more about friends and relatives than people they do not know. Most people care more about those of their race and ethnicity than they care about humanity as a whole.

Marx had valid insights. He predicted that the natural tendencies of capitalism are to concentrate wealth at the top, and to experience increasingly destructive economic downturns. One can argue that when he wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1847 he anticipated the Great Depression. Nevertheless, his writings do not explain the First World War, the rise of Fascism and Nazism, and the fact that the American white working class is a staunch Republican constituency.

George Orwell

Another effort to predict the future can be seen in George Orwell’s novel 1984. This novel which was published in 1949, predicted a future when the world would be divided between three totalitarian governments. These would always be in conflict, and often at war. They would have absolute control over the behavior of their subjects, and their thinking as well. Resistance to them would be futile.

In his novel Orwell wrote, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face  forever.”

In his essay, “You and the Atomic Bomb,” which was published October 9, 1945 Orwell discussed the insights that later went into 1984. Karl Marx thought economic systems determined the kind of government a country would have. Orwell thought weapon systems determined government. He wrote that when the battlefield is dominated by weapons that are expensive and difficult to master societies and governments are authoritarian and hierarchical. When the battlefield is dominated by inexpensive weapons that are easy to learn how to use, democracy has a chance.

Orwell did not mention medieval knights. Nevertheless, a knight on his horse with his armor, his lance, and his sword could easily defeat a large number of serfs or peasants armed with pitchforks and other farm implements. Horses, armor, swords, and lances were expensive. They required years to master. As long as the bow and arrow could not penetrate the armor of a knight, knights dominated the battlefield, and land-owning noblemen dominated Europe.

Long bows and cross bows, which came into use toward the end of the Middle Ages, shot arrows that penetrated a knight’s armor. Muskets were easier to learn to use than long bows and cross bows. Together with hand grenades these weapons ended the military dominance of the knight and the political dominance of land owning aristocrats. They made democracy possible.

Orwell went on to explain that during the Second World War the battlefield had come to be dominated by weapons that are expensive and difficult to master. He wrote, “tanks, battleships, and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, long-bows, and hand grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon – so long as there is no answer to it – gives claws to the weak.”

The invention of the atomic bomb increased the tendency toward authoritarianism. “We have before us the prospect of two or three monstrous super-states, each possessed of a weapon by which millions of people can be wiped out in a few seconds, dividing the world between them,” Orwell wrote.

Like Marx’s vision of the future, Orwell’s did not come true. By 1984 the Soviet Army was having problems in Afghanistan. Eventually it was defeated there.

Poor executive decision.
In a later essay, published in May 1946, and entitled James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution, Orwell acknowledged one advantage of democracy. A democratic government is less likely to make catastrophically dangerous military mistakes. His example was Adolf Hitler’s decision to invade the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was the largest country in the world. Germany had been unable to defeat Great Britain. The United States was getting ready to join the fight. The United States produced half the world’s industrial goods. It was invulnerable to air attack.

A second factor that determined the future, Orwell predicted, was the survival of nationalism. The nations of Eastern Europe never stopped resenting their subordination to Russia. The nationalism of the Vietnamese Communists inspired them to defeat the United States. The nationalism of the Mujahedeen defeated the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. The nationalism of militants in Afghanistan and Iraq has frustrated U.S. efforts in their countries.

A third factor that gives freedom and democracy a powerful edge over dictatorships has been the invention of the computer. Computer technology has become essential to a country’s military strength. It also makes it difficult for a government to control the spread of facts and ideas. A government that tries to prevent its citizens from using e-mail and the internet will fall behind in the race to develop more effective stealth bombers, precision guided munitions, and other high tech weapons.

Thomas Malthus

A third effort to predict the future was made by Thomas Malthus in 1798 when he published An Essay on the Principle of Population. He argued that the human population always increases much faster than the production of food, so most humans are destined to live impoverished lives on the edge of starvation and disease.

His predictions did not come true anymore than those of Marx and Orwell. This is was because the industrial revolution increased food production more than Malthus expected, while the increasing use of birth control and abortion reduced the birth rate.

Unfortunately, too many people have taken the failure of Malthus’s predictions to somehow prove that human population growth is not a problem. Population growth is always a factor that depresses the average standard of living. One can explain the relation between population and living standards with an equation: (level of technology x natural resources) / human population = standard of living.

Population growth is also a force for economic inequality. It benefits those who derive their income from interest, rent, and dividends at the expense of those who are dependent on pay checks. More people mean more consumers and more job applicants. By the law of supply and demand this means that population growth has inflationary pressure on prices, deflationary pressure on wages, and raises profits.

The high rate of immigration into the United States is a major factor behind the growing income gap. This would be true – perhaps more so – if all of the immigrants were blond haired, blue eyed Nordics from North Western Europe and South Africa.

These reflections came to me while reading a series at American Renaissance on what the United States will be like in the year 2034. Most of the ten men who were asked to write essays on this theme followed the lead of John Derbyshire. They predicted that factors that distress white nationalists will become more distressing. The percentage of third world people in the U.S. will increase. Social, environmental, and economic problems connected with that increase will become more serious. The constraints of political correctness will remain in place. Consequently, it will be at least as dangerous as it is now to discuss the disadvantages of opening our borders to the less evolved. It will also be at least as dangerous as it is now to discuss the growing body of scientific evidence in favor of hereditarianism, and race realism.

These writers are in general agreement that the present ruling ideology will remain firmly in place. That ideology holds: genes don’t matter; innate differences between individuals and average differences between races either do not exist or are unimportant; race itself is only a social construct. This ruling ideology will be enforced, as it is now, by shouts of “Racist!” and the destruction of the careers of those who insist on challenging the ideology.

The Shape of Things to Come

Because I am mindful of how past predictions of the future have failed, I am not sure of the precise characteristics that the United States will acquire twenty years from now and later. Instead I will discuss factors that will shape the future, even though they will shape it in ways that are uncertain to me.

The increase in the numbers of third world people in the United States strengthens the constraints of political correctness. I am here defining “political correctness” as “lying on behalf of social harmony.” It is difficult to say to a friend or co-worker, “I like you, but I think you belong to an inferior race.”

One who is outspoken about hereditarianism and race realism resembles a guest at a Georgetown dinner party who claims loudly enough for everyone to hear that the hostess worked her way through Vassar as a call girl. Even if everyone present suspects that that was true – no, especially if everyone suspects it was true – such a dinner guest would be removed from everyone’s invitation lists.

I see the power of political correctness as a remnant of the post World War II era. After the Nazi movement and the revelations of the Holocaust fewer people in the West wanted to believe that racial differences mattered, or that non-cosmetic differences existed at all.

I am confident that in the foreseeable future, perhaps within the next generation, genes will be discovered for intelligence and crime. It will also be discovered that these genes are more commonly found in some races than in others. By the end of this century I suspect that a DNA test will be as accurate as an IQ test in predicting the future of a seven year old child. It may be more accurate, because it will be able to test for inclinations toward crime, mental illness, and other characteristics.

Scientific evidence of this nature will be supplemented in the popular mind by continued failures to close the race gap in academic performance and crime.

Ideologies owe their strength to the fact that most people allow their likes and dislikes to influence their judgment of what is true and false. For an ideology to survive people have to want to believe it. I doubt that Whites (I of course include Jews as Whites), Orientals, and East Indians living in the United States will want to believe that racial differences in innate intelligence do not exist. I doubt intelligent people of all races will want to believe that they have not been favored by nature. (I hope most of those intelligent people will care about those who are less favored, but I do not see why they will want to believe something that is clearly not true.)

The human birth rate is declining. Unfortunately, it is not declining fast enough to prevent problems associated with population growth. More people mean that there is less of everything good to go around. Arab countries have high birth rates and stagnant economies. Millions of young men enter job markets that have little use for them. Many of them long for the affections of 72 Heavenly virgins because they despair of ever being able to support a wife and family. As long as Arabs have high birth rates Arab terrorism will be a problem.

The most important factor that will shape the future is likely to be the continued development of computer technology. I will not try to predict specific inventions. I do see computer technology as a factor promoting economic inequality. This is because it increases the relationship between intelligence and income.

I began my study of computers in 1981. The textbooks for two introductory courses I took speculated about the future of computers. They made no mention of personal computers and the internet, even though both existed.

On my first job as a computer programmer two programs I coded enabled the company I worked for to fire four clerical workers. My boss and I were told that at a business meeting. He was pleased. I was disturbed. Nevertheless, there was nothing I could have done to save those jobs. If I refused to code the two programs my boss, who did not like me anyway, would have fired me, and replaced me in a week. During that time he would have coded the programs himself.

I have read a story a number of times, so I think it is true. Henry Ford II gave Walter Reuther, then president of the United Auto Workers’ Union, a tour of an automated Ford factory. Ford asked Reuther, “How will you organize those robots?”

Reuther answered with a question, “How will you sell them Fords?”

Walter Ruther is considered to have won the exchange. Nevertheless, Henry Ford II could have replied, “We will make fewer Fords, and more Lincolns.” As the U.S. economy produces fewer middle class jobs and lower pay checks for middle class people, it will be easy for the economy to produce fewer middle class goods, and more luxury goods.

Computer technology does not only make automation possible, it makes it easier for business executives in the United States to manage production in low wage countries.

Computer technology could free people from tedious jobs without reducing their living standards. That would require a bigger role for the government than most Americans desire. In 1964 a University of Michigan National Election Study indicated that 76 percent of the American people trusted the government to do the right thing all or most of the time. By 2010 that had declined to 19 percent. Until the government can improve the lives of most Americans, it will be difficult for it to do so.

After destroying jobs for clerical workers and factory workers computer technology has gone on to destroy jobs for bank tellers and cashiers. ATM machines mean that fewer bank tellers are necessary. Bar codes enable fewer cashiers to process more customers faster. Self checkout systems go further in eliminating jobs for cashiers.

The IQ War

The industrial revolution destroyed jobs for farm workers, but it created jobs for them in factories. Initially the conditions in these jobs inspired Karl Marx and others to become revolutionaries. Nevertheless, they paid wages. Eventually conditions in them improved. Computer technology destroys jobs that can be learned by most people. It creates nothing else for them to do that pays nearly as well.

The IBM mainframe computer was introduced in 1964. Many companies bought these machines. There was suddenly a large demand for computer programmers. In order to program an IBM mainframe one needed to know the COBOL programming language, and job control language. In addition, it was a good idea to know the assembler language. These could be learned in six months to a year by someone with an IQ of 115 or better. By the time I began to learn those skills, employers began to ask for knowledge of CICS and DB2. These technologies worked with COBOL, and gave it greater features.

Moreover, by the early 1980’s the computer profession had become crowded enough that employers wanted, and were usually able to find, programmers who already had paid experience in the skills they were hiring for. The way to get places in the profession was to learn the next new thing soon after it was introduced. Then one should look for a job when employers were eager to hire people who knew the next new thing, but the employers could not demand years of experience, because the next new thing would not have existed the previous year.

The problem is figuring out what the next new thing is. A new computer technology may become highly marketable in several years. It may cease to exist. If it ceases to exist, those who learned it often find that their skills are neither marketable nor transferable.

After I had been with my first company for a year a woman who ran an employment agency contacted me. She told me that the demand for IBM mainframe skills was declining, but there was a new technology that required knowledge of the C programming language, and the UNIX system. She offered to teach me those free of charge, and said that once I learned them I would be easy to place.

C and UNIX skills did become marketable. Unfortunately, I did not take advantage of that opportunity. Meanwhile, the company I worked for was migrating from an old IBM mainframe system to a Prime system. It is fortunate that I did not stay with that company, because Prime technology never became popular.

In 1990 I began to learn what is called “interactive voice response” (IVR) technology. That is what you get when you call a telephone number and hear: “Thank you for calling our company. If you want this, press one. If you want that press two,” and so on. I could tell that the technology would spread. I thought that there would be a growing demand for computer programmers who knew it. That never happened.

Eventually I learned C and UNIX, but the demand for those skills had declined. I had the opportunity to learn the Java programming language just as it was being introduced. Unfortunately, I did not.

Computer programmers who work for companies like Microsoft or Facebook can earn over a million dollars a year. To become one of them one probably needs a genius level IQ, and a masters’ degree from a place like MIT.

Computer technology has made it possible to offshore computer jobs as easily as if they were factory jobs. Increasingly computer programmers in the United States have become gypsies, moving around the country for contracts. These contracts may pay as little as $25 dollars an hour with no benefits. They may be as brief as three months. They rarely last over a year. At the end of a contract one’s career in computer technology may be over.

Karl Marx thought the future was determined by the class struggle. George Orwell thought the future was determined by the dominance of expensive weapons that are difficult to learn how to use.

I think computer technology determines the future. On the one hand it gives democracies a military advantage over dictatorships. On the other hand it contributes to the growing income gap by increasing the relationship between intelligence and income. Bill Gates, who has an IQ of 160 has said, “Software, is an IQ business. Microsoft must win the IQ war, or we won’t have a future.”

As time goes on there will be more competition by employers for those in the ninety-ninth percentile, and less of a need for those on the left side of the bell curve.

I am uncertain about what the political effects of this will be. "Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!" has more resonance than, "Vote Democrat. It is not your fault you are too stupid to earn a good living."

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