The Internet Is Destroying Wealth And The Middle Class | Exploring Markets

The Internet Is Destroying Wealth And The Middle Class

There is a great book out, and excellent interview with the author of the book over at Salon.com. The interview is with Jaron Lanier and on the topic of how the Internet destroyed the middle class.

In particular, one rather riveting line sticks out, and pushes his point home:

"Kodak employed 140,000 people. Instagram, 13. A digital visionary says the Web kills jobs, wealth -- even democracy."

So there’s still a lot of human effort, but the difference is that whereas before when people made contributions to the system that they used, they received formal benefits, which means not only salary but pensions and certain kinds of social safety nets. Now, instead, they receive benefits on an informal basis. And what an informal economy is like is the economy in a developing country slum. It’s reputation, it’s barter, it’s that kind of stuff.