YOU DIDN'T NEED THAT STUFF ANYWAY  10:04 am June 2, 2011

As American Middle Class Vanishes, Advertisers Focus Only On Richest 10%

by Ken Layne

Here’s something with a plus and a minus: Most Americans will soon be free of endless advertising and marketing campaigns, because the advertising industry has decided the only money to be made is in marketing things to the last people with money, the richest 10%.

The “minus,” in this case, is that only the richest 10% have any money to spend on crap anymore, so that probably means you’re among the 90% now without money and also without any aspirations of ever making money. Too Much magazine assesses the situation:

“Mass affluence,” as a new white paper from Ad Age, the advertising industry’s top trade journal, has just declared, “is over.”

The top 10 percent of American households, the trade journal adds, now account for nearly half of all consumer spending, and a disproportionate share of that spending comes from the top 10’s upper reaches. “Simply put,” sums up Ad Age’s David Hirschman, “a small plutocracy of wealthy elites drives a larger and larger share of total consumer spending and has outsize purchasing influence — particularly in categories such as technology, financial services, travel, automotive, apparel, and personal care.”

If you’re wondering where the cutoff is, Ad Age says people not making household incomes of at least $200,000 are of no interest, and people not making at least $100,000 in household income by the time they’re 35 are also of no interest because they’re never going to become wealthy regardless of their aspirations. [Too Much via Metafilter]

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Hola wonkerados.

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ManchuCandidate June 2, 2011 at 10:11 am

You don't have a solid gold toilet? Too bad you poor muthafuckas!

The choice will ever be so clear. Rich people armored vehicles for the eelights and Hoopties/Waldemort disposable shit for the rest of us.

Come here a minute June 2, 2011 at 10:12 am

I learned in the eighties that Too Much is never enough.

Texan_Bulldog June 2, 2011 at 10:50 am

I want to play. I learned in the 80s how to Walk Like an Egyptian.

Goonemeritus June 2, 2011 at 11:01 am

I learned in the 80’s that allowing kids to walk on my lawn was a bad idea.

Geminisunmars June 2, 2011 at 11:37 am

You deserve so much more upfisting.

Goonemeritus June 2, 2011 at 11:50 am

As do all Gods creatures.

easybaked June 2, 2011 at 11:50 am

I learned in the 80's that Jefferson Airplane should never have (d)evolved into Jefferson Starship.

Texan_Bulldog June 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm

What's the matter? You didn't like "We Built this City"….oh, that was painfully bad.

easybaked June 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I sincerely pity my future elevator co-passengers, as I fear that I may not be able to stop screaming when the inevitable Muzak version starts playing. Gah!

emmelemm June 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm

That has to be one of my least favorite songs in the history of EVER. How can the mighty fall so low?

Goonemeritus June 2, 2011 at 10:13 am

New serf be gone the air freshener that removes the unpleasant smell associated with the poor.

easybaked June 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

This is good news for Cindy McCain.

ChapterUndVerse June 3, 2011 at 1:12 am

The new improved Serf-B-Gon has antiviral properties to kill 99.99% of all poverty-causing bacteria, known to cause an itching sensation that Something Must Be Done. 'Cause if you hang around poor people, you can catch it, like the known virus that causes unemployment if you notice unemployed people.

SorosBot June 2, 2011 at 10:13 am

"Mass affluence is over" – They're just noticing this now? I'm pretty sure the advertising executives are among the people who've been waging the war on the middle class begun by Reagan for the past 30 years.

LionHeartSoyDog June 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm

At least we've got Repugnicant massive ass flatulence to hold us over 'til the Revolution.

ifthethunderdontgetya June 2, 2011 at 10:13 am

As Middle Class Vanishes, Advertisers Focus Only On Richest 10%

It's just common sense, Ken. And they're only going to keep getting richer, while the rest of us get poorer (since the rich people already own both of our political parties).

So what's Wonkette's strategy?

Ken Layne June 2, 2011 at 10:24 am

Urban chaos?

Come here a minute June 2, 2011 at 10:29 am

Thugs are the next big target demo.

user-of-owls June 2, 2011 at 10:33 am

Urban Chaos? I saw them once at the Mud Club back in the 70s. They slammed! Too bad their lead guitarist, I Am Race War, od'd on drano on the night that he was wed.

ifthethunderdontgetya June 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

For some reason, Late Night Shots came to mind even before you responded.

zhubajie June 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm

More dick jokes

not that Dewey June 2, 2011 at 10:17 am

Does this explain why Lockheed and Boeing advertise on MSNBC? I've always wondered who their target audience was. I was never personally in the market for a new jet.

CrankyLttlCamperette June 2, 2011 at 10:46 am

They also plaster the metro with ads, but I think that's more to try and influence the wonks heading to the Capitol to work.

Terry June 2, 2011 at 11:29 am

Actually, the ads in the Metro stations are a bit of stereotyping or cultural/economic classification, depending on how you want to look at it. Sure, there are ads for weapons systems and helicopters at Pentagon and Pentagon City, as well as ads for new museum exhibits at stops down by the Mall. Travel the lines to the east and you get ads about AIDS testing, how not to lose your mortgage, and other assistance available to you from the city or the county.

The only thing awesome about the ads in the eastern stations is when someone is upset with Discovery and puts ads up at the Silver Spring station. I did particularly enjoy the anti-Palin ads when Discovery announced that they'd signed her to do a series on Alaska.

Callyson June 2, 2011 at 11:24 am

Actually, they're just trying to keep us from noticing how much we taxpayers spend on their A&D products. Which often don't work besides.

not that Dewey June 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Not only that, but that use that "human shield" advertising technique — The People of Boeing. See, who can be mad at the Death industry? We're just ordinary people like you!

UpFistTroll June 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

You know who else was an ordinary person just like us?

Hitler. I'm talking about Hitler.

BZ1 June 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

this is progress?

KeepFnThatChicken June 2, 2011 at 10:20 am

I always wondered why — as a faithful watcher of The Daily Show — they had ads for Movado, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. I'm in a demographic of potheads.

Golfing_OJ June 2, 2011 at 10:44 am

The target there is mid-management hacks who work for the Koch brothers, who put down their plates of cheap-shit brie to give thumbs up when Stewart does stuff like make fun of foreign anarchic protests. Those crazy Greeks, breaking shit when they decide they hate austerity measures, so funny!

DaRooster June 2, 2011 at 10:48 am

"I always wondered why — as a faithful watcher of The Daily Show — they had ads for Movado, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz."

Whateverthefuck pays the bills… another American institution…

BaldarTFlagass June 2, 2011 at 10:23 am

Well, fuck them, I'm TIVOing through every goddam commercial forever. Oh wait, I already do that. OK, I'm going to DVR live sports events and watch them later, just to fast-forward through the commercials.

SorosBot June 2, 2011 at 10:24 am

Once the public catches on to this whole "mass affluence is over" thing (that Ken and other\s have been pointing out for the last few years) I predict a sharp rise in the number of ads for bodyguard services , armored cars, and home security systems that includes things like electric fences and moats.

Barb June 2, 2011 at 10:33 am

And sharks with laser beams!

CapeClod June 2, 2011 at 10:44 am

Frickin' laser beams!

Not_So_Much June 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

'Zactly — all these douchecanoes furiously masturbating to Ayn Rand into a stack of Benjamins don't seem to understand the 3rd World existence they're driving towards. I, for one, look forward to the hurling of rotten vegetables in their general direction.

zhubajie June 4, 2011 at 7:50 pm

But who protects you from your guards, your security system maintenance people, etc? The pharaohs were robbed by the people who dug their tombs!

elviouslyqueer June 2, 2011 at 10:26 am

people not making at least $100,000 in household income by the time they’re 35 are also of no interest because they’re never going to become wealthy regardless of their aspirations.

Oh, way to boost our self-esteem, Ken. Pass the government cheese and hobo beans, also.

Callyson June 2, 2011 at 11:25 am

Don't forget the wine in a box. or jug wine if you want to be fancy about it.

PabaBritannica June 2, 2011 at 10:27 am

Ha! I mentioned this when we were flying to California last week. The ads in the airports are all for high end shit like Virgin Atlantic and Audi and Burberry. They've written the rest of us off since us poors will just go blow it all at Wal-Mart on anus burgers as expected, so why bother to try to convince us otherwise?

Lascauxcaveman June 2, 2011 at 10:41 am

Every time I pick up a New Yorker magazine, my mind boggles.

Who buys this shit?

Biel_ze_Bubba June 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Better not glance at the NYT real estate section.

ChapterUndVerse June 3, 2011 at 1:16 am

Wow. Like, you fly, but don't have a six-figure income? This anomaly will puzzle the geniuses with statistical marketing backgrounds for years, but only as a corner case, to be argued academically, since such people don't actually exist. The math says so, so it must be true, also.

SexySmurf June 2, 2011 at 10:27 am

Speaking of ads, I'm glad Big Side Boob decided to advertise on Wonkette again.

Terry June 2, 2011 at 11:33 am

I'm enjoying the Porsche ads, but I'm sure that if I ever had a car that expensive that I would never drive it out on to rocks by either a cliff or a beach.

LionHeartSoyDog June 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Viva La Guerra, also.

deanbooth June 2, 2011 at 10:28 am

they’re never going to become wealthy regardless of their aspirations

What, winning the lottery isn't an aspiration?

Biel_ze_Bubba June 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

WIN $1,000,000
Actually get $50,000 a year for 20 years
After taxes, actually get $30,000
Congratulations! You're above the poverty line!

Which is what we all aspire to, so there you go.

Ken Layne June 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Or take the $385,000 "cash value" payout today, because who wants guaranteed income for twenty years?, and then immediately pay nearly half in federal and state taxes (top brackets), leaving you with about $200,000.

If you're one of those fancy responsible people who first pay off the car and the credit cards and the loans, there's probably $150,000 left over for "fun." (It's probably not enough to pay off the mortgage.)

A vacation, a new car, a bunch of consumer electronics shit, five grand here and there to destitute siblings and children, and it's all gone.

AJWjr. June 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

So you're saying there's a chance, then?

emmelemm June 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

On the one hand, I've always thought "it might actually be better to spread it out, because you actually *can't* spend it all at once." On the other hand, the way things are going, there's an actual, realistic chance that state governments and/or lottery commissions could go totally bankrupt at some point in the near future, and then you'd be SOL.

GunToting[Redacted] June 2, 2011 at 5:46 pm

True, but the idea is the "money today is worth more than money tomorrow," so the cash payout is the better deal. If you consider that if I were to win PowerBall next month (someone just won yesterday so it's a paltry $20m today), the likelihood that the US dollar will exist in 20 years will be so low that I'd be smart to take the cash payout, invest in hobo beans and ammo, and fortify my compound.

Yes, I spend way too much time thinking about shit like this.

zhubajie June 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm

No, it's a tax on desperation or stupidity. That goes for gambling in general.

Serolf_Divad June 2, 2011 at 10:28 am

I wonder what wealth distribution in the country will have to look like before the GOP's base, a legion of illiterate working class yahoos, finally realizes that they've been the willing victims of a huge, awful bait and switch campaign?

Seriously, listening to the guys who surround me at work lionizing Michelle Bachman and repeating talking points they read on Fox News and right-wing blogs I can only think of the cow in The Restaurant At the End of The Universe, who has been genetically engineered to want to be eaten.

freakishlywrong June 2, 2011 at 10:42 am

Don't know what your work is, but am truly sorry you have to listen to that shit all day. I'd be throwing shoes and helicopter punching, (I'd be jawbless).

Lascauxcaveman June 2, 2011 at 10:46 am

I remember that part. A "thinking man's Republican" like Newt would probably make some comment about that being radical social genetic engineering, then take it back the next day.

Terry June 2, 2011 at 11:34 am

Here's a fun game. The next time they're spouting off on some talking points and you've actually read the source material on the issue, ask them a few detailed questions. See how fast they either get away from you or call you a socialist.

Serolf_Divad June 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm

No, these people are incorrigible. The other day I started arguing with one guy who was promoting birther bullshit, only to find others joining in to defend him. Every argument I presented to these guy was met with the same reply: "You know how easily those things can be forged?"

Their views are fueled by pure predjudice. Empirical evidence is meaningless to these people. Ideology is all they understand and all they regurgitate. Every ridiculous assertion that agrees with their ideoloigcal preconceptions is automatically validated in their minds, whereas every contrary fact is clearly a forgery. They are spoon fed lies 24/7 by Fox and believe every word that comes out of Sean Hannity's mouth. Any evidence presented to them from outside their miniscule ideological universe is immediately dismissed simply because it didn't come from Fox.

I argue with these people all the time, it's sad really, because I see how they are clinging to a modest middle class existence by the thread of their teeth, all while supporting politicians and economic policies that work to undermine their tenuous economic position.

Terry June 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Good points. I think my father has given up trying to talk to some of the guys at his Legion post. Their ideas are pretty well set in concrete. Dad's fun now is putting up things on the Legion bulletin board I print out for him from the internet, like that poster of Obama saying he was sorry he was slow getting back about the birth certificate as he was busy killing Osama bin Laden. Basically, the stuff he pins up there makes certain people's heads explode.

DashboardBuddha June 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I like your dad.

charlesdegoal June 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm

My choice of late has been neither to argue nor to agree. I'd rather be happy than right.

Fare la Volpe June 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Sympathy upfists and an e-hug to you.

sezme June 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Samuel "Joe" the (almost) Plumber thinks that you are being short-sighted and would like you to know that he's content to subsidize the rich because one day he fully intends to be one of them (when he wins the lottery).

Geminisunmars June 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm

One time he was on Bill Maher's show, and Bill was being nice to him, but pointing out that perhaps there might be other ways of thinking about certain things, and the look on his face was a puzzled "Does not compute! Does not compute." I don't think we should mess with these people's wiring. We just need to find a way to kindly neutralize them and their Faux overlords.

Ken Layne June 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm

You're a brave man. Or a masochist, one or the other.

Serolf_Divad June 3, 2011 at 8:10 am

I have this thing where, when I hear a couple of guys in the next cubicle spouting bullshit right-wing talking points… I.just.can'!!!!

user-of-owls June 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

One of my favorite t-shirt slogans from an eon ago seems apropos here:

Never try to teach a pig to sing. You'll only frustrate yourself and annoy the pig.

snoopyfan2010 June 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

You should try telling them, "You're making a powerful point." which actually is code for "you're making an a$$ out of yourself", smile nicely and end the conversation.

user-of-owls June 2, 2011 at 10:28 am

Based on what I see in terms of TV ads, plutocrats have a serious problem when it comes to getting a boner.

LionHeartSoyDog June 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Also, the plutes are the only ones who can afford Big Pharma's "medicine" and thus, hopefully, experience many of the horrific side-effects.

user-of-owls June 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm

And after Ryan-Don't-Care, of course, they will be the the only ones to whom the phrase, "consult your physician" will be applicable.

OC_Surf_Serf June 2, 2011 at 10:30 am

So that's why we seeing more ads on CNN selling commercial aircraft, powerplants, and defense weapons…

Ken Layne June 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Sometimes I think those ads are exclusively for the lobbyists and spokespeople in the cable network green rooms waiting to go on the air to promote their interests. Jesus, what a circle of crap ….

Barb June 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

I noticed in the grocery store there is a new brand of dog food that's right in the middle of the aisle. They built a refrigeration unit to hold it and it looks like those tubes of cookie dough. Gourmet dog food? Are they serious? Who can afford food for Fido that has to be refrigerated? Most Americans are just dumb enough to attempt to use their cat's claw as a toothpick and they can't afford refrigerated dog food.

freakishlywrong June 2, 2011 at 10:43 am

We won't be able to afford it either when they destroy Medicaid.

Terry June 2, 2011 at 11:36 am

The thing is that its not really dog food. It's part of Paul Ryan's new healthcare system for the eldery, along with his healthcare vouchers. It's not dog food, Granny, it's GOURMET!

Lascauxcaveman June 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

Eh, pound for pound, cheap people food is a lot cheaper than gourmet pet food.

But the pet food is probably a lot more nutritious.

poncho_pilot June 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

i thought it was granny.

not that Dewey June 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm

The teevee ads say to "look for it in your grocer's refrigerated pet food aisle". Clearly, they've never been to south-central NM…

CapeClod June 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

If this means I'm never going to have to watch the commercial where the black delivery man goes around snatching away Miller High Life from white people with no taste in beer, then I'm all for it.

weejee June 2, 2011 at 10:33 am

Personal care must include drugz for the oldes. You know we oldes, with our hoards of Ameros stuffed in our mattresses, are such an easy mark. Either that or Mrs. Weejee and I are watching the wrong shows when we occasionally turn on our beloved, and tiny, 25-year old teevee.

DaRooster June 2, 2011 at 10:35 am

I learned in the 80s- I hear the secrets that you keep… when you're sleeping with your sheep… or some shit.

Lascauxcaveman June 2, 2011 at 10:37 am

This comment about winning the lottery deleted in deference to Dean Booth's similar comment posted earlier, below.

donner_froh June 2, 2011 at 10:38 am

If the commentariat at Wonkette had the good sense to have been born rich, our favorite website would be swimming in ads.

simplyblue7 June 2, 2011 at 10:42 am

I may not be earning $300,000 but…okay, i'll just leave it at that. It's too sad to continue

AJWjr. June 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Well, I am. Oh, wait–you mean per year? That's different–I thought you meant per decade

Never mind…

Monsieur_Grumpe June 2, 2011 at 10:46 am

Life sure will be dismal without being targeted by advertisers.

Terry June 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

Oh, advertisers are still targetting me but apparently based on my neighborhood's demographics and not my own information. I get catalogs almost daily from fine companies selling products to aid the elderly in independent living and others from companies selling women's clothes reminiscent of what they assume my homeland to be. I have to say, though, that I'd be really comfortable if I bought a few caftans in those ethnic patterns and paired them with the very sensible rubber soled shoes that come with customizable orthotic inserts.

Lascauxcaveman June 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Heh, you'd look just like the aging hippies in my hometown.

Geminisunmars June 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

All that, and no underwear. Heaven.

KeepFnThatChicken June 2, 2011 at 10:47 am

Many, many years ago, I would come home for lunch and watch The Jerry Springer Show. I was single, it was lunch, it was television. But I also watched the ads and figured out who their demographic was: people with no skills (fly-by-night trade schools), people with angled agendas (injury lawyers), and people who can't manage money (title loan companies).

What was once cheap entertainment eventually became something I felt filthy about.

Arken June 2, 2011 at 10:51 am

The advertisers for shotguns and canned soup still go for the bottom 90.

flamingpdog June 2, 2011 at 10:51 am

I guess this pretty much explains the recent wave of Viagra and Cialis ads on the TeeVee. Makes it easier to keep the missus happy after you spent all day diving into the cold coins at the big round money bin.

neiltheblaze June 2, 2011 at 10:52 am

So will the bourgeoning number of poorz be given a special chip for their TV's to avoid all the ads specifically not aimed at us? I mean – it's only fair. We'll just get the ads for Hormel's Hobo Beans and Three-Day Old Bread outlets.

J Rbt. Oppenheiner June 2, 2011 at 10:52 am

The $200-for-Junk-cars-poster-on-telephone-pole form of advertising seems to be in healthy shape.

wondering where i am June 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm

The poster tacked to the telephone pole I like is this one:

"We buy ugly houses."

I mean, who will actually admit to themselves that their house is ugly?

DaRooster June 2, 2011 at 10:55 am

That does it! I'm startin' a Gang… not the Ribble Rousing type of thugs but a respectable- Stagecoach Robbin', Safe on a Train Blowin' Up kind… you know… something with class… maybe we can sing them songs while we rob them and they'll think,"What a nice guy!" They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the riverbed; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the buckboards, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes.
And then we will have showed them… ahh… the good old days.

proudgrampa June 2, 2011 at 11:18 am

For too long now I've been at this game,
ridin' like hell through the wind and rain
robbin' bankers and Pullman cars.
My lungs are choked with the dust of the road.
Since Frank's been gone it's a heavy load
and my bones are broke and my body is scarred.
One More Shot
Just for Old Times
One Last Stand
One More Hit
Oughta do It
Then We'll Quit while We Can

102415 June 4, 2011 at 12:38 am


LetUsBray June 2, 2011 at 10:58 am

You can't dust for Drano.

SayItWithWookies June 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

So it's going to be the same commercials that they broadcast for PGA events, only all the time? Great — once my TimeShareJet lands on the sugar-white beaches of Alabama I can throw my Callaway clubs in the back of my Cadillac CTS and stay at that fancy antebellum hotel in Mobile. And then I might have to rethink my position on the afterlife, since I will officially be in hell.

proudgrampa June 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

Hell sounds like a lot more fun than Heaven.

I think Mark Twain said something along those lines.

Lascauxcaveman June 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Cadillac CTS is a helluva car.

CalamityJames June 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Please trust that Hell is about a two-hour drive north of Mobile. Birmingham shall always be numbah Won when it comes to misery and humidity.

Steverino247 June 2, 2011 at 11:34 am

Evidently, the word hasn't reached the assholes who print ads in Spanish and then throw them in my front yard. I feel like putting one of these out front to dispatch their delivery vehicles:

Lascauxcaveman June 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Yeah, technically that's not advertising, it's littering.

Steverino247 June 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Which is why I throw it out into the street where it belongs.

AJWjr. June 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm
Lascauxcaveman June 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm

LOL, the one and only time I was in Vegas, walking down the street, these guys would be throwing hooker advertisements at me even when accompanied by my wife, my nephew (10), daughter (7), and other daughter (18 mos., in backpack). It was surreal.

easybaked June 2, 2011 at 11:37 am

Yay! This means that those annoying robo-calls during dinnertime will now be targeting rich Republicans instead of me!

¡Viva la revolución!

jqheywood June 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

Hmmm…time for Colbert Platinum.

All you poorz need to leave for a few minutes.

hagajim June 2, 2011 at 11:43 am

Good thing I haven't watched any advertisements in at least four years…thank you DVR.

DaRooster June 2, 2011 at 11:50 am

“Mass affluence…”

Too much church isn't good either

wondering where i am June 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm

But mass flatulence is right around the corner thanks to all those hobo beans.

Naked_Bunny June 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I predict this will mean I get even more junk mail for credit cards with stupendously shitty terms.

KeepFnThatChicken June 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Okay, so Bill Hicks was prophetic yet again.

"If you work in marketing or advertising, kill yourself."

Y'see? I don't miss Bill anymore. He still lives with us. The new American Jesus.

ChuckieJesus June 2, 2011 at 9:48 pm


glamourdammerung June 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Sounds like "mission accomplished" for that whole "trickle down wealth" nonsense conservatives continually push, despite a success rate of 0% so far.

Beetagger June 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Did it burn while you were going?

DashboardBuddha June 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm

ooops…there it is…it's back. Whew! For a minute there my whole structure of self-esteem was on the verge of collapsing.

Ken Layne June 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm

We are only a year or two away from stockers being replaced by robots.

I was in CostCo last week to get tires and was watching the forklifts and thinking, "Just upgrade the processor in that forklift's electronics and you don't need the worker at all."

DustinDeWynde June 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm

WonkBot is much closer to taking over your job, Ken, than you realize.

Eric Hoffer wrote about this in his book 'The Temper of our Time' where he describes the very day when he was a Longshoreman in NYC, (when NY Harbor still was one of the most active Shipping Ports in the world), and a new Crane Loader, that could do half a day's work of a dozen men in all of 20 minutes, first appeared on the docks. I believe he said in that passage that that made him see the writing on the wall and was the thing that was the impetus to start getting himself published, since what he knew as work was going to disappear.

I've been closely watching Automation over the course of the last decade and it's in the last 6 months that I've been seeing things really kick into Hyperdrive.

A brief overview of where things are today:

They're engineering their machines to ergonomically fit in the spaces that we humans work in so Ergo, no need to re-tool the Factory, Assembly Room, or Distribution Center.

Whole Distribution centers are being manned by a mere Skeleton Crew of human workers, whose jobs are next to be Automated Away, forever:

Both the VIAC Team from Italy and Google are projecting a complete switch-over to Automated Driving in a Time Frame of 10 years at earliest to all of 15 years at the latest:

That's on the Blue Collar end of things.

White Collar workers are not at all Immune, either:
Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software –

The main thing to bear in mind is that all this is what our Owner-Operators can do today with these Systems being driven by today's computers.

Computer Processing speed and power double every 2 years which means that within the incredibly short time frame of 10 years the machines running these machines will be about 15 times to 30 times more powerful than they are today.

And cheaper.

By the end of this decade, given all these advances and the billions that Corporate America is investing in Automation today, we could easily be looking at an Unemployment Rate that will be permanently at the 25% to 30% range and continue to climb each and every passing year.

Of course, by then the work of today of eliminating any and all Social Safety Net Programs in the USA today, will have already been long completed, which means that we'll be able to expect that people starving in the street will become a common sight.

mavenmaven June 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm

…and their bodies collected by street cleaning robots…

powersuit June 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I used to come to Wonkette to laugh, now I come here and I cry and then I leave convinced even more that this country is screwed. Thanks, Wonketteers!

Maybe we all need to go outside for a while and take a walk.

DashboardBuddha June 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Agreed…at least until air and sunshine are privatized.

emmelemm June 2, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Like in Total Recall, where they're selling air on Mars….

Hey, maybe that will cause me to mutate and get three breasts! Upside!

DashboardBuddha June 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm

then you could, if you were so inclined, become the triple-breasted whore of Wonketticon 6.

emmelemm June 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Yay, aspirations!

BaldarTFlagass June 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Maybe you should walk right on down to the tavern and start drinking.

BlueStateLibel June 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm

On the bright side, the vast majority of us will no longer be expected to fill up our homes with Chinese-made knick-knacks and gadgets that break after a week.

zhubajie June 4, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Some look forward to the day when US wages are low enough that YOU can make cheap knicks-knacks and sell them in China!

BarackMyWorld June 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I think the real question here is:
How hard is it to get Danish citizenship?

poncho_pilot June 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm

i've got 2.5 years to make my fortune: time to invest in corn syrup.

chascates June 2, 2011 at 2:22 pm

But think of the jobs these wealthy create! Landscaper, pool cleaner, horse groomer, household staff/concubine, etc. If only the top 1% could employ the other 99%.

fuflans June 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm

this should work out well.

pinkocommi June 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Oh, how I wish Americans would stop thinking of "socialism" as a bad thing….

mayor_quimby June 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Well, my trip will end shortly after leaving the private airfield, when I'm pulled over for DWB and sent to the chain gang. WaahhhWaawwaaaa…
And Pinko – you can always bring up how much of a 'socialist' success that symbol of freedom, the wolf is. Nothing more socialist than a wolfpack, dude.

MinAgain June 3, 2011 at 9:41 am

I don't buy stuff based on advertising, anyway, so I'm good.

ttommyunger June 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm

"As American Middle Class Vanishes, Advertisers Focus Only On Richest 10%." Great new for me; that's one group I won't mind being ignored by.

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