Thursday, December 3, 2020
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Andrew Cadman: Trump is the safety valve for America’s rage against the machine

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So Trump is effectively nominated, and the pundits have a fit of the vapours. Surely this man couldn’t become President?

Oh yes, he could, and given the alternative, hopefully he will. Let us pray for a Trump victory.

Here’s why: we all know our economies are about to be robotised, and I apologise to regular TCW readers for returning ad nauseam to this subject. However, it is so pertinent to America’s political near future – and of course our own – that it really cannot be avoided.

Consider this one statistic: in over half of US States, trucking is the number one industry. The driverless truck has been invented.

Imagine living in small town America, in one of what the East and West Cost elites dismissively call ‘the flyover states’. Like small town or country dwellers anywhere, you are probably reasonably conservative, grew up where you live now and never moved away. Family and community mean everything to you. Your livelihood, and those of pretty much everyone you know, relies on the trucking industry. You haven’t seen much of a rise in your standard of living for several years, even decades, but you get by and pay your taxes.

One day quite soon, the trucks start to mysteriously whistle straight through town without stopping. Drivers no longer eat at the local diner, and the hotels and motels are empty. Takings are down and life becomes lonely as the truckers you used to serve, perhaps in some cases friends foryears, no longer call. People you know are laid off or work shorter hours, which, of course, ripples through to the wider economy.  Most have no hope of finding other work – what low-skilled jobs may be around are rapidly being robotised too. Soon, the dreaded day comes and it happens to you. Having nothing to do, you sit slumped in front of the TV, watching the elites living the ‘Life of Kings’, seemingly getting richer and richer on the back of the vastly increased corporate profits automation has brought. Hurt, bitter and angry, you yearn for a Messiah figure to put it all right…

It is probably true that in the long term robotisation will give the vast majority of us wealthier and happier lives. However, in the meantime what is barrelling down the turnpike is not only that driverless truck with headlights blazing, but the waiterless restaurant, the lumberjackless logger, the brickie-less construction site…and a great deal of psychic pain.

Right now, no one has the slightest understanding of how we can adapt to the severe shock that a workless future holds for many – especially in a society built on the Protestant ethic like America. In such circumstances, wouldn’t it be better for a populist bombast to be President now, and being seen to fail? Surely better that than another five or ten years under an elite figure – especially the ghastly, uber-elitist Hilary Clinton – storing up even more boiling anger, perhaps exploited by a far more sinister figure than Trump, later down the line?

(Image: Gage Skidmore)

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Andrew Cadman
IT Consultant who works and lives in the UK. He is @Andrewccadmanon Parler.

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