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Continued: Readers Write: (Nov. 25): Little Free Libraries, Wildcat Sanctuary, the economy

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  • Last update: November 24, 2013 - 4:54 PM

THE ECONOMY

The hit to the middle class? Automation

I read with interest the Nov. 10 article by Stephen Young about losing the middle class, and I read the letters published in reaction to it. In my opinion, nobody seems to understand the real cause. It is technology, innovation and automation that is replacing the middle class. We have simple and inexpensive robots, computers, word processors, printers, lasers, automated assembly lines and lights-out factories. We have affordable farm and construction equipment that can do the work of a dozen people. The repetitive, simple tasks will either be automated and done by a machine or sourced worldwide to find the least expensive labor to do the job. This is what is replacing the middle class.

JIM RYS, Minneapolis

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What Paul Krugman calls a “permanent depression” (“The new normal — you’re not going to like it,” Nov. 19), I would call the end of the age of growth. Economic contraction may be unthinkable to many, but it is what the Earth is demanding of us now. We are witnessing the consequences of unrestrained growth on a finite planet, threatening the very conditions that make life possible, and the Earth is forcing our species to learn to live with less or face extinction.

We can find joy in this, for a meaningful life is found not in acquiring things but in helping others. As our world shrinks and daily activities become less global and more local, we will rediscover our purpose in a new age of sharing, cooperation and interdependence.

KURT SEABERG, Minneapolis

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