• Sure Modern Tech Has Its Dangers and Drawbacks – but Oh, Those Benefits!

    Surge Summary: The tech sector is generating a lot of negative attention, much criticism, recently. It is also a source of substantial economic and quality-of-life benefits the American people need to value.

    The technology sector seems to be attracting the attention of policymakers in Washington lately. Abuses? Innovations? Threats? Definitely.

    But too often heedlessly taken for granted, even overlooked in news cycles and quotidian conversation?  Focus on the positive impact the tech industry routinely exerts everywhere, in the form of incalculable benefits for people’s lives.

    In fact, we almost never hear about how the tech sector, fueled by American innovation, is critical to the economic success of states and cities across the nation, not just to the coastal elites. That’s why I was intrigued when I saw a nation-wide report on the economic impact of the tech sector. [Zach Almond/The Resurgent]

    This study, released by the Consumer Technology Association, apprises: tech supports 18.2 million jobs, $1.3 trillion in wages and, in 2017, added $2.3 trillion to the U.S. economy.

    Assume these jobs are all located on the West Coast or in America’s biggest cities, and you’d be assuming incorrectly.

    [T]hese jobs are located all over the country. In at least 20 states the consumer tech sector’s economic contribution was 10% of the state’s total GDP or higher.

    The report details how pervasively the consumer tech industry touches on assorted economic and business areas, supporting a plethora of different jobs:

    memory chip makers in Boise, Idaho; cloud service providers in Raleigh, North Carolina; and employees at the Samsung distribution center in Berks County, Pennsylvania, just to name a few.

    So why has the tech industry suddenly dominated the headlines?

    All too predictably, at bottom of the outsized kvetching are not a few modern day Luddites incongruously labelled “Progressives; members of the political and cultural Left.

    “In part, it’s the result of recent criticisms and scrutiny by policymakers,” surmises Almond,

    including many 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. For example, Senator Elizabeth Warren uses #BreakUpBigTech across her twitter and as the Wall Street Journal described, she wants to “slice Amazon.com Inc., Facebook, and Google into several smaller companies.”

    Are there problems with some of these outfits? To be sure. That said, not a few twenty-first-century citizens are not especially excited by the notion of D.C. overlords extending their smothering grip into another heretofore growing sector of society.

    Ironically, what many of the Donkey Party’s White House hopefuls fail to acknowledge is that, for instance,  in Michigan alone – where they all just capped a fresh round of primary debates —  the consumer tech sector buttresses over 500,000 jobs, supplying in excess of $30 million in wages, and comprising 10% of the Great Lake State’s GDP.

    And it’s not just the positive economic impact that is making a difference in our lives and going undetected in the news. Consumer technology has improved our quality of life in so many ways it’s almost hard to count. From the ability to communicate with friends and family across the globe, to innovations in health care that helps us live happier, healthier lives, to expanding access to education and improving transportation. The American innovation that has fueled our technology sector has changed almost every aspect of our day-to-day lives, for the better.

    Lives literally saved, quality of living heightened by high-tech at which we shrug?  Amazing. For all its glaring shortcomings and drawbacks, the internet alone! Relationships resumed, renewed or reinforced courtesy of at-your-fingertips social-media? A cornucopia of information and educational resources immediately at hand 24/7, regardless of our geographical location? One analyst has said today’s smart phones are like having the New York Public Library in your pocket nearly everywhere you go.

    These are dizzying conveniences, luxuries, actually; blessings(!) close to impossible to quantify.

    No matter how easy it is for some to disparage successful[l] businesses, job creators are crucial to every town and city in the nation and the growth of the consumer technology sector has a positive impact on American families all across the country.

    By the way, all of you reading this column on a laptop, Android or iPhone? You’ve sort of conceded that point already.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge. 

    Image: Adapted from  Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 


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