1.) Automating basic and well known tasks using computers.
2.) Outsourcing not easily automatable tasks to foreign counties and importing cheap labor. Manufacturing, software engineering etc.
Things like getting wealthy in real estate and investments were off shoots of the above.
I would argue that the two above have reached their capacity to be of benefit to average Americans. Further development of the two will continue to destroy the middle class and the cultural fabric of America. People are increasingly aware of this, hence the tense political climate in this country
If you look at the rise of the middle class in America it was from new service businesses flourishing, where skilled laborers could gain wealth. As the wealth gap grows, debt encumbers more young families, and the middle class shrinks, there is less disposable income to spend on services.
As an engineer with equity in the company I work for, I benefit and I'm middle class.
I think there is also a misconception about how much the capital holders actually gain. A lot of automation is deflationary in the sense that it reduces the cost of production, which in turn allows a reduction in the price a product is sold at to capture market share. This allows the firm that is automating to capture a large piece of that market, but at the cost of making that market a lot smaller unless demand is pretty much unbounded.
You have to both automate and grow the market for what you've automated to truly make it big.
Even where automation is not involved, you can get choked by lack of qualified manpower. This is already happening in the USA, stopping the brain drain from elsewhere. (Especially with the immigration policies.)
Outsourcing is essentially growing external competition by your own hand.
A lot of the middle class is being pushed out, and their pay will go down relatively speaking as "minimum wage" legislation pushes into law, while businesses have been relatively rapidly increasing prices outpacing any wage increases.
As to TFAs mention of housing, while the market crash was a disruptive event, it mostly caught those who over-spent. For those who bought planning to stay at least 5-10 years, it didn't change too much. Although when your mortgage is 2x your neighbor who bought at the bottom it may sting. But if you bought at what you could afford, you should be fine.
Investment is generally a risk. People tend to want guarantees and it doesn't ever really work that way.
Infographic video of how bad it really is: https://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM
If it was easy to "strike it rich", everyone would be rich -- and then we'd just call that "middle class".
If we're just saying that social mobility is unusually low now, that's a different story.
Income inequality and political crisis will likely be very high in the coming years (even as it's already high as you can probably tell by recent events) and we might see some pretty stark changes in our economy and policies. Perhaps more social programs to lessen the damage of the gap such as free healthcare or universal basic income. The recurring bubbles do hurt but eventually they give way to the next cycle of debt inflation and exuberance.
It is extremely weird how the USA feel like a mix of first and third world countries.
We pay for a single payer system, we just don't get it.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_hea...
Perhaps more important, the US spends a bit more as a share of GDP on public healthcare than most developed countries with a mainly-public universal system. (And on top spends even more on private healthcare, but the combination still isn't a universal system.)
Per capita costs are going to be higher just because incomes are higher. But that doesn't explain per GDP costs being so high.
We also subsidize the most expensive people, including the elderly and people with cancer and AIDS. Plus, we directly subsidize hospitals in rural areas etc. It’s a giant flood of money.
I am saying even if you ignore paperwork costs and crazy bills, it’s still a vast sums of money often sent with minimal overhead. The VA for example is quite expensive though somewhat less so than the rest of US healthcare.
Non-profit insurance corporation that anyone can buy policies from. Shift existing medical systems over to the new one. Limit extension patents. Require dual-sourcing for FDA approval. Restrict charging more than 20% price difference between clients for the same medication/procedure. Require fiduciary efforts from insurance carriers in terms of negotiation.
It's a matter of a few legal shifts and some better policies allowing for more competition.
And politics, do you mean US lobbying?
Which is why I view the situation as hopeless, but not serious.
When you're developing most of the world's medical innovations, it should not be a surprise that we are the top spenders. For example, treatments like Car T-Cell therapy aren't cheap to develop or administer. Over time, those innovations will diffuse and they will become more available to less well off Americans and will become available to those outside America once cheap enough.
Everyone wants affordable healthcare in America, the question is a matter of where Americans spend on line items, but the debates in America revolve mostly around ideological concepts and not budget concerns directly.
And it's not 40% towards healthcare. It's at most 27% of total tax (less because it's bracketed alongside education) - most of tax is other social spending, a lot of that being retired people.
So healthcare is 7-10% of Sweden's GDP, or so. And falling. This being one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the EU, if not the most expensive.
I guess you're trying to hide that your argument is invalid. Trying to justify US mismanagement or lack of health policies.
For your information, USA spend almost 18% of GDP on government funded healthcare. And still rising. And USA is 28% richer than Sweden per capita, PPP normalized.
This ignores additional private costs, which are probably significant.
And getting very uneven access. Some in insurance and medical industry are striking it rich, who cares about social costs.
Who cares about reality when there's a narrative waiting to be pushed.
What narrative? These are hard numbers. There's no debate. If you took my income and compared it against American tax law and Swedish tax law, I'd be paying literally over double, nearly triple in taxes if I was Swedish versus if I was American. There's no "extra 10%," your math is just plain wrong.
What a perverse argument; I don't even try to justify anything in my original statements.
"US Pharmaceutical Innovation in an International Context," the American Journal of Public Health. "We explored whether the United States is responsible for the development of a disproportionate share of the New Molecular Entities (NMEs) produced worldwide. [...] The United States was responsible for the development of 43.7% of the NMEs. The United Kingdom, Switzerland, and a few other countries innovated proportionally more than their contribution to GDP or prescription drug spending, whereas Japan, South Korea, and a few other countries innovated less. Conclusion: Higher prescription drug spending in the United States does not disproportionately privilege domestic innovation, and many countries with drug price regulation were significant contributors to pharmaceutical innovation."
"Global Drug Discovery: Europe is Ahead," Health Affairs Vol. 28 Supplement 1. "It is widely believed that the United States has eclipsed Europe in pharmaceutical research productivity. Some leading analysts claim that although fewer drugs have been discovered worldwide over the past decade, most are therapeutically important. Yet a comprehensive data set of all new chemical entities approved between 1982 and 2003 shows that the United States never overtook Europe in research productivity, and that Europe in fact is pulling ahead of U.S. productivity. Other large studies show that most new drugs add few if any clinical benefits over previously discovered drugs."
The argument that the US "subsidizes" the rest of the world's health care is something that US pharmaceutical companies would very much like us to believe, but the evidence for it appears to be pretty shaky.
If it's by revenue to the much maligned Big Pharma, then I think not. R&D is a big cost, but not nearly as big in percentage as shown by the pharma companies, so were they all to contract due to sudden existence failure of the USA, they'd still make big profits if they kept the costs the same.
The smaller companies would evaporate.
I'm basing this on comparing Teva USA vs Teva Global R&D spending data. That is 10% everywhere, 15% in the US (dropping faster) and falling regardless of the USA or not, which is pumping in more money into this company every day.
I picked Teva because they're representative and one of global market leaders.
(Yes, you can also read their quarterlies for USA branch and other ones. I checked a few.)
Decent write-up, if a bit old:
I'm curious why they chose that time period. It was published in 2010. This omits 6 years between publication date of the article and the end of the range they chose and omitted all data prior to 1992. How would the data differ if you didn't choose this 12 year period?
> although fewer drugs have been discovered worldwide over the past decade, most are therapeutically important.
> Other large studies show that most new drugs add few if any clinical benefits over previously discovered drugs.
These two statements contradict one another and the second one sounds awfully like moving the goal posts because the data doesn't support the conclusions.
The abstract I quoted reads: "Some leading analysts claim that although fewer drugs have been discovered worldwide over the past decade, most are therapeutically important. Yet a comprehensive data set of all new chemical entities approved between 1982 and 2003 shows that the United States never overtook Europe in research productivity, and that Europe in fact is pulling ahead of U.S. productivity. Other large studies show that most new drugs add few if any clinical benefits over previously discovered drugs."
The first snippet you pulled out is prefaced by Some leading analysts claim. This study's meta-analysis concludes that those analysts are incorrect.
> All major health care innovations were invented here
To quote Rage Against the Machine: whoever told you that is your enemy
My country doesn't have any "free access" to drug innovation, it pays mucho dinero to buy drugs, and American companies hold and enforce all kinds of patents on them.
It's also not some "one way" innovation street. Tons of medical/drug innovation, especially all the major "low hanging fruits" (which make up for most of modern health benefits) up to the mid-20th century came from outside the USA.
And that's not counting all the major European etc drug companies GlaxoSmithKline (British), La Roche (Swiss), Novartis (Swiss), Sanofi-Aventis (French), Bayer (German), Boehringer Ingelheim (German), etc.
Of the top 5 grossing drug companies, only 1 is American (#1 Pfizer). And the revenues of #1 are close to the revenues of #2 and #3, (45 vs 40 and 38 billion) so it's not like some great disparity where Pfizer takes all.
Not to mention that a lot of "USA innovations" were created by immigrants, whose country of origin paid for their raising, education, etc, even up to their undergraduate degree, and then they went to the USA and innovated as researchers...
Slow down with the chauvinism...
If you didn't develop a drug or pay for its development, but get access to it one day at only the cost of manufacture, then you're getting the R&D for free.
All of the drug companies you mentioned, while not founded in America, do most of their R&D in America.
You're right about many immigrants developing those drugs, but they came to America to do so. You should ask yourself "why?"
For the record, I'm an immigrant to the US.
Everybody gets the free access (including other American companies). Like you get free access to European drugs, once the patents expire. But all this is played into the cost of the drug while the patent holds. Nobody sells drugs at a cost, so there's that...
>All of the drug companies you mentioned, while not founded in America, do most of their R&D in America.
That's just wrong.
>You're right about many immigrants developing those drugs, but they came to America to do so. You should ask yourself "why?"
More cushioned life, compared to a place like China (at least of yore), and opportunities to make it big in business.
Also, by that thinking, all the suckers and losers in the market subsidize others.
I never went through the whole list because it took a super long time, but when I tried sampling where most of these ~300 drugs were developed, it was like 80% developed in the US. I got through like 50-60 of them before I gave up. 50-60 should be good enough to be representative of the 300 or so. Feel free to go through them yourself if you don't believe me.
I didn't so I did.
I checked the first thirty listed in the Wikipedia article. Of those, only 8 have been developed in the USA including one developed by the American branch of a Swiss company.
That's merely 26%. Not insignificant but quite far from 80%. After a quick sampling of the rest I would be surprised if the exact proportion is above a third.
Halothane - England (1956)
Isoflurane - United States (1979)
Nitrous Oxide - England (1772)
Oxygen - N/A
Ketamine - United States (1966)
Propofol - United States (1989)
Bupivacaine - Sweden (1957)
Lidocaine - Sweden (1885)
Ephedrine - China (?, introduced to western medicine by an American traveling to China)
Atropine - Germany (1833)
Midazolam - United States (1976)
Morphine - Germany (1803)
Aspirin - France (1853)
Ibuprofen England (1953)
Paracetamol - United States (1877)
Codeine - France (1832)
Fentanyl - United States (1960)
Methadone - Germany (1937)
Amitriptyline - United States (1960)
Cyclizine - United States (1947)
Dexamethasone - United States (1957)
Diazepam - United States (1959)
Docusate - ???
Fluoxetine - United States (1972)
It's ridiculous how hard it is to figure out where most of these were developed.
When I first went through the WHO list, I did so in reverse by year of discovery:
I stopped checking again at this point. As a reminder your first claim was 80% of the list. I think your reliability has clearly been established at this point.
Except for Alectinib, which was developed in Japan, 13 of the 14 drugs developed in the 21st century for example have been developed in the United States:
That's 93%. Again what has the rest of the World been doing?
So 9 by the 24th in the list not 30, so your reliability has also been established.
Let’s hope we don’t need a big war to get the country back on track ....
But I'm not sure that it's going to play out the same, because the Fed took unprecedented action to keep 2011 from looking like 1932. They were not at all the same - we never hit 35% unemployment, nor anything like it, even if you take "discouraged workers" into account.
I'll be very interested to see how his All Weather Portfolio (as told by Tony Robbins) does over the next decade.
It was at least true when I was a kid that the 'American Dream' included owning your own home and trying to build up wealth that way. However, as an American 'teen' I found getting a job in the suburbs pretty much impossible: I didn't have a car and I had no reliable / safe way to get outside of the small local malls which already had hundreds of other students competing for work.
It might have also been that most of the less complex, safe to hand off to any random teen/adult, jobs had already been outsourced or made obsolete.
Today housing prices in the middle of nowhere, where there aren't jobs, are somewhat reasonable... Trying to get a place that is your own near jobs? There seem to be far too few places relative to the number of jobs; thus competition fails to reward places that are planned and built well and favors sellers that use every loophole and cut every corner they're not legally required to fulfill.
The research I have done also suggests that humans have only found about 5 percent of the gold on the planet and that gold is in high demand as a material used in our fancy modern electronics. This demand is likely to go up, not down.
Because the environment is a hot topic and sensitive issue, from what I gather, this is a job not likely to be taken over by automation any time soon. It appears that they are cracking down on automated processes for dredging streams for gold because it has too much negative impact on the environment. So, this is likely to remain an opportunity for small time operators for many years to come. 
The spot price for gold is currently higher than it was when I did the research. It's around $1500/oz. It was "above $1200" per ounce when I did the research.
Get rich quick schemes have always been dicey at best. What we imagine ought to be easy now because we have computers, such as house flipping, was tough back in the day. It's still tough, just for different reasons, like market saturation and fierce competition.
That isn't intended to dismiss the idea that we have systemic issues. I'm well aware that we have systemic issues. I'm just saying that if you think getting rich used to be easy, I doubt I would agree with you.
As always, you need to find the non-obvious opportunities that are being overlooked by other people and then work hard. Occasionally, people just get lucky.
Luck is always a factor. But there is no sure thing formula for wealth creation. There never has been.
One could contend that the notion of "frontier" was the land until the 20th century, it was "the rest of the world" in the 20th century, and now there is none because the system is in temporary equilibrium without any huge wars or natural disasters.
Perhaps the Internet is now full, or perhaps there's lots more territory.
Other frontiers include biotech and space. Both seem like we've only explored 1% of the potential.
Not all will succeed, but some will. You can absolutely start with nothing but some knowledge and ambition.
The theory makes sense, a better safety net means it's easier to take risks, 'celebrate failure' and all that
US culture is much more preferable for the entrepreneurs.
Also see - https://www.trutv.com/shows/adam-ruins-everything/blog/adams...
Canada, Denmark, UK (2017)
"Although the U.S. will remain a world leader in the number of millionaires, reaching as many as 20.5 million over the next five years, Credit Suisse forecasts that China will mint new seven-figure fortunes at more than three times the rate over the same period."
"Number of U.S. Millionaires Grows in 2018, for 10th Straight Year"