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However, I would guess that 10-20% of the US population lacks the basic literacy and logic skills to hold a manual job involving anything but repetitive tasks.

~13% when it comes to reading, ~20% when it comes to quantitative tasks.


And even besides the people with low IQ, most everyone is only capable of thinking abstractly some of the time--and even then only after years of cognitive development[1]. System 2 thinking[2] is taxing to the brain (consumes more glucose/oxygen/etc), and is switched out of whenever it's not absolutely necessary.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piagets_theory_of_cognitive_dev...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_process_theory


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