If your job is shaped or defined by Information Age technologies and science then it is at risk if fake news influences our economy like it has our recent elections. Fake news is the purposeful posting of unsubstantiated claims to create an emotional connection. Fake news shaped, some would say defined, Election 2016. Now fake news is poised to reshape our economy by targeting companies and products with unsubstantiated claims that advance a political, social or religious agenda.
As an individual or business are you ready for the fake news economy?
Election 2016 surfaced two Americas. The 47% of voters voting for President-elect Donald Trump have been defined as Heartland America. The 53% of voters who did not vote for President-elect Trump can be defined as Information Age cohorts.
President-elect Trump won 3,084 out of America’s 3,141 counties by an overwhelming 7.5 million votes. These Heartland America counties have the following demographics:
- They are exposed to manufacturing job loss
- A majority of voters do not have a four year college degree.
- Their jobs are tied to Industrial Age technologies
- These counties represents only one-third of America’s annual economic activity.
Information Age Cohorts
The 53% of voters who did not vote for President-elect Trump can be described as Information Age cohorts. Most live in 57 counties. Their key demographics include:
- Living in cities like New York, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Seattle and Portland. But they also can be found in urban communities across America, including Indianapolis, Tulsa, Salt Lake and other Heartland America cities that are being rejuvenated by urban millennials.
- The 57 counties where most Information Age cohorts live generate approximately two-thirds of our country’s economic activity.
- Information Age Americans start businesses or hold jobs that design, build, maintain, finance, sell or manage 21st century technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), social media, connectivity, smart manufacturing, renewable energy, batteries and medical smart tech.
- Demographically, Information Age Americans have greater diversity and a higher percentage of college education than Heartland America.
An America divided by fake news
Election 2016 surfaced another way of defining our divided America. Heartland America embraced fake news. In fake news Heartland America found an emotional connection with their view of an America diminished by immigration, global trade, government regulations, diversity and crime.
Information Age Americans associate fake news with disinformation and propaganda. Fake news postings refute their view that the world is at risk from climate change and mass marketing of unhealthy food. Fake news frustrates them over a focus on preserving 20th century technology jobs rather than winning economic growth through the adoption of smart/clean technologies.
The Fake News Economy
Our free market economy is based on informed consumers making prudent decisions that serve their best interests. Fake news threatens this by influencing consumers to make decisions on unsubstantiated claims that enflame emotions. Here are just a few examples of how fake news could reshape our economy, environment and lives:
Climate change. Fake news just claimed that global warming is an El Nino weather effect and that temperatures will begin to cool. Science (and mathematics) documents a hotter earth due to manmade emissions with temperature variations around this higher average temperature. Based on research done by the Department of Defense and NASA, if American consumers accept global warming fake news then the result will be lower economic growth and higher risk of war.
Human health. Fake news promotes an American right to consume what we want. This consumption “manifest destiny” is great news for the sale of Big Macs and Coca Cola. The associated costs is a national weight crisis that threatens to bankrupt our country and maim human health.
Jobs. Fake news promotes the saving of jobs through jaw boning companies to keep manufacturing plants in the U.S. plus negotiating more favorable trade deals. The technology reality is that the world is on the cusp of an AI and IoT revolution. Around the world, manual labor will be displaced by smart robotics and autonomous vehicles connected to an intelligent supply chain.
Smart manufacturing holds these three implications for Heartland America:
- Increased economic growth from the location of smart manufacturing plants
- Increased job opportunities for work associates trained to work in smart factories
- Massive manual labor job loss.
Heartland America faces a real threat to its future if it relies on fake news’ focus on preserving 20th century manual labor jobs. Look no further than Mississippi’s Golden Triangle for how Heartland America can achieve economic growth by focusing on 21st century technologies rather than preserving 20th century jobs.
Education gap. Fake news also ignores the education gap underlying Heartland America’s economic challenges. America, most especially among manual labor Americans, has an educational disadvantage. America is mid-pack among countries on math and science educations. The damage from this educational gap will only increase as the 21st century embraces smart/clean tech. By 2020 TWO-THIRDS of jobs are predicted to require a postsecondary education! Fake news may align with Heartland America’s emotions but it is their education in science, math, business, finance, economics, human health sciences, engineering, coding and sustainability that will determine their economic potential.
Fake news is no free lunch
The Fake News Economy cannot escape the economic truism that their are no free lunches. A Fake News Economy may align with Heartland America’s emotions. But it will fail to achieve sustained economic success by focusing on saving jobs that are based on 20th century technology. The 21st century’s economic future is based on Information Age technologies like connectivity, big data, AI, IoT and smart/clean tech. Fake news may ignore this reality or even attempt to block it. Doing so will make real news as Heartland America suffers a diminished economic future from losing competitive advantage in a world embracing 21st century technologies to achieve lower costs, reduced emissions and sustainable jobs.
About the author
Bill Roth is a clean tech pioneer who led the team that launched the first hydrogen fueled Prius. He is a featured contributor on Triple Pundit and Latin Business Today. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, has been used by thousands of business people to implement proven green best practices that make money and a difference. Bill’s latest book, The Boomer Generation Diet, is his personal story on how to achieve sustained weight loss while still having fun and living more. The book’s ten customizable best practices are the sustainable solutions to our national weight crisis that threatens our health and medical cost bankruptcy.