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With student debt soaring into the stratosphere, an increasing number of people have advised against attending college. The key exception is if your curriculum involves STEM classes. Thanks to automated technologies, opportunities abound for engineers and those with highly-technical backgrounds. But this same trend is also causing a labor crisis.

In emerging domestic tech markets like Phoenix, Arizona, it’s not hard to see the digital sector’s influence. Several innovative blue-chip firms have set up shop through Arizona. In turn,  Arizona State University helps churn out class after graduating class of engineers to fill their ranks.

Not only that, the pay is phenomenal. In a little over a week, an engineer working in a top-level semiconductor firm can expect to make what it would take a “regular” worker a month to attain. For those fortunate and intelligent enough to have advanced, technical degrees, life is good.

But on the flipside, a majority of Americans simply don’t have the funds or the intellect for STEM degrees. Clearly, they’re on the outside looking in. Stuck in menial positions in retail, production, or services-related industries, these workers have little chance for advancement.

Even if they did earn promotions and subsequent higher pay, it’s usually not enough to overcome rising expenses. Housing has become a joke for all but the extremely-well heeled, forcing most folks into rental arrangements.

And while this labor crisis may not impact the high-earners, you get the sense that a comeuppance is imminent.

 

Labor Crisis May Spill Over Into an Outright Conflict

I’ve been watching similar trends take place in my hometown. For several years, I enjoyed a relatively quiet existence. Even in the heart of rush-hour traffic, it was easy to get to where you needed to go.

But that situation has changed from about two or three years ago. Now, if I don’t leave the office by 2pm at the latest, I’m going to hit significant traffic. How did things evolve so quickly? As with Phoenix, blue chips started moving in, bringing with them big-ticket jobs.

However, I also see the other side of the narrative. A decade ago, and even prior to the housing bubble, anyone could find decently-priced housing. For those on the fence, a few miles off the beaten path resulted in some real-estate gold mines.

Today, you’ll be lucky to find anything under $1,500 for a dinky one-bedroom apartment. Such onerous fiscal penalties have suffocated long-term residents, forcing them into severe difficulties.

Worse yet, they’re watching “foreigners” from other cities and states rush in and take over their hometown. While people are putting on a brave face, I just wonder how long will they suffer this ignominy?

My gut tells me that we’re on the precipice of an outright conflict. This time, it’s not about race or some other immutable characteristic. Instead, the escalating labor crisis may spark a war between the haves and have-nots.

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