Your health and job may be at risk if fake news influences the American economy like it has our recent elections. I'm talking, of course, about the purposeful sharing 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, environment and lives.
As a consumer or business, are you ready for the fake news economy?
Heartland America 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:
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 unhealthy food mass marketing. 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.
Climate change. A widely circulated fake news piece 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, the result will be lower economic growth and higher risk of war.
Human health. Fake news stories often promote 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 new stories often promote the saving of jobs through jaw boning companies to keep manufacturing plants in the U.S. plus better negotiating 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:
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.
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.
Image credit: Flickr/Dimitris Kalogeropoylos
Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!