Information Technology and Social Progress
Demographer William Frey argues that as a general rule the upper classes will continuously move to places from where they can lead "the rural renaissance." Joel Kotkin agrees, adding that wealthy people have always dreamt of ways to overcome the hassles of conventional existence and find a graceful, more tranquil way of life in the countryside. However, he notes that although the rich today are still trying to escape, the difference is that they no longer need to choose between their career and their life in paradise.
In The Time Machine, H.G. Wells's time traveler visits the Year 802,701, in which the world is stratified precisely between an aboveground, fulfilled species and an apparently related but subterranean cannibalistic species. The time traveler reasons that the subterranean species are the descendants of the lower social classes, created by years of underground manufacture and labor. On the other hand, the rounded, playful, yet decidedly non-intellectual aboveground species are the descendants of the elite classes, created by years of the uninterrupted pursuit of pleasure, comfort and beauty. In essence, the time traveler believed the Haves had become the logical conclusion of a life of ultimate ease, as had the Have-nots below ground. He described their distinction as "a real aristocracy, armed with a perfected science and working to a logical conclusion the industrial system of to-day."
One hundred years after Wells's Time Machine, we still have not perfected science. However, Joel Kotkin argues that we have already begun along the road that could lead to an approximation of the time travelers disturbing observations. He argues that technological innovations now enable people to "trade commodities, bits, bytes, or software programs" from rural, scenic areas. Kotkin argues this fundamental difference from the past allows the rich to become more removed from and indi...