"This article presents no evidence that human contact is a luxury good,
That's not true at all. Its first example is from a medicare program that puts a surveillance camera in the house of old people so that they can be monitored by a call center. Its next example is a luxury consultant saying that human interaction is the biggest up-sell he's got.
In general right now, I’d say the trend is much worse in-person care and not screen-based care at lower prices.
That's a personal observation, not an argument.
Stay close to family. Say hi to your neighbors. Play with blocks. Go outside. It’s dirt cheap.
Right. But if your internet goes down, you're talking to a machine. If you get an overdraft you didn't earn, you're talking to a machine. If you go to McDonald's, you're ordering from a machine (if not now, soon). If you buy groceries, you're checking out with a machine. And if you're wealthy, it's a lot easier to talk to your neighbors. In LA I live in one of the poorest neighborhoods there is. And I know my neighbors on one side - but the rest of them change out regularly. Up here I live in one of the poorest neighborhoods but it's still vastly wealthier. and I know my neighbors on all sides and have been into their houses. "neighbors" are a thing of wealth - they imply that you've lived there long enough to put down roots and that's hella easier with a mortgage.
Education trending toward screens is troubling but at the same time it allows for totally custom learning paths for kids that scale better than a teacher.
It does not. It depends entirely on quantification of progress. It extends standardized testing all the way down to standardized learning.
Most of my education was learning in books, after all.
It was not. Most of his education was from a teacher who told you what to read and discussed what it meant. Textbooks are supplemental materials, not the central core.
I would also suggest that for most people the issue is not “cost” but “difficulty.”
That, again, is an opinion not a fact. You can buy P90X on Amazon for $140 or Craigslist for $50. You can see a personal trainer for $20-100 a session.
Screens are easy. You control them, and they’re not as difficult as people.
The argument of human contact as a luxury good is that when you're paying for it, it is no longer difficult. You're controlling the relationship through wealth. It's as simple as the example of McDonald's - order from a kiosk and you don't have any "difficult" contact. Go to Ruth's Chris and you can say "what wine should I drink with this steak?" and someone will bring you two or three samples after giving you an in-depth discussion on the cellar. "Ease" is exactly what's for sale here.
Interacting with others carries risk. Take the risk!"
This is the author arguing that it is human bravery that is declining, rather than economic equality. The facts are not on his side.