One uncomfortable image I can't get out of my head is that of the Indian villages and cities made bone-yards by England's industrial revolution and export of cheap textiles to India.
I think we can see the outline of the next bone-yard (hopefully virtual) here in the US. The disintegration of the American college and university system is likely to proceed much faster than anyone is now guessing. I expect 30 or 40 per cent of American colleges to vanish in the next twenty years. The enrollment of the Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC), which was zero less than two years ago, is already in the millions - 15-20% of total US post secondary education. The first courses have been accepted for college credit.
I have now taken courses from several MOOCs and the overall experience, to me, is superior to conventional classroom learning - despite or perhaps because of the 40,000 students in one of my classes. This is going to be an area of truly turbulent change.