Technological Unemployment in the News

January 19, 2013 in Tech vs. Labor

I have 13 news sources discussing the impact of technology on employment. There are few Americans still alive that remember the last time leading economists warned the world about the impact of automation on the economy. John Maynard Keynes was the best and brightest economist of the great depression generation and explained how farm machinery put many Americans out of work, which flooded the cities with desperate workers. City employers started hiring the new workers at lower wages, causing wages to decline across the entire country. This helped employers achieve great profits, until the average American was no longer able to afford the goods the companies were producing. Without a large consumer class the economy crumbled; that is why FDR redistributed wealth and enacted labor laws. We are seeing the decline of the consumer class once again. This time we need to decide if we want to balance things out or instead give the less fortunate Americans a way to sustain themselves.

In the last 30 years we have seen great growth in technology; it has made the world more efficient. There have been a great number of ¬†jobs displaced, but they were replaced with new industries. Today, we are coming into a time when computing is powerful enough to replace entire work forces, like teachers, doctors, and engineers. There is no doubt that we will see amazing cost saving advancements that will greatly bring down cost of living, at the cost of jobs. The problem is that a few people reap all the rewards while many more fall into despair; soon we may find ourselves in the shoes of the 1930′s Americans. One way people got back to work in the 40′s was due to WWII when the military industry was created. Americans didn’t decide to go to war until John M. Keynes went on the radio and explained how it would fix the economy. Bush has said he believes the wars in the Middle East boosted the Economy, unfortunately¬†it didn’t work that well, because even war has become so automated that it barely helps the job rates. Instead the war tax dollars went into the pockets of the execs and investors. Once we accept the fact that the economy is only growing at the top, at the cost of jobs at the bottom, we can begin discussing better ways to make use of our unemployed Americans… and stop blaming every non working American as if their lack of a job is their own fault. Not everyone can be an innovator, or there would be even less jobs.

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