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Old 12-17-2013, 12:01 PM
 
Location: At the corner of happy and free
5,873 posts, read 5,921,670 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EugeneOnegin View Post
As efficiency continues to increase and fewer and fewer jobs are needed to produce everything we need we'll probably eventually have to go to a system where everyone is provided a minimum income through transfer payments. People can complain about socialism all they want but that will probably be the reality. Either we do that, or we end up with a sharply divided two-class system of workers and peasants with continually weak demand for goods and services because half the population can't afford to buy anything. In the future there shouldn't be a need for everyone to work 40 hours a week anyway. There's really no need for it now but we keep doing it because that's what we did before.

Automation is going to continue to happen whether we like it or not, either here or in other countries. If we try to resist it here we'll just lose jobs to other countries and our companies will be less competitive. Automation for the short term can bring a lot of jobs back to the US from places like southeast Asia. If we can pay 50 Americans to do the job 300 unskilled Chinese workers were doing then it starts to make a lot more sense to relocate the factory back to the US. A move like that might only create 50 jobs but that's 50 jobs we didn't have before. We should be trying to steal jobs from other countries, not shooting ourselves in the foot by trying to resist increases and efficiency and paying people to do obsolete jobs.

Germany has 80 million people, not a lot of natural resources, and they export nearly as much as the United States, which has over 300 million people and tons of natural resources, and ~70% as much as China which has over a billion people. They have a strong, highly automated manufacturing sector run by skilled workers and their unemployment rate is about 5%. That's the type of economy we should be moving towards. We can't compete globally paying people to make things inefficiently using manual labor, and as Ross Perot said a long time ago in a debate with Al Gore, "people who don't make anything can't buy anything."

Then as efficiency continues to increase we'll have to look at things like shorter work weeks, encouraging early retirement, and minimum income because at some point we'll likely run out of jobs for a large percentage of the population, which isn't necessarily a bad thing depending on how we adjust to it.
Your bolded parts are much like my recent thinking on the matter. I used to be rather opposed to long-term government handouts (welfare, unemployment), but as our need for workers continues to decrease, I think these payments are going to become a bigger part of our economy. We do need consumers, and we can't very well let huge numbers of our people simply starve to death. The taxes paid by the big companies which eliminated the jobs will have to be used as payments for the previous (but no longer needed) workers.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:26 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
40,752 posts, read 72,783,104 times
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I just installed a new LG dishwasher last night. It has an App that allows the dishwasher to "talk to" the App to diagnose problems. That one really surprised me but it does mean less customer support people needed to answer phones and e-mail.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes FL and NH.
4,252 posts, read 6,257,401 times
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I'm reading Al Gore's new book, "The Future." This very issue is discussed in great detail. Labor growth is not able to keep ahead of efficiencies created by technology gains. It is one of the 6 drivers of global change he identifies.
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:05 AM
 
12,936 posts, read 17,895,516 times
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In the 19th century most workers were in agriculture. Farm mechanization displaced most of them but the country recovered with the industrial revolution, to the point we could absorb millions of immigrants as well. Can the economy recover enough jobs to sustain itself? Time will tell.
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Old 01-01-2014, 01:13 PM
 
1,917 posts, read 4,451,860 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
In the 19th century most workers were in agriculture. Farm mechanization displaced most of them but the country recovered with the industrial revolution, to the point we could absorb millions of immigrants as well. Can the economy recover enough jobs to sustain itself? Time will tell.
Different dynamic, women weren't participating in the labor force fully. Now they are. This doubles our problem, making the 19th century in aggregate still one of a labor shortage, which is how the economy was able to absorb these workers. In 2014 this is no longer the case. Too many peons.

Fundamentally, our Country avoids the inevitable social discussion of what do we do with our involuntarily idle. We can't have the cake and eat it too (i.e. having the idle surplus die quietly). You have to subsidize the idle, period dot. Otherwise they torch the street and make it difficult for you to enjoy what you've grown accustomed to. This isn't Hunger Games, we live in society. Freedom ain't free, pick your platitude.
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Old 01-01-2014, 05:54 PM
Status: "Based" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
26,199 posts, read 21,260,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
In the 19th century most workers were in agriculture. Farm mechanization displaced most of them but the country recovered with the industrial revolution, to the point we could absorb millions of immigrants as well. Can the economy recover enough jobs to sustain itself? Time will tell.
The question is, what's next? Industries of all kinds are going the way of agriculture... Growing more with less. That's the order of the day for every type of business today. Hmm, maybe the people can go back to farming Of course, they would never be able to compete, but they can't just do nothing.
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:39 PM
 
651 posts, read 828,343 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fairlaker View Post
It's plain and simple cold hard facts that can't be refuted. All the wealth has been and is still being sucked up by smaller and smaller segments of the population while the rest of the people are simply hung out to dry. You can offer all the childish Horatio Alger prattle that you'd like, but nobody owes a lifetime of poverty to Bezos, Zuckerberg, or Gates. They are the equivalent of lottery winners. There is nothing there for the economy as a whole. For the economy as a whole to work, there needs to be the sort broad-based capacity to produce and consume that corporatists -- like the industrialists a century and more before them -- are working to destroy. That's the problem.

It's people named Reagan and Romney. It's people named Bush and Rove and Weyrich and Norquist. It's people named Koch and Coors and Scaife and Bradley and Olin and Walton. These are the people who are killing and paying for the killing of America.
Government and the policies and our money system is why the rich get richer. A lot of policies, minimum wage to name 1, is a barrier to entry for small companies. All the lawsuits, regulations, air permits, building permits, safety regulations, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Would you choose a place that has high taxes, a place with fast rates of changing policies, lots of rules and regulations, a minimum wage, healthcare rules, safety rules, etc, etc.

Or would you choose a place that is stable, low rules and regulations, low taxes, etc?
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:44 PM
 
Location: NJ
18,665 posts, read 19,276,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack Knife View Post
Also agreed on the attention to the $15 wage or so called living wage. Many jobs that pay minimum wages can be eliminated through technology. I bet McDonalds has a fully automated "food" delivery store under development.
I'd also bet on it, surely they test new store concepts out gradually. I know of a large drugstore with concept stores being tested, that would lead to the elimination of several thousand, and possibly a 5 figure headcount loss of jobs, and the jobs it threatens are well above the median pay of other positions it would retain. They have reported good results so far, which would indicate a mass rollout is not far off..
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:55 PM
 
48,504 posts, read 93,495,781 times
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IMO;its more man who holds back the economy by not adopting to be part of smart technology. The world regardless moves on. Its like the myth middle class is disappearing ;its not its just distribute in more countries around the world and not as dominate by western world as in past.Why? because they can turn a screwdriver or use shovel now that they have them at cheaper cost. Of course for shovel we now need illegal Mexicans to do that type work; much of congress and president says.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes FL and NH.
4,252 posts, read 6,257,401 times
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So what do we do with all the workers who are no longer needed? What happens when displacement cycles throughout the world, every comparative cost advantage has been equalized, and there are far more people available to work than there are needed jobs? Ultimately, if the majority of the people are no longer needed to work they are no longer able to consume and there is no end market for the products created using technology and roboworkers.

Currently in some industries and businesses technology has resulted in leveraging jobs that used to have 1 worker doing the work of 3 turn into 1 to 30 just within the past decade. Some industries have 1 to 300 ratios. In many cases rapidly changing technology is leading to productivity gains that far out pace any job growth from an expanding general population of consumers.

The difference between today and the past was that past shifts were related to satisfying basic needs, food, clothing, and shelter. Much of our current consumption depends on wants. The Industrial Revolution capitalized on the shift from needs to wants. What shift is possible now from want to want more? That is difficult when you don't have a job for even your basic needs.
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