Jobs Are Dying
Almost two hundred years ago, the Luddites were an organized group that was violently protesting against losing their jobs to the machines during the industrial revolution. They were right, but two hundred years too soon. The productivity increases did create more jobs but not enough well paying ones to support the dramatic increase in capacity. Therefore, we saw severe recessions and depressions for the next hundred years. They called them “panics” in those years. Yes, we were still far better off than the rest of the world but most of the population, then living, we would consider today as dirt poor.
These conditions existed all the way to World War II. The main reason was the economists of yesteryear did not equate employees and labor with customers, clients and consumers. Unfortunately, many economists, business executives and owners do not do so today!!
The implemented solutions that changed everything to a better economy and life for a large majority of the population were minimum wage regulations, labor union successes and government jobs and subsidies. In fact the government subsidies of the GI Bill after the war created the biggest boom in the history of mankind! These policies created a large consumer base which allowed businesses to use up their capacity and expand from there.
We were headed in the right direction by solving the flaws of capitalism until the 1980’s. Then the Reagan reactionaries decided to move back to the failed polices of laissez faire, 19th Century policies. Instead of correcting the operating mistakes of the 20th Century, they lead the way in outsourcing of jobs under the guise of free trade. Outsourcing jobs is NOT trade. Without reasonable paying jobs there cannot be enough sales as China has found out. (See article on “Trade” on our blog at www.cpe.us.com) Another major mistake was lack of sufficient enforcement of the antitrust laws significantly reducing competition and the market place. (Review the book “Cornered” by Barry Lynn)
The major mistake of all was the failure to correct our money creation system of debt money. This system is unsustainable and has to eventually collapse the economy. I am not covering this necessary and major change here but you can review it on our site at www.cpe.us.com under the “Monetary Reform Section – The Big One”. This significant change is how we pay for the recommendations at the end of this article without increasing taxes and lowering them for 90%+ of the population.
American economists think the same innovation and expansion will solve this as it has done in the past but they are thinking nationally not globally. If we look globally, there are well over two billion unemployed and subsistence farmers. Our successful and productive capitalistic system does not need all these workers, working 40+ hours a week to make our goods and services. The age of scarcity is over! We can make all the goods and services that everyone needs; the problem is that they do not have enough money to buy them! It is going to get worse. Like the migration from 90% of the population needed in agriculture to grow our food in the 19th Century to 2% in the 20th Century, the new technology of Robotics, 3D Printing and Nanomanufacturing will start eliminating net jobs! (Read “Abundance” by Diamandis & Kotlar) The following will be a short discussion on each followed by the solution:
Robots have been around for decades but there has been a major breakthrough. They have built and have started selling a robot called “Baxter”. The two differentiating factors are price and the ability to work next to humans without hurting them. This is labeled collaborative robots or cobots. The cost of Baxter is only $22,000 which puts an hour operating cost of $4 per hour including this price of purchase. Robots work 24/7, don’t get sick, go on vacation, go on strike and make no mistakes. As they are massed produced, they will get cheaper and better. By the end of the century most blue collar workers will be replaced. In fact today, we have two new robotic systems replacing Mexican farm workers in the Imperial Valley. I believe that they will water proof Baxter and he will do all the rice farming that those subsistence farmers are doing now. There is also a low cost robotic system, about to go to market, for our kitchens that can do the cooking developed by Mark Oleynik and recently displayed in a fair in Germany. In a recent National Geographic, there was a picture of a caretaker robot assisting an elderly monk in Thailand. The “Economist” magazine just reported on a robotic sewing machine that can replace the low wage, sweat shop, garment workers. These robotic advancements are life changing!
3D printers are starting to show up in many places in the business community and now they are finishing up the final stages of an inexpensive home 3D printer similar to the personal computer development. Instead of ordering, making and delivering replacement parts to the retail store or to the consumer. One just has to go to your 3D printer who then retrieves the software from the cloud to create the part you want. All you need to do is put in the appropriate toner to build the part. You do need periodic repair and maintenance but there are no workers necessary to build and deliver the new part.
Nanomanufacturing is the newer of discoveries which is basically building things one atom at a time by tiny nanomachinces. These machines are self replicating and programmable so you can direct them to build anything you want. No one knows where this is going to lead.
Yes, these advancements, and others like AI-Artificial Intelligence, will provide for more jobs for their manufacture and maintenance but not nearly enough to replace the jobs they will eliminate. We also continue to have innovations and increased service but again not near enough adequately employ the global work force.
Around the world we have all this production with management continually attempting to reduce labor costs but if nobody is working how can they afford to buy anything? What should we do? Let’s take the non economic factor of people dedicated to their jobs of 30, 40, 50, 60, hours a week. What are they going to do with their time? How can all of them be retired or semi-retired? People will spend more time developing themselves-spiritually. We will have more travel, culture, entertainment, research, exploration, environmental clean ups, physical and mental self improvement efforts. These industries will boom!
The actual implementation of these policies should be done gradually as the economic environment evolves. They are basically the governments providing the money and benefits to be quality customers as their jobs are reduced and eliminated. No, we are not going to be all the same! This is for the basic necessities of modern life. We will still have rich but not poor. We will still have to work to get extras like bigger homes, flat screen TVs, cars, vacations etc. These recommendations are for the global economy not just the U.S. In fact the U.S., Europe and Japan are initially insulated because it will hit the millions of unskilled workers first.
1.Gradually start reducing the work week- eliminate 60+ hour work weeks in the third world and start moving towards France’s 35 hour work week
2.Gradually start increasing the guaranteed vacation time-moving towards France’s six week vacation policy. The U.S. does not have any guaranteed vacation time!
3.Provide food stamps for all under the current credit card system
4.Free schooling from 2 years old through graduate school
5.Provide a stipend for residential assistance
6.Provide a stipend for misc. purchases, like transportation and clothing
7.Pay most of health care cost for all (including dental, physical and mental including addictions and nursing homecare)
NO, this is not Socialism! It is Consumerism! All these goods and services will be provided, as they are now, mostly by private enterprise in a competitive market place with less wage pressures on business. All the government does is provide the money to purchase them. To protect our consumers worldwide we will still need quality customer minimum wages and hours, wage tariffs, labor unions and more employment contracts. This will provide for a substantial increase in quality customers, clients, consumers and citizens.