In a recent Fortune Magazine article, “What if there’s no fix for high unemployment?” Martin Ford puts forth the well-founded proposition that unemployment may remain high into the unforeseeable future; it may never rebound to acceptable levels.
Technological advancements are increasingly replacing jobs in every sector of our economy. Following World War II, changes in the global economy and advancing technology gradually transitioned American workers from manufacturing to service related work. Today, advances in automation are replacing service sector jobs.
From robotic chefs and wait staff in restaurants to robotic automobile production, automated banking, and very sophisticated robotic surgical procedures, computerization has taken over many middle class jobs and will continue to replace others as we gain greater knowledge and improved technologies are created. Specialized artificial intelligence applications will also make highly skilled professional jobs scarce.
McDonald’s even has a new system that they have been testing so that their customers can order and pay for food from self-service kiosks. So as this trend continues even lower paid jobs will eventually be eliminated.
You will find in the future that routine doctor office visits, such as to receive a physical, will be automated, including the utilization of copayment and appointment-making services from self-service kiosks, and the physical exam itself will be robotic-aided, or perhaps performed completely by robots.
Airline pilots will not fly aircraft nor will a ship captain pilot ships.
Computerized automation and robotics are customer-friendly, they are fast, less prone to errors, safe, will lower cost, lead to lower prices, and unfortunately eliminate jobs.
Automation will also tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Those who are at the top of the corporate ladder will benefit from lower cost and greater profit, while those whose jobs are being replaced will end up with nothing, will be increasingly in dire straits, and as a result so will America.
America, as well as other nations, must find a way to manage high levels of unemployment, because with the plague of higher unemployment there will be fewer tax dollars, increased deficit spending, and declines in consumer spending. It will also mean people will increasingly rely on government for assistance.
There seemingly is a common cause for every problem in our world. The problem is either not solved or debilitated by the lack of money and need for profit. It’s not because of evil intent, not usually because of a lack of knowledge, or that folks don’t have an earnest desire to solve the problem, nor is it because of a lack of resources other than money.
The quest for money corrupts government, destroys our environment, controls life, inhibits liberty, and exploits people.
Corporations, in order to sustain profit and shareholder value, must keep resources and products scarce, utilizing planned obsolescence with every product to sustain demand. Consequently, our economic system is inherently wasteful and we are faced with the problem of unsustainable consumption.
Whether we like it or not there will be no choice, eventually we must transition to a social system that does not depend on the almighty dollar – a fundamental change in the way we think about money.
So, what it boils down to is that America needs to lead the world in putting in place a system that provides liberty and security for all citizens equally. That system is a resource-based system, which does not require any means of exchange for goods and services.
Martin Ford, What if there’s no fix for high unemployment?, CNNMoney.com
Bill Christensen, Robot Chefs Run a Restaurant, LiveScience.com
Janet Adamy, McDonald’s Seeks Way to Keep Sizzling, The Wall Street Journal
Healthcare Kiosk, PhoenixKiosk.com
Marshall Brain, Robotic Nation, MarshallBrain.com
Unsustainable Concept of Money, FutureBlog.net
Jacque Fresco, Resource Based Economy, TheVenusProject.com