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KJP

Automation & Job Losses

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Automation and job loss have been ignored by politicians for decades now. There is a direct relationship between automation-related job loss and voting districts that went for Trump in all of the swing states he needed to win. Get serious about how to address job losses from automation or there will be more Trumps to come.

 

Our increasingly automated economy began with automation of industrial assembly lines in the 1960s and 70s (FYI: USA produces more manufacturing goods today but with a small fraction of the manufacturing employment).

 

As we all know, automation has spread into phone switchboards and is spreading into stores. And as soon as RFID technology gets cheap enough, store checkout time will be reduced to seconds and cashiers will be gone. Automation/AI is now going after white collar jobs from accountants to radiologists.

 

Is your job next? If so, what will you do for a living then? How will you vote as a consequence?

 


"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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2 hours ago, KJP said:

Automation and job loss have been ignored by politicians for decades now. There is a direct relationship between automation-related job loss and voting districts that went for Trump in all of the swing states he needed to win. Get serious about how to address job losses from automation or there will be more Trumps to come.

 

Our increasingly automated economy began with automation of industrial assembly lines in the 1960s and 70s (FYI: USA produces more manufacturing goods today but with a small fraction of the manufacturing employment).

 

As we all know, automation has spread into phone switchboards and is spreading into stores. And as soon as RFID technology gets cheap enough, store checkout time will be reduced to seconds and cashiers will be gone. Automation/AI is now going after white collar jobs from accountants to radiologists.

 

Is your job next? If so, what will you do for a living then? How will you vote as a consequence?

 

 

I suspect our underlying opinion on this is actually reasonably aligned, but the way you are stating this bothers me. Automation is NOT the problem. Automation generates productivity which generates wealth. The issue is the fact that virtually all of that wealth goes to already wealthy people and extremely profitable corporations.

 

The best way to fix the underlying problem is to dramatically increase taxes on high income earners, implement Warren’s wealth tax, moderately increase corporate taxes, and implement a digital revenue tax on large internet operations (after all, government funded projects invented many critical technologies of the internet); and then use those revenues to pay for health care, college, and government sponsored day care (0-5 years and after school for elementary aged). This dramatically decreases the anxiety about job-losses from automation and enables people to pursue new opportunities in future economies. 

 

Adopting a Luddite view of automation doesn’t make things better for anyone.  Someone somewhere in the world is still going to adopt the automation technologies and those jobs are still going away.  We need to prepare people for the future, not artificially protect an outdated past. 

 

Again, I suspect you are making the same fundamentally point as me. I’m just sensitive to critiques of automation. Probably because my entire career is based on automation and all the wonderful things we can do with it. 

Edited by Boomerang_Brian
Typo

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I live with a Ukrainian wife who came from a country where they have people serving people rather than having computers serving people. I didn't see how bad our lack of human contact with each other was and how bad our business service levels were in this country until she opened my eyes to it. So yes, I don't like it.

 

And I also don't like that we are unprepared for the removal of unskilled people from the workforce and/or wage supression resulting from automation. I also don't like the fact that our politicians are unprepared for dealing with the consequences of automation. And I also don't like that we are unprepared for dealing with the political consequences of automation, specifically that the anger and resentment in the workforce are leading to the election of politicians who see an opportunity to exploit and blame groups of people for the negative consequences of automation.

 

I'm happy that you have a job because of automation. But the calculus is for job losses and out for job creation.


"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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