What will we do with all the unneeded workers? I hate welfare and dependence on government, but how will we deal with the less able and less motivated people who are not needed in our work force anyway?
About 12 percent of our people are unemployed or under-employed, but with all the automation and self-service, everything is still getting done well enough without them.
With electronic books and the Internet, publishing and its labor are going under. We pay our bills online and send email to friends and so the U.S. Postal Service is going under. We have automated checkouts and banking and pump our own gas. Using modern machinery and a little seasonal part-time help, my brother farms 2,000 acres almost by himself. Even our military needs fewer people.
As computers and robots get more powerful while getting cheaper, employers prefer buying technology over hiring more workers. Fewer people are needed to meet demand.
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So what do we do with all our unneeded workers and their families? Make-work stimuli does not work. Some say emerging technologies will provide new jobs. Yes, but not many because the idea is to increase efficiency even more, not to increase labor costs. While these technologies do create jobs, the only jobs they create are for a few highly intelligent, highly technically adept; others need not apply.
What do we do with all the people that technology is leaving behind? If there is a solution, it will not be pretty.
Paul J. Shane
Sun City Hilton Head