I discussed business recently with a man responsible for midwest sales for a company that makes specialized machinery. About half their business is with companies who manufacture for the construction and home improvement industry, but the other half covers a broad range of manufacturing. He said his customers are still not making capital expenditures. He was especially concerned because the depreciation incentives which expire at the end of the year don't seem to be having any effect on his sales.This may be just an isolated situation but it makes me wonder how broad the economic recovery really is.
I don't know. My hubby is seeing a lot of capital expenditure being made in the area of food production, such as shrimp plants, chicken plants, etc. but it is way overdue that these industries got more efficient and hopped on the computer bandwagon. Most of these improvements do result in putting people out of work, because the plants become more efficient. Again, just one data point from one small part of the world. I don't think "real jobs" for real people are coming back in any big way, that's for sure. The computer will take what outsourcing and illegal immigration doesn't.
The computer will take what outsourcing and illegal immigration doesn't. Do you think we will automate ourselves out of a society that has to work?David
Do you think we will automate ourselves out of a society that has to work?Yes, I do. People who can live without working are pioneers. Unfortunately, this society makes it very hard for pioneers, and many if not most are involuntary pioneers with little in the way of internal resources so they turn to drugs, violence, etc. to meet their self-esteem and survival needs. There are going to have to be fundamental changes when it becomes obvious that there will never again be enough jobs to go around. I'm not saying it will happen overnight, but it will happen sooner or later.
There are going to have to be fundamental changes when it becomes obvious that there will never again be enough jobs to go around. I'm not saying it will happen overnight, but it will happen sooner or later.What makes you so sure?Luddites have been predicting this would happen since the early 1800s, but employment has grown steadily since then. In fact, history has shown that automation leads to *increases* in employment rather than decreases. The nature of the employment changes, but employment increases. There are temporary dislocations, however, which is why there is negativity surrounding the changes.The biggest issue that needs to be taught is that no one is entitled to a particular type of job. You have to be prepared to be flexible in order to meet market demands. We have too many people who have been more than willing to play the part of the victim, staying unemployed for months or years at a time and showing a remarkable unwillingness to be flexible.Businesses need to be willing to adapt to market demands, and so must employees.
I have no desire to be an employee, that's for the losers in life's lottery. Time is the only resource we have that can't be stored or saved but only spent.The dream of the ages is that one day we will be liberated from mind and soul-killing work. If you prefer to say that the dream will never be achieved, and people must always be drones, fine, but I prefer to look for and create a positive future. I don't think you have a hands-on experience of the last decade of technological changes if you don't recognize that we have taken a quantum leap in what we can have our machines do for us. They are literally taking jobs we thought people would always have to do, because they required "judgment," such as sorting fish, as one example. You just have to see this technology to believe it. It works. Whether we have the will to use it, or whether we prefer to continue on in a world of wage slavery and darkness, well, that's up to society, I guess. For most of the thousands of years of human history, only a tiny elite could read and write -- today, in many nations, literacy is virtually universal. We could have folded our hands and said, NO, only the elite will ever be able to learn these skills, but the world changed, and people changed with it.For most of thousands of years of human history, no one could fly, not one person. Over the last century, thousands if not hundreds of thousands (who knows, maybe millions) have flown.For most of thousands of years of human history, only a tiny elite could live a good life without working. You assume that there will never be a technology to change the fact that life, historically, is nasty, brutish, and short. I assume the opposite, because I see the changes taking place all around me. Indeed, I don't see any way it can be avoided without a total collapse of civilization, which I would think is fairly unlikely to happen...but people do go to great lengths sometimes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory...
The dream of the ages is that one day we will be liberated from mind and soul-killing work.We already have that. It's called retirement.Technology marches forward, but rather than choosing more leisure, we choose to work longer in order to buy more and more "labor-saving" devices and other luxuries.Maybe this trend will end, but I don't see it happening any time soon.
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