The economic conundrum of the 21st century

Two stories at The Fiscal Times capture our predicament nicely.

The first, from Blaire Briody, explores the job-stealing impact of technology even in the service sector:

“MIT already has a BakeBot that can read recipes, whip together cookie dough and place it in the oven. The University of California at Berkeley has a robot that can do laundry and fold T-shirts. Robot servers have started waiting tables at restaurants in Japan, South Korea, China and Thailand – and just last week, a robot served Passover matzah to President Obama during his trip to Israel.

“Every year, machines are getting more capable of doing low-level tasks,” says Professor Seth Teller, a robotics researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.

Many experts worry about what robots in the service sector could do to employment. The national unemployment rate remains at 7.7 percent — not remotely close to the 4.7 percent unemployment in 2007 before the recession. Job growth isn’t expected to return to pre-recession levels until 2017, and the recent sequestration could easily derail it. Manufacturing has already shed nearly 6 million jobs since 2000.

“When machines and robots start taking over service sector jobs, that’s when we’ll really start to notice,” says Martin Ford, robotics expert and author of “The Lights In the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future.”

The second, from Mark Thoma:

“If we want to ensure that our children and grandchildren have the brightest possible future, the national debt is not the most important problem to address. Reversing the polarization of the labor market – the hollowing out of the middle class and the associated rise in inequality over the last thirty years or so – is much more important. But money driven politics and a political class that has all but forgotten about the working class – Democrats in particular have forgotten who they are supposed to represent – stand in the way of progress on this important problem….

If reducing the debt was the true goal of Republicans, then tax increases would be on the table. Republicans see the large debt, much of which was caused by the recession, as a golden opportunity to reduce the size of government and, by extension, to reduce the chance that high-income households will have to pay higher taxes to support social programs, the overriding political goal.

I don’t blame Republicans for their efforts. I wish the working class was more important to Republicans, and I cannot understand the indifference to the struggles of so many people. But that’s not who Republicans are. Fundamentally, it’s the party of the rich and this is a chance to lower government spending and reduce the pressure for tax increases on high-income households.

I do, however, blame Democrats for allowing them to be successful. Even though unemployment is extraordinarily high and job opportunities, when they exist at all, are mostly at reduced wages, and even though the future for the working class looks increasingly bleak, too many Democrats have aided and abetted Republicans in this diversion of attention from jobs to the national debt.”

Thoma appears to explain the lack of attention to the plight of working people by citing the demise of unions and their inability to act as a countervailing economic and political power to corporations. However, the failing power of unions is itself a symptom of the overall decline in market power for working people, due to trends such as those explored in the first place. More and more wealth created by fewer and fewer people tends to concentrate that wealth.

And if Democrats aren’t proposing a solution, it may very well be because they can’t think of any.

– Jay Bookman

470 comments Add your comment

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 26th, 2013
4:36 pm

There are rarely easy solutions to complicated issues despite the claims of the GOP

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

March 26th, 2013
4:38 pm

– Democrats in particular have forgotten who they are supposed to represent –

Does this mean that it is a given the Republicans aren’t supposed to represent the working class?

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 26th, 2013
4:39 pm

I just hope those robots are all programmed with the 3 laws of Robotics. ;)

Of course, the real solution that would make the GOP happy is that the working class give up their bodies and become the robots. :D

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

March 26th, 2013
4:43 pm

I thought this was going to be about aluminum oxide, rubies and sapphires. Instead just more boring economics.

The Sophist-icated Republican

March 26th, 2013
4:43 pm

So robots are already advanced to the point where they can readily replace the typical Republican. That’s hardly cause for concern with regard to the planet’s intelligent lifeforms.

Fred ™

March 26th, 2013
4:44 pm

Jobs? We don’t need no stinking jobs. Ask all the supposedly RICH republicans here. We just need to kill all the ‘moochers” and everything will be ok.

Fred ™

March 26th, 2013
4:45 pm

Keep; You joke about the 3 laws of Robotics, but was Asimov a prophet? Or was he a profit………

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
4:47 pm

“And if Democrats aren’t proposing a solution, it may very well be because they can’t think of any”

I can agree with that! And maybe there isn’t anything that can be done on a macro scale, though that remains to be seen. But on a micro scale we can strike a blow, even if it’s only a little one. I, for instance, refuse to use self-checkouts in stores that have checkout staff at other registers. I only do “someone else’s work” when I have no choice…like pumping gas. Otherwise, I prefer to help keep the employees EMPLOYED by letting them do their jobs.

Scooter

March 26th, 2013
4:48 pm

Why come up with a solution when your base is bedded the struggle for social justice?

independent thinker

March 26th, 2013
4:48 pm

Between robots and Chinese slave labor the vulture capitalists never had it so good.All they need is a good tax attorney and a few offshore accounts.

barking frog

March 26th, 2013
4:49 pm

Unemployment must be paid until the person gets a job.
Medicaid must be available to the unemployed.
Job retraining must be tied to unemployment.
Speculative SBA loans must be available to the unemployed.

indigo

March 26th, 2013
4:49 pm

Big Business is outsourcing to other countries every job they possibly can.

Computers are getting better every year and will take more and more jobs in the future.

Looks like many of us poor human workers are just sh*t out of luck.

JamVet

March 26th, 2013
4:50 pm

But money driven politics and a political class that has all but forgotten about the working class – Democrats in particular have forgotten who they are supposed to represent – stand in the way of progress on this important problem…

Yep.

We’re dealing with a real sick, decaying Democratic Party that cant defend the country against the cruelest, most ignorant, most anti-worker, most war-mongering, most Wall Street-indentured Republican Party in its history, since the 1850s. ~Ralph Nader, September 26, 2012

Joe Hussein Mama

March 26th, 2013
4:50 pm

Has a rich person ever hired a robot? How about a poor person?

LUCIFER

March 26th, 2013
4:51 pm

It’s a crying shame what has happened to our unions. I point to the Molly McQuires, Sam Gompers and the AFL/CIO and the nasty battles fought early on in this nation between Labor and the Pinkerton guards. We owe our work advancements such as the overtime pay, holidays and vacation, benefit packages, the 40-hour workweek and on and on to the union struggles that showcased the sitdown strikes at the GM plants and similar battles. And look what the ruling class is doing now — eliminating union bargaining rights and wages have been stagnant for the working class for decades while the rich rake in billions. It’s the Koch brothers and their ilk putting a damper on the prosperity of the middle class. They will rue the day they took such steps. It will come back to bite them in the ass when the masses decide they’ve had enuff!!

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

March 26th, 2013
4:51 pm

I, for instance, refuse to use self-checkouts in stores that have checkout staff at other registers

Count me in on that one.

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

March 26th, 2013
4:51 pm

And 1/3 of the kids in Georgia will choose to not finish high school. Guaranteeing the permanent existence of the underclass.

Fred ™

March 26th, 2013
4:52 pm

Scooter

March 26th, 2013
4:48 pm

Why come up with a solution when your base is bedded the struggle for social justice?
++++++++++++++++++

Are you the fake scooter? The name stealer?

barking frog

March 26th, 2013
4:53 pm

Technology must be used to make life better not to make the
wealthy wealthier.

Fred ™

March 26th, 2013
4:53 pm

Speculative SBA loans must be available to the unemployed.

Why?

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 26th, 2013
4:53 pm

Fred, I suspect it was both.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

March 26th, 2013
4:54 pm

…when your base is bedded the struggle for social justice?

Anyone have a gibberish to English dictionary?

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
4:54 pm

“Computers are getting better every year and will take more and more jobs in the future”

That isn’t neccessarily a given. I’ve been working with computers since the days of some of the first commercial main frames. And for just about as long I’ve been hearing the lament that computers were taking jobs. Yet everytime we got a bigger, better computer…we hired more people to run them. Sure, the computers did the jobs of maybe hundreds, of clerical staff…but, on the other hand, they MADE jobs for delivery workers, maintenance and repair staff, programmers, and the computer jockies who ran the jobs every day. Plus the jobs of the factory workers who made the components, and the storage media, the storage racks, etc.

Erwin's cat

March 26th, 2013
4:54 pm

don’t hate the robot….learn how to design, produce, and, repair them. If today’s economics tell us anything, it tells us that education is king…well the right education anyway.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 26th, 2013
4:54 pm

Remember, there was a time in our history when Congress came very close to passing legislation to outlaw the use of a new fangled invention called the “steam engine”.

Why?

Because of the hue and cry of “wagon wheel” makers.

Geez !

Jefferson

March 26th, 2013
4:54 pm

Voice mail is another automations that help to add to those other 2 unemployed. When 94 out of 100 have jobs, the USA is good to go, but let 2 more get out of work and the fed goes nuts. All this over those 2. The US is not set up to be efficient, and neither is the human race.

Too much profit sitting around, it is time to hire some folks so those working don’t have to worry about their job and work so much.

Some day the working ants are just all going to call in sick and take the same day off.

ByteMe - Got ilk?

March 26th, 2013
4:55 pm

I got called a few days ago by a pollster and one of the questions was “what’s the biggest issue facing our country today”? And not one of the choices was “our rapidly eroding infrastructure”. Want to create jobs today? Fix the infrastructure! Want to improve our energy efficiency? Fix the infrastructure (we lose a lot of power in the grid)! Want to improve the ability of everyone to compete with the rest of the world’s brains? Fix the infrastructure (build out high-speed internet to every household)! Want to reduce the debt? Fix the infrastructure (the jobs to do that put people back to work and those people will pay taxes)!

But the pollster didn’t have that answer, so I went into the “other” bin. Sigh.

Matt321

March 26th, 2013
4:55 pm

Concern over robots is nothing new, really – look up the Luddites. Human beings are Creators! Let’s put our human potential to work. That will create MORE jobs than having menial tasks that can be done by machines, as people put their talents to higher uses.

The Luddites worried that machines were going to destroy the economy of England. Instead the Industrial Revolution made tiny England the most powerful country in the world, for a time.

Also, Jay, I think you’re putting the cart before the horse, and Thoma has it right. The reasons for the decline of unions are political – look at the north vs. south divide in “right to work” states. Is the south more advanced technologically, and was quicker to put in place automation than the north? No, of course not. Unions started to decline when the Republican party began demonizing them non-stop, and then taking every effort they could to cripple them when they got political power (see – Reagan).

Thomas Heyward Jr

March 26th, 2013
4:55 pm

LOL………….Blaming it on Robots now.
Obama-Bots maybe.
.
From the master—————

The truth is the long term solutions to our economic quagmire involve some short term pain. Re-evaluating the economic role of an institution as insidious and behemoth as the Federal Reserve will inconvenience some people, and those people happen to have a lot of power. Similarly, the idea of ending government programs and closing down superfluous departments will always upset someone because it means someone will stop getting a government check.

No one wants to upset the apple cart, even if all the apples are rotten.

Not all of the unemployed are counted in the BLS unemployment numbers. This is no secret. In 1994 government statisticians came up with the term “discouraged worker” to remove entire swaths of people from the unemployment statistic. Now all the government has to do to improve the unemployment numbers is discourage people from looking for a job.

Far more unintended consequences are created in Washington than jobs.

Ideally, the business sector should be able to depend on sound numbers from the BLS, but smart business leaders know that trust in these numbers leads to bad decisions and failure. In regards to the recent jobs numbers, investor Jim Rogers recently stated “I have learned not to take advice from the government, especially the US government, which frequently misleads its citizens.” He also noted the election just around the corner, suggesting timing as an extra incentive to keep fudging the statistics.

This is a difficult figure to accept as the actual truth. Perhaps if the politicians did, the people would finally demand real change and real solutions. ”

The real drivers of the productive economy can’t afford to take risks based on false numbers. This is why economist John Williams created Shadow Government Statistics, utilizing more traditional methodologies and definitions to show business decision makers the real economic picture, warts and all. He shows the real unemployment rate to be a staggering 22.8%.
.
This is a difficult figure to accept as the actual truth. Perhaps if the politicians did, the people would finally demand real change and real solutions. Perhaps they would consider that all of the so-called stimulus spending, quantitative easing and mountains of regulation from Washington has only crippled the economy. Perhaps people would come to understand that fewer checks handed out from the public sector would mean more checks available in the private sector, and a return to real prosperity instead of just the appearance of it.
.Ron Paul

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 26th, 2013
4:56 pm

“When machines and robots start taking over service sector jobs, that’s when we’ll really start to notice”

You asked for it !!!

“Everybody stand up and holler for the union,
Let’s give the brotherhood a cheer.
Everybody stand up and holler for the union,
We ain’t hit a lick all year !”

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
4:57 pm

“Count me in on that one”

Oh yeah, and maybe I should have mentioned that while it hasn’t happened yet…I would refuse to purchase anything at an establishment that had NO human personnel available to assist me…even if it’s only to ring up my purchase. If I ever go to a restaurant that has only robot staff…I’m out of there!

Thomas Heyward Jr

March 26th, 2013
4:59 pm

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

March 26th, 2013
4:51 pm

I, for instance, refuse to use self-checkouts in stores that have checkout staff at other registers

Count me in on that one.
———————————————————
.
That’s why I come to Bookman’s blog.
Prog economic wisdom.
(that’ll show dem rascally robots).
.
lol

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
5:01 pm

“Prog economic wisdom”

So I should assist in putting people out of jobs and on the dole, so the conned have even MORE to bitch about?

barking frog

March 26th, 2013
5:01 pm

Fred
Why?
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
The unemployed do not have a job so they cannot qualify
for most other loans to begin to create their own jobs.

JamVet

March 26th, 2013
5:01 pm

For brother Scout and the Aryan Brotherhood.

When Hitler came to power in January 1933, he saw trade unions as exercising more power over the workers than he could. Therefore, trade unions were seen as a challenge to be dispensed with. Hitler knew that he needed the workers to be on his side but he could not allow trade unions to exert the potential power they had. Therefore, trade unions were banned in Nazi Germany.

We’ll show these fascists what a couple of hillbillies can do..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwcKwGS7OSQ

barking frog

March 26th, 2013
5:03 pm

doggone/ga
do you purchase self service gasoline ?

indigo

March 26th, 2013
5:03 pm

barking – 4:53 “technology must be used to make life better not to make the wealthy wealthier”

I hope you’re not counting on our lawmakerst to see that this happens.

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
5:04 pm

“do you purchase self service gasoline ?”

Go back and read more slowly. I’ve already addressed that.

indigo

March 26th, 2013
5:04 pm

Doggone/Ga 4:54

That is true to an extent. But, I’m afraid, overall, computers take more jobs than they produce.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

March 26th, 2013
5:05 pm

That’s why I come to Bookman’s blog.

I’m here for the Wisconsin wedding drone attack updates.

But like everything else, you fail on the delivery.

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
5:10 pm

“That is true to an extent. But, I’m afraid, overall, computers take more jobs than they produce.”

On a close scale, yes, they do. But if you look more broadly, they have the overall effect of creating jobs. I worked in the phone industry for many years and I have NO DOUBT that our world would never have become so communications dependent if we still had to rely on masses of manual laborers to keep the systems running.

The computers have opened up opportunities for businesses that would not be there if the computers were not there. I’m no Luddite. I don’t demand that the technology be destroyed…I just do my small part to put off the day when some business decides to fire people. There’s a big difference between helping someone to lose their job…and a business not hiring additional people.

barking frog

March 26th, 2013
5:10 pm

doggone/ga
sorry I did miss that and by that I see you will use self
service in all the other places that it becomes necessary,
just like the rest of us.

barking frog

March 26th, 2013
5:12 pm

indigo 5:03
it will take corporations and lawmakers to make life better with
technology along with the rest of us.

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
5:13 pm

“sorry I did miss that and by that I see you will use self
service in all the other places that it becomes necessary,
just like the rest of us”

Of course I will. I need to fill my car with gas to get to work. But IF I had a choice between a “manned” pump and as self-service pump, I would use the manned pump even if it cost a bit more. I no longer have that choice.

Fred ™

March 26th, 2013
5:16 pm

Frog: Good point. I didn’t see at first read where you were going with that. Thank you.

Sean

March 26th, 2013
5:16 pm

Robots doing manual jobs!
Watch out.. a lot of people will not have a job because not everyone is smart enough to do higher level jobs.

Scratch It

March 26th, 2013
5:16 pm

Sounds just like a couple of dems Jay. throwing out excuses as to why obamanomics has failed….

Common Sense is Uncommon

March 26th, 2013
5:16 pm

Robots will be able to report the news, write newspaper columns (assuming there are newspapers)without injecting personal political bias such as demonstrated here. I can’t wait.

Thomas Heyward Jr

March 26th, 2013
5:17 pm

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

March 26th, 2013
5:05 pm

That’s why I come to Bookman’s blog.

I’m here for the Wisconsin wedding drone attack updates.

But like everything else, you fail on the delivery.
——————————————————————————
.
Just stick with your Government Schooled Obama/Romney-Bot to check your groceries out.(don’t ask for change).
Helplessness is ingrained in the typical prog.
.
I…….on the other hand……… welcome the speed and efficiency that technology enables.
(although the .gov has already slowed this process down by having to show ID’s for medicen, paint,glue,lawndarts, ammo,etc………………….).

kayaker 71

March 26th, 2013
5:18 pm

“Democrats have forgotten who is it that they are supposed to represent”…… Probably the most telling statement in the whole thread.

Matti

March 26th, 2013
5:18 pm

“…too many Democrats have aided and abetted Republicans in this diversion of attention from jobs to the national debt.”

Agreed. When Democrats get drawn into squabbles the Republicans start, they’re already lost. That was the plan all along. D’OH! What Democrats need to do (shout out to Bart Cop) is LIST THE FACTS. In no area of discussion is this more true than the stage of economy, taxes, jobs, and the national debt. Why don’t they do it?

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

March 26th, 2013
5:20 pm

Well, if they’re cheap enough I’ll buy a couple—one to open my beer and the other one to flip the channel when some librul program comes on the TV. I might could buy a third if there’s one that knows how to flip a telemarketer off when the phone rings.

Anyhow, let me know when a robot can drive a beer truck and hoist cases of brew into a store. Then I’ll start worrying about how the things could take my job. Otherwise just tell the lazy bums that are out of work they got plenty of openings for greeters at WalMart and burger-flippers. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of finding where they put things I want to buy and waiting for my burger & fries to be ready.

Have a good night everybody. I got to go and take the garbage out to the road. Which reminds me, the garbage truck crews seem to be running short-handed. Better get your app in pronto. Good jobs like that don’t stay open long.

Thulsa Doom

March 26th, 2013
5:21 pm

“Job growth isn’t expected to return to pre-recession levels until 2017, and the recent sequestration could easily derail it.”

Sequestration could easily derail employment levels??? Seriously? You have got to be kidding.

Blaming the high unemployment under Obama on robots now? Puh-leeze! Even the Bookmanbots aren’t that dumb.

If you can show me a bartender or waiter or a cook or a maid or a hamburger flipper or landscaper, etc. that’s been replaced by an expensive robot then I’ll believe it when I see it. Robots are expensive, they have to be programmed, maintenanced, serviced, stored, etc. and by the time the end user goes through all the crap associated with using a robot for a mundane, menial task he could have just done it himself or paid someone a small wage to do it for him. Geez.

barking frog

March 26th, 2013
5:21 pm

doggone/ga
I no longer have that choice.
…………………………………………………
For many years I refused to buy anything that was not made in
the USA but I no longer have that choice either.
the only choice is to try to make sure that the people who lose
their jobs have social support to help them to reemployment.

BlahBlahBlah

March 26th, 2013
5:24 pm

“And if Democrats aren’t proposing a solution, it may very well be because they can’t think of any.”

Demonizing Republicans and rich people seems to be working for now. Why change?

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 26th, 2013
5:24 pm

It’s WAR !

“Tennessee, Georgia at war over state line; battle could go to Supreme Court”

Thulsa Doom

March 26th, 2013
5:24 pm

“Helplessness is ingrained in the typical prog.”

A simple yet profoundly true statement.

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
5:26 pm

“Demonizing Republicans and rich people seems to be working for now. Why change?”

Working in what way? What progress has been halted because of “Demonizing Republicans and rich people”?

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 26th, 2013
5:27 pm

“The economic conundrum of the 21st century”

What does any of this have to do with MARTA or charter schools in Georgia ???

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

March 26th, 2013
5:28 pm

(although the .gov has already slowed this process down by having to show ID’s for medicen[sic], paint,glue,lawndarts, ammo,etc………

Medicine?

Yes.

Paint?

Of the many gallons of paint I have purchased, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sherwin Williams, Ace Hardware have never IDed me for buying paint.

Same for glue.

Lawn darts or Jarts have been banned for damn near 30 years.

Ammo?

I have yet to show ID for ammo.

Oh, and unlike you, I’ll bet that my “Government Schooled Obama/Romney-Bot” understands the concept of spell check.

Just sayin’.

Sport.

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
5:28 pm

“A simple yet profoundly true statement.”

When you have to lie to make your point, you have no point.

kayaker 71

March 26th, 2013
5:29 pm

It will be awhile before we live in a Star Trek existence. Mr Data is a few years away. Just relax and don’t panic, libs. Go back to school, get a career track and go looking for some good rich Republican to hire you. He will supply you with a salary, a retirement plan, health care insurance, perhaps a year end bonus for doing a good job and two weeks off go to Grandma’s house. Works every time.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 26th, 2013
5:31 pm

“Gay Marriage Rights: The 10 Democratic Senators Who Still Say No”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/26/gay-marriage-rights_n_2957319.html

Thulsa Doom

March 26th, 2013
5:31 pm

“Prog economic wisdom”

Oxymoron of the day.

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
5:34 pm

“It will be awhile before we live in a Star Trek existence”

Even the Enterprise needed human staff to keep it running.

TBS

March 26th, 2013
5:35 pm

“Gay Marriage Rights: The 10 Democratic Senators Who Still Say No”

Not sure if you heard or read, but the issue as it stands today is in the hands of the Supremes. Regardless of what decision they make, they will not be seeking advice or polling those ten Democrat Senators nor the other 90 either.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 26th, 2013
5:37 pm

tireofit

March 26th, 2013
5:39 pm

If the one of the ideas of Free Trade is that Americans have to compete with people in another country making 5 cents an hour, then something is very wrong with this picture.
Pure capitalism doesn’t work. What always happens in Monopoly?

JamVet

March 26th, 2013
5:39 pm

I find it amazing that any veteran wouldn’t abhor this fanatical and criminal GOP.

The group that actually tried to block bills to help veterans, including one that would have guaranteed GI pay during any GOP-led government shutdown.

Why in the name of Donald Trump’s birth certificate doesn’t Barack Obama eviscerate these arrogant, never-served, chickenhawk b@sta@rds?? In prime time??

It is wholly beyond me.

Grow a damn pair, Mr. President and stand up to these lunatics…

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 26th, 2013
5:40 pm

Thulsa Doom

March 26th, 2013
5:41 pm

“Sounds just like a couple of dems Jay. throwing out excuses as to why obamanomics has failed….”

Bingo. Now what’s really funny is that if and when this robotic revolution ever comes what the libs haven’t figured out is that there will be plenty of jobs in the new economy in designing, maintenancing, building, the robotic society.
Just like with the computer revolution a quantum leap in technology would present a whole new range of jobs and applications that we haven’t even thought of yet.

But its easier for the party of fear to scare their minions. And its much more fun for the libs to just bit$!h and whine about some economic boogeyman stealing their jobs. There’s always something to get them angry, fearful, and frothy at the mouth.

too little time

March 26th, 2013
5:41 pm

However, the failing power of unions is itself a symptom of the overall decline in market power for working people, due to trends such as those explored in the first place. More and more wealth created by fewer and fewer people tends to concentrate that wealth.

And if Democrats aren’t proposing a solution, it may very well be because they can’t think of any.

This is a showdown that has been coming for the better part of half a century. Corporations have been chasing cheap labor around the world. In essence, globalizaton of the world market place and it’s destruction of the middle class in first world countries is a model for what robots will do…. to ALL of the world’s labor force. What happens when even the cheapest of labor anywhere in the world is more expensive than robot labor? Who has a plan for that? Hint: nobody.

I’m guessing it all ends in revolution. It will be the rich/corporations and their robot armies against everyone else. Seriously.

George

March 26th, 2013
5:42 pm

Do a little walk around in metro Atlanta and just think if you were a businessman/ entrepreneur looking to start a business in the area and needed low or modestly skilled workers. Would you hire anyone you saw if given a choice between them and a well programmed robot suitable to your job requirements? Before too long, that will be a realistic option. People will have that steak cooked the way they want it everytime-24/7- without the attitude or tip.

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
5:42 pm

“If the one of the ideas of Free Trade is that Americans have to compete with people in another country making 5 cents an hour, then something is very wrong with this picture”

yes, there is NOW. But in the future it has the potential to be different. Sooner or later those off-short factories are going to run up against the same situation that led Henry Ford to raise the pay of his male workers so they could afford to buy the cars they made. Sooner or later, and I think it approaches being sooner, those off-shore workers are going to want to buy what THEY make too. And leads to higher wages. Whether “given” by the owners, or demanded via unionization…the day still approaches.

St Simons

March 26th, 2013
5:44 pm

Ok, I’ll say it.
the solution is the end of capitalism,
and the exploitation of labor for those that don’t have capital,
and no means to attain it without said jerbs.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 26th, 2013
5:45 pm

somebody is clearly not up on robot technology that now has robots designing themselves and maintaining themselves. :lol: But sure, we can all be MIT scientists. Can you draw this turtle? You too can have an exciting career in robots.

too little time

March 26th, 2013
5:46 pm

Now what’s really funny is that if and when this robotic revolution ever comes what the libs haven’t figured out is that there will be plenty of jobs in the new economy in designing, maintenancing, building, the robotic society.

And you really believe that will create enough jobs for billions of people? LOL. Keep deluding yourself.

This is how it will go down: Disease will rear its ugly head. Antibiotics will fail, and several world wide pandemics (SARS, Bird Flu, etc) will decimate the population. Those robots will rust in their factories (and the rich, who SHOULD have been designing new antibiotics instead of selling TV sets and cars, will die along with everyone else). Then, we will sort out what ever is left.

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

March 26th, 2013
5:47 pm

Paint?

Of the many gallons of paint I have purchased, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sherwin Williams, Ace Hardware have never IDed me for buying paint.

I’ve been ID’d in WalMart for spray paint.

Ammo?

You must be 21 to buy ammo for pistols. Kam, I doubt you have to show ID, but a young person should be asked.

bman.

March 26th, 2013
5:48 pm

DoggoneGA

March 26th, 2013
5:49 pm

“the solution is the end of capitalism”

I don’t agree. What we need is someone to realize the untapped potential and to find a creative way to use it. There’s nothing inherently bad about capitalism. It’s an economic tool. It’s who uses it, and how it’s used, that makes it either “good” or “bad”

Thulsa Doom

March 26th, 2013
5:50 pm

“Ah yes, the cry of the ignorant…show me a robot bartender”

Aaaah. So the world has one or a handful of pretty cool robotic bartenders. And at a cool $100,000. So how many $2.00 an hour bartenders have these $100,000 bartenders run out of a job here in the U.S.??? I think my little blondie bartender down the street with the nice personality is safe. ut go on living in a fantasy world if your mind actually believes that robots are going to start replacing bartenders on a regular basis. Gawd you are stupid.

Mr. Asahi is a pretty cool novelty. And that’s about it. And if anything he or robots like him will probably be used more to aid and help a human bartender than to actually replace her- making her more efficient which means more tips for her.

Fred ™

March 26th, 2013
5:50 pm

Sean

March 26th, 2013
5:16 pm

Robots doing manual jobs!
Watch out.. a lot of people will not have a job because not everyone is smart enough to do higher level jobs.
++++++++++++++++++

Don’t worry. There will always be sewers to clean so you talk radio FOXBOT 47 percenters who voted for Romney will have a job.

Yo, pissboy……..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGfXiIXTpE0

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

March 26th, 2013
5:50 pm

Well, dang if I want a blasted robot serving me my beer up at Billy Bob’s. Why, we’d be shut out of all the news going around.

See, Alvin Lee, the bartender at that place, gets talked to by all the people that order a beer. And the best part is, Alvin Lee blabs. For example, it don’t take long for everybody to know Bobby Bill’s missus caught him in the back seat of his extended cab pickup with the floozy he works with. I don’t know how we’d know stuff like that from a robot.

So put robots in to the shops everyplace and kick the human workers out. But be sure and leave our bartenders right where they are. We learn stuff from them you won’t never find in the papers or the innernet tubes.

Have a good night everybody.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 26th, 2013
5:50 pm

Not sure, but Walmart may be asking for ID’s for buying spray paint that can be “huffed”.

Brosephus™

March 26th, 2013
5:50 pm

Normal, plain and simple...

March 26th, 2013
5:51 pm

Don’t know if anybody said it yet, but this sounds like the beginning of “The Matrix”…:)

Real Scootter

March 26th, 2013
5:52 pm

somebody is clearly not up on robot technology that now has robots designing themselves and maintaining themselves

That would be Skynet wouldn’t Keep?(or something like that)

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 26th, 2013
5:52 pm

“The North previously threatened nuclear attack on the United States and South Korea, although it is not believed to have the capability to hit the continental United States with an atomic weapon. But the U.S. military’s bases in the Pacific area are in range of its medium-range missiles.”

“AIR RAID PEARL HARBOR. THIS IS NO DRILL”

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 26th, 2013
5:52 pm

wow, someone should put up some orange cones when they are moving the goalposts that fast.

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

March 26th, 2013
5:52 pm

that led Henry Ford to raise the pay of his male workers so they could afford to buy the cars they made.

Favorite lib antecdote. How many Ford cars did Henry Ford sell to his workers compared to the number he sold to the general public?

“The $5-a-day rate was about half pay and half bonus. The bonus came with character requirements and was enforced by the Socialization Organization. This was a committee that would visit the employees’ homes to ensure that they were doing things the “American way.” They were supposed to avoid social ills such as gambling and drinking. They were to learn English, and many (primarily the recent immigrants) had to attend classes to become “Americanized.” Women were not eligible for the bonus unless they were single and supporting the family. Also, men were not eligible if their wives worked outside the home.”

Fred ™

March 26th, 2013
5:53 pm

Pure capitalism doesn’t work. What always happens in Monopoly?

The one who gets the luckiest rolls of the dice wins.

pogo

March 26th, 2013
5:53 pm

For a starter, the un-employment numbers are ficticious. If all of those that simply have given up on looking for jobs are included, the un-employment number is somewhere between 13 and 15%. People with College degrees either are not working or are working in low paying jobs in the service sector which will never even pay off their highly costly educational loans. Educational loan defaults at are an all time high. The allure of socialism and communism will appeal greatly to these people (as evidenced by St. Simons comments). And then, there will be no reason to achieve anymore because even if you do, you will not be rewarded or you will be rewarded the same as those that don’t contribute. That is what the death of capitalism means, St. Simons. And with that, any semblance of personnal freedom will also be gone because what you are proposing is giving oneself over entirely to the government. You are pitiful.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 26th, 2013
5:54 pm

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

March 26th, 2013
5:54 pm

Not sure, but Walmart may be asking for ID’s for buying spray paint that can be “huffed”.

I think it’s ‘tagging’ that is the concern.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 26th, 2013
5:56 pm

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – “Banks wrote off $3 billion of student loan debt in the first two months of 2013, up more than 36 percent from the year-ago period, as many graduates remain jobless, underemployed or cash-strapped in a slow U.S. economic recovery, an Equifax study showed.”

Hummmmm …………… maybe I shouldn’t have paid off the loans I took out for my two kids ?

JamVet

March 26th, 2013
5:56 pm

I have waited a long time to watch this perverse party get their teeth kicked in. And at this rate, it’s not gonna be long before they have to start gumming their sound bites!

C’mon! Watching that sick little “Corporations are people, my friend” twerp get humiliated on the national stage was BIG FUN, was it not?!

As was watching the blubbering Hannity, Rove and Limbaugh play the slut and prostitute roles they were born to play, while they lamented how everybody but them was too stupid to vote for The Massachusetts Jellyfish.

Also, BIG FUN was watching the fascist trash named West, Walsh, Allen, Akin and Mourdoch get thrown out of the people’s house. (Ms. Bachmann, you’re next.)

Flail around and explain it all away, you REAL conservatives!

I’ll make some more popcorn…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCmkZFMSuFQ

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

March 26th, 2013
5:56 pm

Henry Ford paid his workers more for the purpose of employee retention, to save on retraining and therefore to lower his labor costs, not so they could buy his cars.

Thulsa Doom

March 26th, 2013
5:58 pm

“And you really believe that will create enough jobs for billions of people? LOL. Keep deluding yourself.”

And do you really believe that all or even most service or menial jobs will be replaced by robots???

You liberals are akin to mental oysters. History is replete with examples of mass numbers of people that lost jobs mostly due to mechanization and technology. Did those people starve or never find another job? Good grief. When farming became mechanized did all of those people put out of work suddenly not get new jobs? Did the cotton gin put people out of work for good? When refrigeration came about whatever did those poor ice and milk deliverymen do once their jobs were eliminated. What did all the laborers do when heavy duty earth moving Caterpillar type equipment put them out of work? I could go on all day long with examples of technology putting people temporarily out of work for the last couple hundred years. People still found new jobs. And at the same time liberals still remained clueless. Some things never change.

Fred ™

March 26th, 2013
5:58 pm

For a starter, the un-employment numbers are ficticious. If all of those that simply have given up on looking for jobs are included, the un-employment number is somewhere between 13 and 15%. People with College degrees either are not working or are working in low paying jobs in the service sector which will never even pay off their highly costly educational loans. Educational loan defaults at are an all time high. The allure of socialism and communism will appeal greatly to these people (as evidenced by St. Simons comments). And then, there will be no reason to achieve anymore because even if you do, you will not be rewarded or you will be rewarded the same as those that don’t contribute. That is what the death of capitalism means, St. Simons. And with that, any semblance of personnal freedom will also be gone because what you are proposing is giving oneself over entirely to the government. You are pitiful.

And you are stupid.It sure took you longer to prove you are stupid though than it did to insultSt. Simons who actually is smart…….

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 26th, 2013
5:58 pm

Jamvet, Bachmann is under investigation for possible campaign violations as we speak. :lol: