The Robots Are Coming! [ES Thread]

There was a thread that I found interesting on the ExtremeSkins forum the other week.  Here’s the raw link to that thread if you’d like to check it out http://es.redskins.com/topic/414359-emerging-technologies

The gist of it dealt with the hyperloop proposal by Elon Musk that would span from New York to Washington DC.

Pretty cool, right?



Yeah, it was.  But I ended up hijacking the thread to begin a nice little back-n-forth about the emerging threat that automation poses to our domestic economy.

Here’s how it went down.

This news genuinely frightens me.

My sentiment is motivated by by the damaging ripple effect it will have on the domestic economy.

If this project does indeed come to fruition and is put online, how many jobs will be permanently eliminated due to a more efficient mode of transportation (here in the most populous corridor of the country)?  And we’re talking about quality, good paying, living wage jobs.  The kinds of jobs that people not only support their families with, but transportation is a field that many individuals build productive careers in.

Think about it.

(For those of you that live in the Northeast) if you were to travel to New York tomorrow, how would you do it?  Would you fly?  Take a train?  A shuttle bus?  Hell…an Uber?  Well even if you drive, the very act of you travelling supports commerce and contributes to economic productivity.  Someone has been trained to fly that jet, or engineer that train, or drive that bus.  And besides, there are support jobs that must be competently filled in order to facilitate your journey.  There is a ripple effect.

Now say this hyperloop is an option.  Sure, not everyone travelling to NY will consider that option, but what happens if 15% of the market does?  How many jobs will be eroded by its existence?  Will that dip in tax receipts make a noticeable difference to the states and local governments along that route?  Or would it be more of a hidden cost?

Our shifting economy does have benefits.  Of course!  But there are tangible costs as well:
http://es.redskins.com/topic/414355-wp-disabled-and-disdained-plus-all-things-white-rural-america/
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/515926/how-technology-is-destroying-jobs/
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/21/the-real-reason-for-disappearing-jobs-isnt-trade-its-robots.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/upshot/the-long-term-jobs-killer-is-not-china-its-automation.html

Technology kills jobs.

This development, along with the country’s changing demographics, and the structural fragility of the economy are the most critical issues of our lifetimes.

Think that’s hyperbole?  Okay.  But how do you envision whole segments of our population behaving when there simply aren’t enough jobs in our economy to employ folks at 2017 levels?  And to be clear here, I’m talking about people that not only want to work but participate as labor or management in our economy presently.

I fear social dislocation.  Because the robots are coming.

Let me end with this: ever find yourself in the store ready to check out & you gravitate to the self-checkout line – because it’s easier?

Think about that.

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And here are a couple of responses to this post

And

Elessar78

  On 7/22/2017 at 4:58 PM, Diehard Otis said:

This news genuinely frightens me.

 

 

Think about that.

 

Automation is just going to accelerate. It’s been happening since the industrial revolution. Jobs and needs will evolve as they’ll always have. People will find ways to live productive meaningful lives. Don’t fear the future.


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Here’s my response to this post.

  On 7/22/2017 at 8:33 PM, Elessar78 said:

Automation is just going to accelerate. It’s been happening since the industrial revolution. Jobs and needs will evolve as they’ll always have. People will find ways to live productive meaningful lives. Don’t fear the future.

I agree with the highlighted portion of your comment.  There is no disputing that, since it is a fact.

But I think you’re being a little too dismissive here.  Automation does have a litany of social benefits.  But by the same token, there are some serious societal costs that need to be understood along with it.  When jobs get eliminated by technological improvements, they do not come back.  To wit, this excerpt from The New York Times article I referenced earlier:

  Quote

Over time, automation has generally had a happy ending: As it has displaced jobs, it has created new ones. But some experts are beginning to worry that this time could be different. Even as the economy has improved, jobs and wages for a large segment of workers — particularly men without college degrees doing manual labor — have not recovered.

Even in the best case, automation leaves the first generation of workers it displaces in a lurch because they usually don’t have the skills to do new and more complex tasks, Mr. Acemoglu found in a paper published in May.

Robert Stilwell, 35, of Evansville, Ind., is one of them. He did not graduate from high school and worked in factories building parts for tools and cars, wrapping them up and loading them onto trucks. After he was laid off, he got a job as a convenience store cashier, which pays a lot less.

What concerns me is that most people don’t understand what far reaching effects this will have.  What scares me is how the steady erosion of jobs in this economy will affect social cohesion.

The question is, what happens to these people after their jobs disappear?  Yes, some do find other work.  Typically they find worse work (ie, lower wages and inferior benefits).  And there is a reliable spike in social welfare benefits recipients in those communities most affected.  And that is a big deal.

But not to be outdone, automation is an equal opportunity job killer.  And since you guys think I’m being too paranoid, consider Stephen Hawking’s views on this topic:
http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-hawking-ai-automation-middle-class-jobs-most-dangerous-moment-humanity-2016-12

I submit that if you were to look at the available data, you may see things a bit differently.


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And

  On 7/22/2017 at 6:00 PM, gbear said:

Don Quixote lives!  I like the spirit of worrying about the poor displaced, and yet we live with much more free time, more disposable income, and higher quality of life than any time in history. This is due to the march of history and increases in technology.  The march of tech allowed us to prove Malthus wrong. We need technology to continue to advance. I celebrate it while still worrying for the displaced.

I can get with this to some extent – thank you @gbear.

Obviously, my lifestyle involves taking advantage of modern conveniences (I am discussing this issue on the internet in the comfort of my air-conditioned home).  Please don’t misunderstand me; I like gadgets, and going places and self checkout lines too.  But I am mindful of their cost.  That is my main point.

 

  On 7/22/2017 at 8:54 PM, Sacks ‘n’ Stuff said:

This. We must wage war against technology and changing demographics.

 

Also, don’t forget about all of the damage being done by institutions of higher education.

Go ahead and laugh.  But those that have studied this issue know full well what I speak of.


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To which, Elessar78 replied

  On 7/22/2017 at 9:10 PM, Diehard Otis said:

I agree with the highlighted portion of your comment.  There is no disputing that, since it is a fact.

 

But I think you’re being a little too dismissive here.  Automation does have a litany of social benefits.  But by the same token, there are some serious societal costs that need to be understood along with it.  When jobs get eliminated by technological improvements, they do not come back.  To wit, this excerpt from The New York Times article I referenced earlier:

 

What concerns me is that most people don’t understand what far reaching effects this will have.  What scares me is how the steady erosion of jobs in this economy will affect social cohesion.

 

The question is, what happens to these people after their jobs disappear?  Yes, some do find other work.  Typically they find worse work (ie, lower wages and inferior benefits).  And there is a reliable spike in social welfare benefits recipients in those communities most affected.  And that is a big deal.

 

But not to be outdone, automation is an equal opportunity job killer.  And since you guys think I’m being too paranoid, consider Stephen Hawking’s views on this topic:
http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-hawking-ai-automation-middle-class-jobs-most-dangerous-moment-humanity-2016-12

 

I submit that if you were to look at the available data, you may see things a bit differently.

I work for a company that creates machines that, essentially, replaces people. Has done so for at least 30 years, if not longer.

In the past two years, automation replacing people has been a steady topic of lunch time conversation. We’ve read books on the topic, in fact. There has to be a shift. A shift in governance and taxation. A shift in mindset.

One of the more positive outcomes that we’ve discerned is the rise of the creative class. If people are going to be truly unemployed by machinery they’ll need to become productive somehow—possibly creating content for all that leisure time.

No, it probably won’t be painless. Big wars have broken out coinciding with the big societal shifts. In fact, we’re in the midst of one now (Information Age) and the metrics for things like this don’t look great that there WON’T big a big, global war. The big extinction event has been on the table since the guys at Los Alamos figured things out.


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At this point, another poster jumps into the mix

  On 7/22/2017 at 4:58 PM, Diehard Otis said:

 

Technology kills jobs.

http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/the-data-defying-job-killing-robot-myth

“The story of mass displacement of workers by robots is a story of rapid productivity growth. Robots are supposed to be doing the work formerly done by people. This means that we should be seeing far more output for each hour of human labor. This is something we can easily check, since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts out data on productivity growth every quarter.

Rather than going through the roof as the robot story would imply, productivity growth has fallen through the floor. It’s averaged just 1.2 percent annually in the last 10 years and 0.6 percent in the last five years. By comparison, productivity growth averaged 3 percent in both the decade from 1995 to 2005 and the long Golden Age from 1947 to 1973.

It’s possible to point to many great advances in technology. It’s also possible in future years that innovations like driverless cars will lead to mass displacement of workers, but to date the data are very clear: this mass displacement is not happening. Insofar as people are seeing job opportunities disappear, it is due to factors other than robots.

It actually would be a good thing if we did see more rapid productivity growth. The period from 1947 to 1973 was a period of low unemployment and rapid wage growth. Workers were able to capture the benefits of rapid productivity growth in higher pay.”

Edited  by PeterMP

Naturally, I responded to both posters

  On 7/22/2017 at 10:31 PM, Elessar78 said:

I work for a company that creates machines that, essentially, replaces people. Has done so for at least 30 years, if not longer.

 

In the past two years, automation replacing people has been a steady topic of lunch time conversation. We’ve read books on the topic, in fact. There has to be a shift. A shift in governance and taxation. A shift in mindset.

 

One of the more positive outcomes that we’ve discerned is the rise of the creative class. If people are going to be truly unemployed by machinery they’ll need to become productive somehow—possibly creating content for all that leisure time.

 

No, it probably won’t be painless. Big wars have broken out coinciding with the big societal shifts. In fact, we’re in the midst of one now (Information Age) and the metrics for things like this don’t look great that there WON’T big a big, global war. The big extinction event has been on the table since the guys at Los Alamos figured things out.

Thank you for sharing @Elessar78.  And I cannot quibble with your views above much, if at all.

And as you note yourself, we must be aware of the costs that are associated with the benefits.  That’s where I am.

Again, I am no Luddite!  In fact, I believe that the ultimate security is achieved when everyone (that wants to) has equal access to opportunity and prosperity.  Given that belief, I wouldn’t mind keeping some inefficient processes in place if it meant that my neighbor could keep his job & maintain his standard of living (and his field remained a net contributor towards economic productivity).

Yet I know that this will not be the case going forward.

————————————————————-

  On 7/22/2017 at 10:57 PM, PeterMP said:

 

 

http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/the-data-defying-job-killing-robot-myth

 

“The story of mass displacement of workers by robots is a story of rapid productivity growth. Robots are supposed to be doing the work formerly done by people. This means that we should be seeing far more output for each hour of human labor. This is something we can easily check, since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts out data on productivity growth every quarter.

Rather than going through the roof as the robot story would imply, productivity growth has fallen through the floor. It’s averaged just 1.2 percent annually in the last 10 years and 0.6 percent in the last five years. By comparison, productivity growth averaged 3 percent in both the decade from 1995 to 2005 and the long Golden Age from 1947 to 1973.

It’s possible to point to many great advances in technology. It’s also possible in future years that innovations like driverless cars will lead to mass displacement of workers, but to date the data are very clear: this mass displacement is not happening. Insofar as people are seeing job opportunities disappear, it is due to factors other than robots.

It actually would be a good thing if we did see more rapid productivity growth. The period from 1947 to 1973 was a period of low unemployment and rapid wage growth. Workers were able to capture the benefits of rapid productivity growth in higher pay.”

I disagree with Dean Baker here (the author of this Op-Ed).

In fact, one of the posters in the comments section wrote this:

  Quote

Stan Sorscher ·

Robot are not the issue. The issues are where are new jobs created, and who gets the gains from productivity?

ATMs replaced bank tellers. Online airplane check-in replaced gate agents; telephone operators were replaced by electronic telephone switches. Online shopping replaces retail clerks. Longshore workers were replaced in droves by containerized shipping.

Only Longshore workers were able to claim their share of gains – today, the few remaining longshore workers are paid handsomely to load and unload containers from giant (robotic) structures at the port. Longshore workers have a strong union, fierce solidarity, and their jobs are hard to export to Mexico.

@PeterMP

Although I specifically mentioned ‘robots’ in my earlier post, it was a colorful way of referring to the automation taking place in the modern economy due to technological improvements.  Saying robots is just easier.

In that light, there are a great many individuals that have expressed varying degrees of reservation, including:

Steven Hawking
“the automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/01/stephen-hawking-dangerous-time-planet-inequality

Erik Brynjolfsson (M.I.T. economist)
“This is the biggest challenge of our society for the next decade.”
&
Lawrence H. Summers
“This isn’t some hypothetical future possibility.  This is something that’s emerging before us right now.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/upshot/as-robots-grow-smarter-american-workers-struggle-to-keep-up.html

In fact

— A report put out in February 2016 by Citibank in partnership with the University of Oxford predicted that 47% of US jobs are at risk of automation. In the UK, 35% are. In China, it’s a whopping 77% — while across the OECD it’s an average of 57%.
http://www.businessinsider.com/robots-will-steal-your-job-citi-ai-increase-unemployment-inequality-2016-2?r=UK&IR=T

— According to recent research from the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, executives across 12 industries predict an average time to disruption of 3.1 years.
http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/solutions/collateral/industry-solutions/digital-vortex-report.pdf

— Google estimates robots will reach levels of human intelligence by 2029, and IT research firm Gartner estimates that by 2025, one-third of jobs will be replaced by robots and smart machines.
https://www.fowcommunity.com/blog/future-work/5-industries-being-most-affected-artificial-intelligence

— As technology and artificial intelligence (A.I.) advances, jobs in banks and offices are set to be replaced by automation, according to industry experts.
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/17/man-vs-machine-ai-could-put-you-out-of-a-job.html

I think you get the idea.  With all due respect, we disagree on this issue my friend.

Edited  by Diehard Otis


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Another poster offers his take

I think DO makes a legitimate point and it needs to be addressed, but addressed directly, intelligently with motivations beyond some immediate profits for the board and shareholders. Call it social technology, building a plan that encompasses the human beings involved. C’mon, we have waged war against disease that used to slaughter the race and largely won, and that is a result of science and intelligence. We are slowly coming to grips with war itself, as hard as it tries to flare up again and swallow us all we are living in a largely peaceful age compared to just a few generations back. So what do you do when you become a victim of your own success? When you cannot count on the four horsemen keeping populations busy and in check? A new focus will be required but I do not see it as insurmountable.

Job projects for the human race itself, tasks and goals so big they will keep us occupied for generations to come perhaps. Space and all its attendant needs, a lunar colony, asteroid mining, traveling to Mars or fixing Venus (which strangely enough no one talks about but it is a better property), infinity and beyond! There are answers we could aspire to, but like all the rest it will take vision and courage and growth beyond the neolithic mindsets we cling to today.

More fun hints of what might be……….

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/219186-q-carbon-is-harder-than-diamond-incredibly-simple-to-make

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/5158972/Starlite-the-nuclear-blast-defying-plastic-that-could-change-the-world.html

And PeterMP says

  On 7/23/2017 at 0:17 AM, Diehard Otis said:

I disagree with Dean Baker here (the author of this Op-Ed).

 

In fact, one of the posters in the comments section wrote this:

@PeterMP

 

Although I specifically mentioned ‘robots’ in my earlier post, it was a colorful way of referring to the automation taking place in the modern economy due to technological improvements.  Saying robots is just easier.

 

In that light, there are a great many individuals that have expressed varying degrees of reservation, including:

 

The assumption is that the automation results in the eliminating the job vs. keeping the job and the automated system or finding something new for the worker to do.

Your assumption is that the banks fired tellers after the adaption of ATM machines.  Right, if ATM machines cost jobs that means banks fired those people.

And they didn’t keep the same number of tellers which shortened lines to get a teller or turned those tellers into something else that allowed them to offer more/new services in a more effective manner.

The data we have disagrees with your assumptions.

It is certainly possible that in the future that automation and AI will cause wide spread unemployment.  That doesn’t appear to have happened in the past and does not appear to be happening now.

Edited  by PeterMP

To which I responded

  On 7/23/2017 at 9:56 PM, PeterMP said:

 

The assumption is that the automation results in the eliminating the job vs. keeping the job and the automated system or finding something new for the worker to do.

 

Your assumption is that the banks fired tellers after the adaption of ATM machines.  Right, if ATM machines cost jobs that means banks fired those people.

 

And they didn’t keep the same number of tellers which shortened lines to get a teller or turned those tellers into something else that allowed them to offer more/new services in a more effective manner.

 

The data we have disagrees with your assumptions.

 

It is certainly possible that in the future that automation and AI will cause wide spread unemployment.  That doesn’t appear to have happened in the past and does not appear to be happening now.

It looks as though we disagree on this issue.  And that’s fine with me – I have my beliefs and you have yours.  That is simply the nature of things.

However…

1) In your response, you mentioned that the data disagrees with my assumptions.

  On 7/23/2017 at 9:56 PM, PeterMP said:

The data we have disagrees with your assumptions.

Thing is, those weren’t MY assumptions!  They are the comments of a poster in the comments section of the link that YOU shared.  Here they are again, for your convenience:

  On 7/23/2017 at 0:17 AM, Diehard Otis said:

Stan Sorscher ·

Robot are not the issue. The issues are where are new jobs created, and who gets the gains from productivity?

ATMs replaced bank tellers. Online airplane check-in replaced gate agents; telephone operators were replaced by electronic telephone switches. Online shopping replaces retail clerks. Longshore workers were replaced in droves by containerized shipping.

Only Longshore workers were able to claim their share of gains – today, the few remaining longshore workers are paid handsomely to load and unload containers from giant (robotic) structures at the port. Longshore workers have a strong union, fierce solidarity, and their jobs are hard to export to Mexico.

You are taking issue with HIS remarks, in your post; not mine.

2) As I mentioned earlier, you are free to disagree with me as you see fit.  Obviously, you do not need me to tell you this.  However, I must ask you respectfully – did you bother to read any of the links I shared in any of my posts?  Because speaking honestly, it appears doubtful that you have (based upon your subsequent commentary).

The link you provided was an opinion editorial of the author’s views on the subject–specifically ‘robots’.

But of the 11 links in my posts that I have shared to buttress my argument,

-1 was to another ES thread on a separate topic, but showed the effects of a local economy that collapsed due to the erosion of jobs from a defunct industry.  I personally felt it was relevant to the discussion.

-1 was an article that refers to an Op-Ed by Stephen Hawking, whose views on the matter I concur with.

-1 was a report from Technology Review, an M.I.T site that…well, discusses technology based (and related) issues.

-5 were articles pulled from standard press outlets–that are generally agreed upon to be credible–that have done serious reporting on this issue.

-1 is a report from the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, in partnership with Cisco that details the conclusions from their joint study (in PDF form, although it can be read through your browser – no need to download anything).

-1 is a piece by an industry group that quotes Google on this issue.

-1 a quote from the Op-Ed that Hawking wrote himself

Here are those links again for your perusal:

http://es.redskins.com/topic/414355-wp-disabled-and-disdained-plus-all-things-white-rural-america/

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/21/the-real-reason-for-disappearing-jobs-isnt-trade-its-robots.html

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/515926/how-technology-is-destroying-jobs/

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/upshot/the-long-term-jobs-killer-is-not-china-its-automation.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-hawking-ai-automation-middle-class-jobs-most-dangerous-moment-humanity-2016-12

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/upshot/as-robots-grow-smarter-american-workers-struggle-to-keep-up.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/01/stephen-hawking-dangerous-time-planet-inequality

http://www.businessinsider.com/robots-will-steal-your-job-citi-ai-increase-unemployment-inequality-2016-2?r=UK&IR=T

https://www.fowcommunity.com/blog/future-work/5-industries-being-most-affected-artificial-intelligence

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/17/man-vs-machine-ai-could-put-you-out-of-a-job.html

http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/solutions/collateral/industry-solutions/digital-vortex-report.pdf

(and this excludes the 3 links referenced in a quote used in one of those prior posts)

In summary, my point in this is to prove that there are many well placed & prominent people, organizations, educational institutions, and press outlets that believe this to be a legitimate issue going forward in the modern information-based economy (that means that it will also be an issue in other countries besides ours).  I believe this to be the case as well.

And here in my post, I have provided some proof to validate my claim(s).

 

So my question to you is, where’s your proof?


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Once again, another poster lends his perspective

  On 7/22/2017 at 4:58 PM, Diehard Otis said:

This news genuinely frightens me.

(not quoting the whole thing)

We cannot let our society be held back just because there is a small subset of people benefitting from its inefficiency.  What we do need is a retraining program to help people who’s jobs have been lost to improved efficiency.

And of course I responded

  On 7/24/2017 at 1:23 AM, PokerPacker said:

(not quoting the whole thing)

 

We cannot let our society be held back just because there is a small subset of people benefitting from its inefficiency.  What we do need is a retraining program to help people who’s jobs have been lost to improved efficiency.

While I do agree with the highlighted portion, there can be no doubt that massive job elimination in any industry can not only cripple certain segments of the society, but also affect specific communities – as well as erode the tax base of an entire state. (examples would be the [former] industrial Midwest & the Appalachian states of Kentucky, West Virginia, & parts of Virginia – after the collapse of the coal economy).

Retraining programs typically don’t reach the most affected workers, ie those older workers that have developed and honed an obsolete skill set.  The younger workers typically move on more easily, since they weren’t as heavily invested career wise.  In other words, some have the ability and wherewithal to move on, but not everyone can be saved.  Previous instances of economic dislocation have proved this.

As I have said before, there is a cascading effect.  My intent is not to cry gloom & doom, but to illuminate a serious issue that most of us don’t know is coming.


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 To cap this discussion, PeterMP gets the last word
  On 7/24/2017 at 0:51 AM, Diehard Otis said:

It looks as though we disagree on this issue.  And that’s fine with me – I have my beliefs and you have yours.  That is simply the nature of things.

 

So my question to you is, where’s your proof?

My proof is the actual data of what has happened in the past with automation.  At times when there has been drastic increases in automation in the past, unemployment has gone down and wage growth has gone up.  That isn’t consistent with automation driving job loss.

It is fine to disagree with me, but not with the data.  It is certainly possible future automation will drive more unemployment, but you then have to argue that future automation will be different than past automation.

(In submitting your “proof” what you are doing is actually committing a logical fallacy known as argument from authority (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority).  You are arguing, I am right because person X (or group X) said so and person X is an authority.  Yes, I posted part of an Op-Ed from Dean Baker (an authority as a PhD economist that predicted both the tech stock market crash and the housing bubble, but what I really posted was the reasoning that supports the conclusion (i.e. in the past when automation has advanced quickly unemployment has gone down and wages have gone up.))  And you aren’t even doing it properly because people like Hawkings aren’t really even experts in the proper field (economics and the role of automation in economics).  It might be find to appeal to Hawkings on something related to physics as an authority, but not on economics.  From the wiki link above:

“An example of the fallacy of appealing to an authority in an unrelated field would be citing Albert Einstein as an authority for a determination on religion when his primary expertise was in physics.”  That’s what you are doing.)

Edited  by PeterMP

Further
  On 7/24/2017 at 1:23 AM, PokerPacker said:

What we do need is a retraining program to help people who’s jobs have been lost to improved efficiency.

I think relocation is more of an issue than re-training.  To extend Otis’ point about WV and the coal industry, the problem with the people isn’t their really their “training”.  They don’t really have any.  Being a coal miner was a low skill activity.  Their problem is their location.

During the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression large swaths of people from the Dust Bowl states packed up everything they could and moved to California because they had no future where they were.  People don’t seem to be willing to do that any more.

There are low skill jobs out there.  They don’t seem to be willing to go to where those jobs are.

Based on historical data, automation may result in the loss of some specific job at some specific location to a high extent where a specific location is hurt badly.  But that’s a very narrow argument and the solution to that problem is for those people to relocate (or accept that they are choosing to put themselves at an economic disadvantage based on their choice of where to live).

(Three things over several decades have really hit the coal country:

1.  Environmental regulations.

2.  Automation and changes in techniques (i.e. strip mining)

3.  the increase in natural gas production)

Edited  by PeterMP



 And that’s the discussion.
But look: this is a crucial conversation to have because this is an important issue that will only gain in importance.
So let’s not let the debate end here.  C’mon and speak up!
Leave your comment in the section below so we can continue the discussion.

 
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