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Between all of these articles on how Automation is going to destroy at least 40% of blue collar, retail, industrial and manufacturing jobs in the coming decades and how AI poses a serious threat to take over a decent percentage of white collar work within the next two decades, I'm just not getting why anyone should even bother trying if there's no hope to be had.
So much doomsday . . . and let's use that word, DOOMSDAY . . . talk. It's simply depressing.
It's depressing because while some of you think this is going to lead to some grand progressive Elysium where we'll finally move beyond the idea of a person's success being tethered to how gainfully they're employed, I see it quite differently.
I see an America that's NOT moving past "Protestant Work Ethic". I still see an America that's NOT moving beyond "Plantation Mentality". I still see an America that still believes the "Horatio Alger" nonsense. I see an America that still buys into Republican economic and social positions (even people who say they're "Democratic"). I see America that wants to patrol bathrooms but not boardrooms. I see an America that thinks paying workers 8 dollars an hour is unaffordable, but paying a privileged scion eight thousand dollars a minute is perfectly OK. We're expected to just "rugged individualize" our own way in life, and that's simply THAT.
In this robot-run future, I'm seeing "Dystopia". I'm seeing a wealth-demanded and enforced CULL. I'm seeing biblical catastrophe and disaster. I'm seeing wealthy and upper middle class people that will never stand for "PAYin FER LAZY BUMS THAT SHUD BE WERKIN!!". I'm seeing a corporate controlled nation that's going to leave millions to fend for themselves, and those millions won't even know what they should be fending for since most every tangible subject they'll be studying will offer them either no employment or having thousands of people apply for each low-paying job.
Love will not win out in the end. America has never been about love. Americans think life is one big competition, and if you're not actively kicking someone's ass and taking what they have, it's YOUR fault. If one looks around, there's obviously plenty that NEEDS done, but without public or private dollars backing it, it's not going to be accomplished.
So in this inevitability, what should I tell my kid? Give up?
Nobody's giving me a reason to tell him otherwise.
Posted by HughBeaumont | Fri May 6, 2016, 08:58 AM (256 replies)
Keep ignoring "the new unemployables" at your own peril, America. We used to not have to worry about older workers. What happened (you know, BESIDES "Reagan")??
Unless "a miracle happens," Joe will likely live in his 2001 Chevrolet Venture minivan by the summer. He removed the seats in the back to make space for a sleeping bag, his laptop and some clothes.
Soon to turn 61, Joe never imagined he would be in this position.
"When I was a kid growing up...America was the greatest place on planet earth. We were the envy of the civilized world. I never thought this could happen here," Joe says. CNNMoney agreed not to use his last name because he worries potential future employers will Google him.
Joe's big fear is that people assume he's lazy. He wore a suit for his interview with CNNMoney and hid his eyes behind big dark glasses because he is ashamed his life has come to this.
Joe's worked all his life, starting at age 11 pushing a broom around an uncle's shop. He earned two associate's degrees in electrical engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology and built a "blue collar" career as a technician, tester and machine operator. He loves factories and figuring out how things work.
When manufacturing jobs dried up in southeastern Pennsylvania, Joe moved to Minnesota. By the late 1990s, he earned $15 an hour, what he dubs a solid "lower middle class" wage. He figured he would work his way up, get a few raises and maybe buy a home. The American Dream seemed within reach.
Then his mother got sick. As the oldest child, he moved back to Pennsylvania in 1999 to care for her. Never married, Joe bought a trailer home with his mother. He managed to get jobs through temp agencies, but the work was never steady. He never earned $15 again.
Since being laid off in April 2013 from a manufacturing job, he's worked on and off a total of only seven months. He has drained his savings and retirement accounts and his mother is now in a nursing home, funded by what remains of her life savings and Medicaid.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump, a heavy favorite to win Pennsylvania, brings up the plight of people like Joe often in his stump speeches. He recently pointed out that the Keystone state has lost "35% of its manufacturing jobs since 2001."
I see two issues here that are vexing.
One, that this example and many others makes the case for the urgent need to institute a Guaranteed Minimum Income. The notion that a person's survival is chain-tethered to how gainfully they're employed has got to go the way of the dodo. You know, either get a GMI going or start caring less about "profit and shareholder value above all" and start bringing manufacturing, industry and business back here again. I mean, unless we want to see millions starve and die. Then wondering where to park their yachts this season will be the least of the wealthy's worries.
Two, that there's any notion of Trump being some kind of populist that's magically going to fix our economic ailments. It's been said that the rise of Roadkillhead parallels what "Reagan Democrats" were on about in making that addled tit president in 1980. Exactly how is a union-busting hypercapitalist CEO who's filed for bankruptcy on his businesses four times going to fix this? I really would like some specifics. Stop selling the mystery and start selling the mastery.
Posted by HughBeaumont | Mon May 2, 2016, 08:13 AM (45 replies)
Here's an idea on how we can move forward . . . How about firing the drive-by shooter liars with badges, rescinding their pensions and prevent them from ever working with a police force again? A compromise, since neither of those two fucks will ever see the inside of a jail cell where they belong.
Translation: "That would be educating youth of the dangers of possessing a real or replica firearm. While black."
Posted by HughBeaumont | Mon Apr 25, 2016, 07:02 PM (2 replies)
. . . or a Libertarian Party member, whichever . . .
Posted by HughBeaumont | Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:10 AM (0 replies)
U.S. has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000
Totally not "zero sum".
Trump and Bernie Sanders blame China for undercutting American workers with cheap labor (even Trump makes a lot of his suits and ties overseas). But there's another big factor: technology. Robots and machines are also replacing workers. The tech trend would have happened regardless of trade.
Still, manufacturing remains a key part of the U.S. economy. Over 12.3 million Americans are employed in the industry. But it's not the powerhouse it was.
In 1960, about one in four American workers had a job in manufacturing. Today fewer than one in 10 are employed in the sector, according to government data.
Call it the Great Shift. Workers transitioned from the fields to the factories. Now they are moving from factories to service counters and health care centers. The fastest growing jobs in America now are nurses, personal care aides, cooks, waiters, retail salespersons and operations managers.
Oh, and this . . .
$75 a day vs. $75,000 a year: How we lost jobs to Mexico
"This promise that we can reverse everything with the snap of a finger is a false siren," says economist Charles Ballard of Michigan State University.
One expert, Robert Scott at the Economic Policy Institute, estimates that the U.S. lost roughly 800,000 jobs to Mexico between 1997 and 2013. He cites NAFTA -- the North American Free Trade Agreement signed in 1993 -- as the key driver for job losses.
Before NAFTA, Mexico's government had restrictions on foreign companies and who they could hire. NAFTA nullified those rules and America's trade deficit with Mexico has ballooned -- meaning we're bringing in a lot more goods from Mexico than we're sending there. That's good for American consumers but bad for manufacturing workers.
"The agreement is a failure," says Scott. "We sign trade deals that encourage manufacturing firms to outsource jobs to other countries."
Cheaper labor, lower environmental standards and low export taxes -- or tariffs -- make Mexico an attractive place to move operations, not to mention that it's next door to America. Add on NAFTA -- the success of which is debatable -- and you can see why so many U.S. companies crossed the border. Almost every large U.S. manufacturer, from Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) to Procter & Gamble (PG) and Caterpillar (CAT) has production facilities in Mexico.
Aaaaaaand this . . .
Americans fear a life of 'dead-end crap jobs with crap wages'
"The anger is boiling over. Enough of the American people have got it through their heads that the American Dream is dead for us," says Jo-Ann, who lives in Pennsylvania. She requested that her last name be withheld for this article so it wouldn't impact her ongoing search for a better job.
The economy is the No. 1 issue on voters' minds even though America is growing, unemployment is incredibly low (4.9%) and gas is cheap.
"I thank God I don't have a kid. I don't know what I would tell them," she says. Her advice to young people is to skip college and learn a trade like plumbing that probably won't be shipped overseas. She supports Sanders. She agrees with him (and Trump) that trade deals like NAFTA are part of the problem.
Ricardo Bustamente has worked for years as a technician at Verizon. He's often told "do more with less." He's learned that means more work for him as others get laid off, but no extra pay.
"My biggest fear is that this country is going to become a nation of have and have nots. People at my level are slowing dying out," says Bustamente, who is about to turn 43 and has three kids.
He hasn't gotten a raise in almost 8 years, but his expenses keep going up. He drives a 10-year old car and his wife diligently clips coupons and buys items on sale.
"I'm literally making less money every year," he says. If he loses his job, his family might lose their house.
Bustamente likes a lot of what Sanders is saying, especially on making college and health care more affordable, but he doesn't think Congress would ever enact Sanders' policies. Still, he is glad Sanders entered the race and has influenced Hillary Clinton.
"Slowly but surely I see myself and others around me eroding. We're definitely not moving up. We're moving backward," he says.
Yeah. It's all in our head. The middle/working/poor are living like KINGS!!! Our homeless are the world's Larry Ellisons.
Sometimes, the tent is just too fucking big, and you know it.
Posted by HughBeaumont | Fri Apr 1, 2016, 01:04 PM (11 replies)
This isn't going to end well. AT all.
The success of "Rugged Individualism" depends on people with disposable income. Actually, the success of economics, period, depends on people with disposable income. It depends on customers with money coming through a door.
Take that away by the millions upon millions and what do you have?
Millions of starving and homeless people, that's what.
You think the banks, creditors, Republican politicians and Cold-War fighting America are going to stand for "I'm sorry, but what am I supposed to do? Everything's automated and I have no money to better myself through your expensive universities. Even if I did, where are the jobs? The CEOs offshored and fired everyone, still practice ageism and do more with less. What am I supposed to do??"?? Think they're going to accept that? "Fuck you, pay me." "I CAN'T!!!!!" "Fuck you, pay me!" And then you get jailed or shot, because that's how shit goes in America and it's not going to change. You're going to lose your roof and starve. That's what's going to happen.
I just love the online Buckminster Fullers that think this is going to lead to fair re-distribution of wealth, a guaranteed minimum income, a "clean start over". I JUST FUCKING LAUGH.
Where do you people think you live? Who runs America? Who supports those who run America?
What are you going to do, run for office? WITH WHAT MONEY??
You think you'd get support from THAT purchased media? You think you'd get support from the people still fighting the Cold War? Child, PLEASE.
Anyone thinks what I'm saying is bleak? Lotsa "hair on fire" paranoia? REALLY?? I'm RIGHT ON THIS, and you know I am. Deep down inside, you know that should the economic catastrophe of everything not nailed down being automated and offshored WON'T lead to a clean start, it's going to lead to mass homelessness and murders. Most likely a lot of y'all will be murdered, because the police and the military are nothing but lapdogs for the wealthy and will protect the wealthy at all cost and with blunt force. There'll be no revolt, there'll be slaughter.
"Fuck you, pay me". That's America. That's the America everyone voted for. Everyone thinks conservatives and their brand of "hand-ups, not hand-outs" economics is so fucking awesome. "Soshulism is grate untel u run outs of udder peeples money haw haw haw", right? Is that what they like to say? I say "Capitalism's awesome until you realize robots can't buy products". Inevitable conclusion, folks. Give the money to the non-caring and sociopathic Once-lers of the world, and this is what's going to happen.
Posted by HughBeaumont | Wed Mar 30, 2016, 01:00 PM (1 replies)
. . . . and then you wake up and realize we live in America, which is run by corporate-purchased politicians, where none of that is GOING to happen (no matter how desperately it NEEDS to happen).
The apparent solution on one side is a Guaranteed Minimum Income, which isn't going to happen in any of our lifetimes. Don't get me wrong, it's YEARS past time that it needs to happen. But the reality is, Paul Ryan controls the purse strings and Americans are, plain and simple, stupid bastards that like yelling with Fox News. So hoping that these voters will put the politicians in that will consider instituting GMI is like hoping the majority of our citizens will someday learn there's no value in demonizing concepts and people that aren't revolved around worshipping wealth.
(and before anyone says "well, Hugh, calling them 'stupid bastards' isn't going a long way of getting them on our side" YOU KNOW, WHATEVS. These people are grown adults; I don't have time to recalibrate the fuckered parts of their head, I have my own problems to deal with. If they want to believe bullshit fairy tales like trickle-up socialism will lead to the benefactors and handlers being more benevolent or an invisible sky daddy will make their lives better while blowin' up the Mooslims and Commies, that's on them, not me. If they want to believe they're better than someone because they're white, fuck them. They need to wake up, grow up and OWN up. Stop believing in religions; that includes their precious "free marketz". There's a start.)
The apparent "solution" on the other side is "well, you need to be less dependent on 'Uncle Sugar', make your OWN opportunities and start taking RISKS!" Um. OK. I'm so grateful for that sage piece of wisdom, Andrew Carnegie. That's about as helpful to me as saying "win the lottery" or "here's a pile of bricks, pipes and wood, build a house." In all actuality, attempting to win the lottery is less of a risk since I can recover $20 as opposed to $2000 or $20,000.
What will I sell? Who'll be the audience for that product? How will I manufacture it? How will I survive other people selling similar things? How do I compete with corporations that have me at a cost advantage from jump? Can I live with more periods of making no money vs. periods of making money (IF such periods come)? Will my net be as much as I'm making now (I can pretty much tell you the answer to that question . . . NO)? Sorry, I can't afford to move backwards in life; I'm not 22 years old any more, I have only NOW and these bills in front of me that aren't going away.
So . . . can anyone tell me why I should have any sort of hope for my kid's future success or my retirement prospects? Does anyone have any kind of solution that's going to WORK? Multiply economic regression by millions upon millions of citizens and, sorry to break this to you, you're going to have a heaping biblical problem on your hands that's likely going to turn bloody and ugly. If you're proposing every generation from now on will have to work until they're gurneyed out while throwing our kids to an economic environment that offers such minimal opportunity to succeed (with an enormous entrance fee, of course) . . . that's not much to look forward to. That's going to lead to cataclysm and murders. How can we avoid this?
"Wow, so much 'hair on fire'." Well, hey, what say you? You know I'm right about this. Every move we make has to be the right one. Keep making more stupid moves, America, and watch our kid's futures go over Niagara Falls.
Posted by HughBeaumont | Mon Mar 21, 2016, 09:29 AM (1 replies)
On CNBC every DAY, it seems . . . shilling for Theocrat Ted, circling the wagons on Kasuck.
Why can't cash-and-carry job destroyers who failed at politics just fade into the background?
How do we come to hatch people like Sarah Palin and Carly Fiorina?
Posted by HughBeaumont | Wed Mar 16, 2016, 10:46 AM (0 replies)