Every time our economy suffers, we always hear the same thing. We need to create new jobs. The thing that people do not realize is that for every new job we create, we lose others, and not only because of a bad economy, but because of the times we live in. Think of the number of telephone operators and receptionists that will be out of work because of automated answering services. With the tremendous increase in email, the postal profession might be in jeopardy. What about gas station attendants who used to help us pump gas? Today, most of us do it ourselves. Why do we need so many workers in a bank when we can all work an ATM machine? What’s going to happen when more of us shop online? You won’t see very many sales representatives in retail stores, and more stores will have to close. If we create more and more robots to clean our homes, the housecleaning profession will suffer. Even though I’m against it, stores now allow us to scan our own cards and use the cashier’s computer without the cashier doing it. So, why would we need cashiers? We might as well ring up our own purchases while we’re at it. So, how do we replace the jobs for all these people who are victims of technology as well as an economic collapse? Has anyone thought this through?
Another thing that bothers me is the deceptive unemployment rate. It’s been said time and time again that those of us who are out of work but no longer receive unemployment benefits are not part of the statistic. How is this fair? If I go out to dinner with nine people, and six of us are working, while the unemployment benefits for the other four people ran out, the surveyor who questions us will report that the unemployment rate is zero percent, because six out of six people are working. The other four do not count because their unemployment benefits expired. Sorry, pal. If I’m not working, I’m not working. It should be reported whether I get unemployment benefits or not. If I’m not working, it’s more than likely because there’s no job for me, which is something an economist needs to count.
(Originally published in my monthly newsletter, The Consumer Vision)
This essay was taken from my book, Weighing Things Up, Book Two, Essays on Trends, Technology, and Present-Day Society