Comments about ‘Productivity, job growth de-coupled’

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Published: Saturday, April 13 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

One thing the author neglected to add, in that since jobs are no longer dependent on local resources or physical assets, these new jobs can be done anywhere - literally. Geography no longer plays a significant role in the new jobs rise.

This factor alone has transformed the act of competing for a job from a local one, to a global competition. Some jobs will always be local.... home construction, nursing, etc.... but even in the medical field, your local radiologist that is reading your film may be hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.

Its a new game with new rules.

  • 8:51 a.m. April 13, 2013
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10CC
Bountiful, UT

Very thought-provoking article, and it mirrors concerns I have for how our economic, society and culture move forward.

The American Dream has historically been that if you work hard and play by the rules you can achieve a middle class lifestyle and get your kids to college. For a larger & larger segment of America, that dream is slipping away, because their means of providing that living are going away permanently, replaced by machines or moved offshore.

California just approved the standards for automatic cars, which have been operating in the Bay Area for several years. A lot of immigrants start life in America as taxi drivers, but we won't need 'em in the near future.

In terms of who gets the rewards of our economic system, the distribution of income is becoming far more sharply skewed than at any period since the 1920s. The 400 richest families in America possess more wealth than 50% of the public. Imagine playing a massive game of Monopoly with 32,000 people, except one person owns more than everyone else combined.

If you're really smart, you can make a ton of money without hiring people.

GK Willington
Salt Lake City, UT

I read somewhere that initially tech was supposed to eliminate lower end, blue collar type jobs.

Yet, there is still a need for cashiers and less need for stockbrokers. I fail to see how that is a bad thing.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

In reading more about the findings of McAfee and Brynjolfsson, the issue of technology displacing people will come to a head much quicker than anyone realizes.

The Radiologist jobs that are moving to India because Radiologists there make 10% of what it costs here, will themselves disappear as radiological analysis is automated. The IBM supercomputer Watson that smoked all the Jeopardy! contestants is being applied to medicine, with impressive results. We'll need far fewer physicians, who will become more like auto mechanics that review the computer's findings. Robotic surgery is getting better and better.

Accountants are rapidly being displaced by more sophisticated software, even a lot of journalistic work is on the cusp of being automated by artificial intelligence, which can create articles much more quickly and cheaply than humans.

When the low end factory jobs were automated or moved offshore, the affected workers had very little political power to do anything about it.

As engineering, medicine, accounting, law work and other middle-to-upper economic positions become obsolete, this issue will become much more acute, especially as the affected people multiply, and our kids struggle to find careers.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

GK Willington - Home Depot, Costco, and many more are going to self service checkout stands..... it's coming that direction too.

If you are not directly providing value a customer - your job will be at risk... or at least your level of income will be. Who would have thought checking into a flight would be as hands off as it is now. \

E & EE
Ann arbor, MI

@ 10CC

As a researcher in Machine Learning/Signal Processing I have to say your claims have quite a ways to go before they are realized. Specifically, the application of artificial intelligence in medical diagnosis is pretty new. Additionally, existing methods that are being applied are generally not quite sophisticated enough to get good results.

However, it is likely that many of your claims will be realized within the next ten to twenty years. Except computers will always need engineers to develop better algorithms.

GK Willington
Salt Lake City, UT

To U B D...

Perhaps the cashiers/stockbrokers analogy wasn't the best or well thought out. My point is cashiers will be more commonplace than stockbrokers. Why? Grocery shopping is more routine than currency, equity, & commodity trading.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Business is the personal property of the society. Society allows businessmen to have business operations that provide for the needs and desires of the society. If a business operation fails to accomplish the requirements of the society, it will be disallowed.

Our business operations are failing to provide for the redistribution of wealth necessary to keep the society alive. If we are to survive, a new set of rules must be set for business. A new way of distributing the wealth created by humans is needed rather than the simple pay for the job done.

Every technological advance, ever machine, every operating system, every recipe for every product was originally the product of human labor and no matter how many times it creates wealth for the businessman, the original creator only has his one time pay.

In keeping with the American creed, every person, every member of the American society owns and deserves a part of the wealth created by the business operations in America. We the people own our selves and the society we live in and the business we allow.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

The company I work for has record sales and is opening an new billion dollar factory in the US. But they also say that they aren't going to hire more people for the new factory. The rest f us just have to spread out, do more work and be happy we have a job. And we are.

This is going on all over the place. More work less people = higher productivity. No wonder that stress related illnesses are on the rise as well. Companies ARE literally killing people for higher profits.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

In the view of Karl Marx the process described herein will lead to the collapse of the entire capitalist system. He thought that capitalism would become so effecient that the demand for labor would begin to decline (just like the writer says). But because profit only comes from the exploitation of labor, there will come a collapse in profits. This will lead to the dual barreled collapse of the system - unemployment and no profits. For your consideration. But for the record, Marx, alone among economists would find none of what's going on surprising.

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