Well, there will ALWAYS be jobs for some, but as time goes by clearly there will be fewer.

The reason there will be fewer is due to something most of us normally think of as good: efficiency.

The signs are everywhere: the Post Office is overstaffed due to so much of what used to be done in snail mail being done online: we don't send letters by mail. No longer do we pay most bills by mail; we do it online or over the phone. And the rub is that we don't even pay for those services because we'd have Internet or phone service anyway, and when you're not paying, you're not subsidizing someone's employment.

Largely automated systems have eliminated many jobs. Craigslist has so few employees (about 25 as I understand it) that it almost runs on autopilot (ever wanted to talk to their customer service? don't bother: it really doesn't exist for any practical purpose). Think of all the employees of newspaper classified ad departments who no longer have jobs, and the revenue lost to those newspapers, which has forced some out of business, adding to unemployment, forcing the rest to cut back drastically on staff.

When I was young (I'm 65) automobiles and trucks were built by people on assembly lines. The only mechanical assistance was probably a small lift to lift heavy objects like motors, but the lift was still operated by a person. Today, the amount of actual human later going into the building of a car on assembly line is greatly limited, with much of the work being done by industrial robots.

One can only expect that this trend will continue because we will always want products to be cheaper.

So, as fewer and fewer people have jobs, who will be out there to buy them? If you stop to think about it, the trend is rather obviously unsustainable!

We can't continue to let the numbers of the unemployed to expand. At some point, the economy will become totally dysfunctional.

How do you think we will have to deal with this eventually.

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There was a SNL about 8 years ago concerning the other, more political derivations of 'i+x'.

I have a preference for iRag, iBomb, iShock & Awe. In our present economy iBeg, iDive, iForage, iRob, iOccupy.

The future might include iBoil, iWould, iWish, iVote-for Food..... 

The world IS without Jobs, he died, last year!

Really? I hadn't heard.

It's not just low-end jobs that are going by the wayside, putting already struggling people out of work. We can now see that technology is eliminating high-end jobs, too!

As if outsourcing, virtualization, utility computing, automation, hosted applications, and a recession weren't enough to stress out the average IT professional, there's the emerging threat of cloud computing to take away even more IT jobs. (source)

MIT economist David Autor "...says machines used to take over work that was physically hard or dangerous or just monotonous. But now, he says, we're losing higher-skill, better-paying jobs to machines — like bank tellers, airline check-in agents, accountants and whole floors of actuaries in insurance companies." (source)

Who uses travel agents or tax preparers anymore? Sure, some do, but there are lots of things we can do ourselves now using expertise written into clever computer software. Those used to be decent jobs, often well-paying jobs. Today only someone with special needs (or someone who is computer phobic) uses travel agents or tax preparers.

Sadly, many of the jobs we've lost aren't even driven by economic necessity or the need for efficiency. Case in point: pumping gas. Oregon and New Jersey require your gas to be poured by station attendants, and yet gasoline isn't particularly higher in either state than in adjoining states. This is done at the cost of jobs that used to be available to low-income people. In some ways, it just feels like being mean to people who are already down and out.

Anyone who denies that technology destroys jobs or drives workers to lower paying jobs is ignoring the rather obvious driver of the process: profitability demands ever cheaper and ever more efficient ways of earning the same dollar so that the most cents can be added to the profit line.

One way to reverse the trend might be for citizens to purchase stocks in 'job killing' corporations, as a way to level the playing field, and deduct this from taxes. But I expect the devil is in the details of such a plan/proposal. Over time we should see a terrible disconnect between citizens and corporations bottom line. As average income drops, this should affect purchasing power of citizens and a collapse of cash flow. Corporations treating the pool of citizens as a stripmine should have a limited future. 

Corporations can switch to selling big ticket items to the rich people who can afford them. The average person would just be out of such an economy, and that seems to be the trend.

"Anyone who denies that technology destroys jobs or drives workers to lower paying jobs"

Yes, we must bring back the horseshoers and ice cutters. Seriously though, 15 years ago you never sought the products of an app developer or buy internet access (which you use to tie up bandwidth on an atheist website). Tax preparers or travel agents may be quickly dying out, but there are thousands of people working for tax software development companies and online vacation booking search engines. Occupations are temporary, jobs are ever increasing.

I would be more interested in understanding what is underlying your angst and dystopic version of the current world which seem to go wholly missed on me and those I spend my time with.

Yes, Arcus, every technology creates new jobs,but fewer. You don't think that the out of work tax preparers are more than made up for by the developers of the software, or do you? And a good travel agent could make a lot of money. They have been replaced by automation and far fewer people writing the software or people working at near minimum wage in customer service boiler rooms.

You really don't see that, jobs mirror the wealth situation where unemployment is high and the middle class is slowly fading away with some becoming wealthy but most watching their incomes decline as they slide slowly toward poverty?

I think most people would say you have your head up your...er...sand.

RE: "I think most people would say you have your head up your...er...sand."

Was it Carnegie or Schwab who wrote, How To Win Friends and Influence People? Whichever it was, I'm almost positive that "I think most people would say you have your head up your...er...sand." was the title of one of the chapters --

I decided to be more gracious mid-sentence.

That's once in a row --

"Yes, Arcus, every technology creates new jobs,but fewer."

You have no evidence for this claim simply because it isn't true.

If you wish to take the absolutely most myopic view of the world, then yes;. Tax preparers and travel agents have been replaced with cheaper and better software, and now have to find other jobs they are qualified for. If they were replaced with other jobs on a person by person basis is doubtful, but rather uninteresting. On a less myopic basis, are there more programmers today than 100 years ago? Hasn't technology really been a net producer of jobs?

As for the service McJobs I agree that their salary should be higher, but that is a question of politics not the positions themselves. Your second paragraph may apply to the US for those without a college education, but again is mostly about political choices as other places in the world is able to combine a reasonably well off lower class with a thriving middle class (hint: it has to do with higher taxes for all).

Unemployment is only high in the profligate and sclerotic countries: Norway 3%, Switzerland 3.1%, South Korea 3.1%, Japan and Austria 4.5%, Netherlands 5.1%, Australia 5.2%, Germany 5.4% speaks to some economies sailing quite effortlessly thru the crisis. There is also substantial variations between US states, from 2.9% in ND to 11.6% in NV, which clearly shows differences in the states' success at job creation.

Your claim that there are less and worse jobs today than at some magical point in the past is ludicrous. Today's jobs are more plentiful, contain more variation, are less hazardous, and more easily accessible. 


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