Take this robot and shove it

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New at Reason: Who's worse, foreigners or machines? Ted Balaker looks at the history of job destruction and shows why layoffs now lead to more and better jobs in the future.

NEXT: Hitchens the Burkean—or Is That Hayekian?

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  1. I wonder how many jobs actually get killed outright by robots/technology? In my field, the Internet, new applications tend not to replace clerks/press officers but enable an organization to either do something it couldn’t afford to do earlier or to expand without adding staff.

    Not that there’s not some excellent press-kit stuffer sitting by the phone waiting for an interview somewhere that won’t be hired because of a press section of a Web site that I’ve done, but I’ve not seen a case where a current employee was let go afterward.

    Of course, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data,” nor is the plural of “no anecdotes” “data”.

  2. “Likewise, today’s third graders have no idea what’s in store for them.”

    I know, and I think it’s going to be great! They can sit back on their verandas and sip pina coladas while foreigners do grunt jobs:

    “We do envision that [the Bush amnesty/guestworker plan] would be open to any type of employee and any type of employer, such as nurses, teachers, high-tech workers, low-skilled workers. This is a concept that can apply broadly”

    Life is going to be so much better once Indians and Chinese are able to bid on American jobs on eBay.

  3. Eventually, Mexican robots will do jobs for less money than American robots (which will be made in Japan and programmed by Indian robots).

  4. > What is needed to help us out is government jobs and not just a living wage but a comfortable wage. I propose $50 an hour as the new minimum wage.

  5. What is needed to help us out is government jobs and not just a living wage but a comfortable wage. I propose $50 an hour as the new minimum wage.

    As for government jobs that would be easy. We could hire some people to dig holes and others to fill them. But we can improve on that. We could eliminate the cost of shovels by getting the government workers to just think about digging holes and filling them in. Of course we need to separate the people thinking about digging holes and those thinking about filling them in so that we do not eliminate some of the jobs by government ipmosition of efficiency standards. OTOH to slow global warming we could have the thinkers stay home and just think about being at the job site digging holes and filling holes.

    At $50 an hour these workers will not have to buy foreign goods and soon all Americans will be rich.

    You have to wonder why no one has thought of this before.

  6. A Something Awful reference, I’m impressed. Remember, the robots are here to protect you.

  7. Why is it that no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, people always seem to fall back to believing that there’s some sort of finite number of jobs? That’s not the way the economy has EVER worked, at even the most basic of levels. You can “destroy” jobs all day long with technology and outsource all night long to India and you can still end up with MORE jobs at home.

    Just think for a moment how many jobs have been outsourced or destroyed through the 20th century. Think of how many goods switched over to being made in Japan, China, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, etc. Think of how many goods and services started relying more on automation than manual labor. Did our economy fall into the gutter during the 20th century? Did we become poorer? Were people with jobs whittled down to a smaller and smaller fraction of the population?

    In every case, the exact opposite was the result. Quit bellyaching about your jobs being destroyed by technology or being outsourced overseas. Decades from now people will look back on you in the same way they look back on angry telegraph operators or steamboat deck hands.

  8. Well, you know, those sneaky immigrants don’t create any jobs, because they don’t need to buy anything. They live on a glass of water a day and a steady diet of evil intentions.

  9. Robert: They create jobs in medicine, funeral services, counseling, and security when they decide to detonate their nail-laden vests. All immigrants are terrorists, as some treat them.

  10. My personal whoo-ha on this subject is the memory of entering the eighth grade in 1960. We were late moving to San Antonio, and to build a schedule I was forced into taking “Junior Business Training,” which for half the year translated into learning how to type. (For you new folks, the modern term is “keyboarding.”)

    The counselor apologized profusely to my parents and me, since being college-bound I would eventually get a white-collar job with a secretary. Therefore I would obviously never need to know how to type.

    Today, of course, such counselors are telling students they no longer need to know how to spell or construct understandable sentences.

  11. Bob: Robot pride?

  12. EMAIL: nospam@nospampreteen-sex.info
    IP: 212.253.2.205
    URL: http://preteen-sex.info
    DATE: 05/21/2004 06:04:55
    [In] mourning, it is better to err on the side of grief than on the side of formality.

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