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Author Topic: Artificial Intelligence: Why The Jobs Are Not Coming Back Back to Topics
SemiSteve

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Tampa

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Message Posted: Apr 17, 2013 1:07:58 PM

Here's an older article in MJ which points out a troubling fact. The number of employed people in the US did not peak in 2007. It peaked in 2000. It wasn't the recession that took the jobs. They have been declining in number since 2000.

Mother Jones

Computers and robots have been stealing American jobs for a long time. That trend shows no sign of reversal. What's worse, it shows every sign of increasing. It appears that we have already reached a peak in employment numbers.

The recession was an added impact on the trend that was already taking place anyway.

We may be 10 or 20 years from seeing artificial intelligence reach a point that machines can replace significant numbers of workers - the vast majority of our workforce. When that happens other remaining jobs will see increased competition from applicants and increased downward pressure on pay scale.

Taxi drivers, postal and newspaper delivery and truck drivers could be replaced by driverless vehicles in 10 years. That's 2.5 million workers. Manufacturing stands to take a big hit. Even more workers. Even such jobs as doctors and CEOs could be automated. More and higher education may not guarantee there will be work for all; as we have already seen.

The result of all this would be that most of America will have no employment or vast underemployment. Only those with access to capital will have much money and the rest will be low paid or on the dole. The majority of voters will want to increase taxes on capital to pay for redistribution. Holders of capital will resist.

Corporations will experience loss of profits if consumers don't have enough income to purchase products.

It appears that automation will not make our lives easier but rather more complicated.

Artificial Intelligence
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: May 1, 2013 9:28:42 AM

"e_jeepin: Our nation is running out of qualified workers because drug impaired people is on the rise!"

Background checks disqualify far more job seekers than drugs.

Something like 1 in 4 or 5 Americans have a criminal record!

To add insult to injury, many more have something negative that shows up in a web search, or search of online newspaper archives.

Recently I was giving an estimate at an automotive repair shop when several unemployed customers were complaining that two local manufacturers are hiring, however they didn't apply as they drug test, plus run background checks.

Apparently they're all pot smokers, plus have criminal records.

Then another customer chimed in and said he was fired for failing a random drug test at one of the manufacturers, plus his girlfriend was fired from a drug store job for failing a drug test.
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: May 1, 2013 9:15:11 AM

"mudtoe: This is why people started having attorneys represent them at the hearings, because your property taxes, by law, are supposed to be based upon the market value of the property, not upon the words of some representative of the local school district who is trying to say that because they need the money you should have to pay more taxes than the market value of your property would require."

The last time I was able to lower any of my assessments to "market value" without a fight was in the mid 90s.

Many urban regions are desperate as they lost much of their tax base since there was a mass exodus of people and businesses moving to the surrounding suburbs, towns, villages and semi-rural areas and/or out of state, plus little new construction, expansion, renovation etc.Our taxes are very high in urban regions with many rental units, tax exempt properties, poor, disabled, elderly, unemployed, under-employed, welfare recipients etc as New York is one of a few states with unfunded state mandates paid for via property taxes. Medicaid alone consumes more than half the tax levy in many regions!

The towns, villages, cities, counties and school systems basically calculate how much money they need/want, then adjust tax rates and assessments accordingly. They know many won't grieve their assessments and many won't use attorneys to fight their assessments.

During the housing bubble many of my assessments actually doubled and some almost quadrupled, however I had to fight to lower my assessments remotely close to market value post bubble.

We had a large state agency in one region that didn't pay their taxes for many years, so they really socked it to local residents, especially lakefront homeowners.

They raised the assessment on one of my lakefront homes from 320K to 1.2 million during the bubble thus raising the taxes to around 30K per year at peak.

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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: May 1, 2013 9:03:57 AM

"mudtoe: Interesting. So what you are saying is that the average value of an apartment complex per resident is a lot smaller than the average value of a house per homeowner, and consequently the average real estate tax assessment buried in each tenant's rent is less as compared to if they owned a home. That does make sense. Is the tax rate per $100,000 of value on an apartment complex the same as for an individual house?"

---Many commercial apartment complexes have reduced assessments, they're taxed at a lower rate, or have fixed payment schedules in lieu of taxes.

Some that offer X amount of affordable units pay very little in taxes and/or they're tax exempt.

Nobody would build a new development in many regions without tax breaks as they'd be killed by our high property taxes on the assessed value of new commercial structures. Our tax rates are $40 to $50 plus per $1,000 of assessed value in many regions.

Most of our rental units in many regions are privately owned multi-family homes that are taxed at the same rate as similar single family homes, however many of the multi-family homes are very old homes in rough shape due to lack of maintenance, repairs and upgrades, so their assessments are much lower.

Generally speaking, the more units - the rougher the condition and the lower the assessment.


[Edited by: MarkJames at 5/1/2013 9:04:49 AM EST]
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 5:04:07 PM

SS: "The local government would now be correct to increase the millage rate on every property in the district to cover what they are no longer getting from Duke Energy."


That's incorrect. The local government has no such authority or discretion. If the school district wants more money, they have to convince voters in the school district to vote for a higher millage. The school district did try four times (twice each year) to get more money. At first they were really greedy and tried to get a levy passed that would have resulted in them receiving more money than they lost from the power plant. That levy was defeated in a landslide. Six months later they tried to get the same amount as they lost from the power plant, and that also was defeated handily. They tried two more times, each time with a lesser amount, and finally on the fourth try they got a levy passed which raised property taxes about only about a quarter of what they were originally trying for.


mudtoe
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 4:30:47 PM

The people need to pay for their schools either way.

In one case they were paying energy bills which were inflated due to an overvalued assessment. But Duke energy was not keeping the extra money - they were paying the higher tax bills reflected by the incorrect assessment.

In the other case, and let's hope this is the way it turned out, when Duke energy got their new assessment they were able to lower everyone's energy bills because they no longer had to collect excess taxes. So now the energy customers have a lower power bill but the schools still have to get paid for. The local government would now be correct to increase the millage rate on every property in the district to cover what they are no longer getting from Duke Energy. So the average property owner could then use the savings from their reduced power bill to pay their higher taxes for a net zero.

I would not be surprised to learn, however, that Duke never lowered anybody's power bill and simply pocketed the difference; and then gave the executives a raise and a bonus for doing such a great job of shafting the customers, the local government and the kids who need to get an education.
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 4:20:07 PM

SS: "What I got out of that story? Duke energy shafted the local schools."


Actually it was the reverse. The county was shafting Duke Energy and all the customers who bought power from that Duke Energy plant (via extra costs being passed along), because they were inflating the property taxes on the plant. The law authorizes the county to collect property taxes based upon the market value of a property, and not a penny more, regardless of what the entities receiving that tax revenue plead about being destitute (have you ever heard of any government entity saying that they are anything but underfunded?). If the power plant was being fairly appraised, then Duke Energy would not have won the court case. If my property was being fairly appraised I would not have won my challenge to my property taxes either.

What this shows is a pattern of abuse on the part of the county, which is inflating the value of properties in order to rake in more tax revenue. The people running the county are hoping that people aren't paying attention to their property tax bills, as they will back down when confronted by hard evidence (i.e. an appraisal obtained by the property owner, at their own expense BTW), but otherwise they are more than happy to keep overcharging inattentive property owners.


mudtoe

[Edited by: mudtoe at 4/30/2013 4:22:55 PM EST]
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noseatbelt
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 4:02:26 PM

harder drugs, are out of the system within a few days, but, how long can a user go without a fix? From every thing, I've read, and heard on line and the news, many of them can't make it a few hours, let alone days without a fix.
i had the bad luck, to work with someone who smoked pot, he was able to keep it well hidden, and of course he didn't think it affected how he did his job, up to the day when in a stupor, he lost his hand in a press. My son in law smoked pot before he married my daughter, he is clean now, but he says anyone that doesn't think smoking pot, affects their driving, and there work, have their head in the sand.
iv'e know a few alcoholics, and most of them were never completely sober.

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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 3:22:07 PM

What I got out of that story?

Duke energy shafted the local schools.

They bought a plant that was paying taxes which contributed to the education of the children of the people who were paying for the energy. The energy prices included the portion of the tax that was going to the school board. Duke energy fought the assessment so they could pay less taxes. Now I have to wonder. Were the energy bills sent out to all those customers lowered to reflect the reduced taxes Duke was paying? Or did they simply continue to collect the same rates on their energy and pocket the difference? That would not surprise me in the least. What responsibility does a big energy corporate executive feel for the education of local children vs the chance to increase profits? I am just going to take a wild guess here. None.

If that is the case then we can add this one to the list of heartless corporations proving that they are not people.
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 2:31:51 PM

mj: "Landords cost other property tax payers a small fortune as taxes are based on assessed value of the property, not actual costs of tenants to the city, county, town, village, school system etc."


Interesting. So what you are saying is that the average value of an apartment complex per resident is a lot smaller than the average value of a house per homeowner, and consequently the average real estate tax assessment buried in each tenant's rent is less as compared to if they owned a home. That does make sense. Is the tax rate per $100,000 of value on an apartment complex the same as for an individual house?

I know that how property taxes are actually assessed is very different than what they are supposed to be (the true value of the property). A few years ago, after the housing meltdown, I challenged my property taxes because my house was still appraised at about the same as before the meltdown, which was far more than I could ever sell it for at the time. I had to pay for an appraisal, which valued my property at about 25% less than what the county had it valued, and I ended up having an attorney file the paperwork and represent me at the hearing because of all the monkey business going on about denying challenges.

I live in a basically rural township and school district. The school district had for decades been subsisting largely upon the property taxes on a power plant along the Ohio river, which was the only large thing of value in the district. About 10 years ago, after Duke Energy bought out Cinergy and took ownership of the power plant, they challenged the valuation of the power plant in court as they believed the county had been continually overvaluing the property. The court case took about 5 years, but in the end Duke Energy won, and the valuation of the property was cut almost in half, which of course resulted in a huge cut in property taxes and money flowing into the school district.

When the housing meltdown occurred, and property values were not reappraised to reflect market conditions, many property owners, especially those who owned expensive houses or businesses, started challenging their property taxes. The school district responded by sending a representative to these hearings, if the value of the property being challenged was worth their time, with the purpose of trying to talk the county auditor into denying the challenge. Their reason for asking for the denial had nothing to do with disagreeing with the valuation of the property; instead they claimed that the school district was in desperate shape because of the loss of the power plant tax revenue and couldn't afford any more loss of revenue.

This is why people started having attorneys represent them at the hearings, because your property taxes, by law, are supposed to be based upon the market value of the property, not upon the words of some representative of the local school district who is trying to say that because they need the money you should have to pay more taxes than the market value of your property would require. Once the school district found out that an attorney would be representing the property holder at the hearing they were far less likely to attend themselves, as they knew their argument had no basis in law. Fortunately for me they didn't show up at my hearing, and my property taxes got lowered by 25%. Unfortunately, I lost a good part of my first year's savings in having to pay for the appraisal and the attorney, but it was still worth it in the end.

Bottom line is that property value appraisals, at least here in Ohio, can be easily influenced by things other than market value, and as a property owner you have to be vigilant about making sure you aren't being screwed.


mudtoe
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e_jeepin
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 2:08:02 PM

"Pre-employment drug tests are a ridiculous scam. They only reveal if somebody smoked cannabis."

google 5 panel drug screen (then 10 panel). Opiates, heroin, meth, etc etc the list is long.

Cannabis is the least of their concerns and small trace PPM is considered passing.

Liberals continue to tell us that marijuana is no big deal, smoke one for breakfast (for pain of course) and hop on that forklift -- its your civil right ya know!!!!

screw your co-workers who play by the rules -- your rights to smoke dope trumps their right to not get injured by an impaired moron.

Our nation is running out of qualified workers because drug impaired people is on the rise!
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 1:33:25 PM

Speaking of rentals, large scale landlords like myself have definitely had an impact on the work available for builders, tradesmen, subs, helpers, suppliers etc as it has slowed the demand for new construction and renovation.

So much in fact that there's a ban on multi-unit construction in a region where I own 35 rental units.

What's happening is that many are renting rather than buying/buliding/renovating/expanding homes, plus many existing landords are losing tenants to newer, or better rentals.

Since we have some of the highest property tax rates in the nation, there's a huge property tax advantage to renting since property taxes are divided 4/5/6 plus ways in most of my multi-unit rental properties.

Landords cost other property tax payers a small fortune as taxes are based on assessed value of the property, not actual costs of tenants to the city, county, town, village, school system etc.

In some regions slumlords, out of area landlords and low income landlords are responsible for destroying many neighborhoods.
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 12:41:03 PM

SS: "Rental property does not ruin the economy by putting millions out of work and creating a vast unemployment problem. "


So in your world my right of ownership of personal property should be less if I own a machine that makes widgets (in lieu me hiring people to make widgets) than it is if I own a piece of rental property? The "lessness" being that while I'm entitled to all the profits from my rental property, I'm not entitled to all the profits from my widget making machine?

Would my property rights in my rental property be less, say if it were a condo on a ski slope, and I bought one of those automatic vacuum cleaner things to clean the floors between renters and fired one of the housekeepers I used to hire to do the floors?


mudtoe

[Edited by: mudtoe at 4/30/2013 12:46:01 PM EST]
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 12:29:39 PM

Pre-employment drug tests are a ridiculous scam. They only reveal if somebody smoked cannabis. Harder drugs go out of the system within days. And alcoholic can sober up long enough to take a pee test.

Knowing whether somebody took a toke within the last few weeks, or was recently at a party or concert where there was enough second-hand smoke to register does not really give any indication as to whether that person is a good worker or not.

How is that really any different from knowing that they had a beer last week?

It is obvious that you do not fully understand the implications of AI. This is not going to be like single-purpose machines of the past. These machines will learn and adapt. They will replace so many workers that there will not be enough new jobs for them all.

Nobody has said what jobs will be there for the 2.5 MILLION drivers who will be replaced when driverless vehicles begin doing deliveries and hauling. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.

When AI really comes into it's own it will happen fast. Seems like we have been chasing it for a long time but all of a sudden there are going to be some very smart machines and robots out there and LOTS of traditional jobs are going away.

If we leave this up to the greedy capitalists they will figure out how to eliminate labor with it. That is going to be a huge problem. It will not be solved with a rehash of the old ways. There will not be enough jobs as we currently define them. Period.

A shorter work week is inevitable.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 12:18:30 PM

Sorry to leave you out, mudtoe. Of course I will answer your question. And naturally you will not like my answer.

" How is it any different if I own a piece of rental property versus owning a machine?"

--Rental property does not ruin the economy by putting millions out of work and creating a vast unemployment problem.
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 12:14:18 PM

"But we have a nation full of all kinds of workers. If only the best can have jobs where does that leave the rest of nation? How are all those ordinary workers and less-than-exemplary would-be workers going to contribute to the economy if they don't deserve to have jobs? Or will they simply be destined to be a burden for the rest? Shall the best and the brightest pull the weight for the rest?"

One business's low performers are another business's average, or above average performers. No, I'm not kidding.

We've fired many workers that were too slow, couldn't multitask, made too many mistakes etc, however they had no problems finding another job, or two.

Our economy has added more unskilled and low skilled jobs than ever, many which are unfilled, or have high turnover, so it's easier than ever for the uneducated, unskilled and low skilled to find work.

Competition for jobs (after pre-employment culling) in many regions is low as many can't pass background checks, drug tests, DMV checks, aptitude tests, physical fitness assessments and/or they don't own a vehicle, have no driver's license, won't work various hours/days/shifts, out-of-town, on the road etc.
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 12:05:03 PM

I75: "Socialists seem to think otherwise. "


I noticed that I received no response from SS on my question. I think he realized that he let another socialist, or even communist, bone fall from his closet with his comment.


mudtoe
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 12:03:57 PM

From sgm's link: "April’s Harper’s Index reports that only 42% of American women believe they have a personal responsibility to help the poor. The report is even more disappointing for American men. Only 27% believe they have a personal responsibility to help the poor. The source for these statistics is Environics Research. "

--I always get a strange feeling when I (an atheist) give to the local Metropolitian Ministries. I don't do it to support their preaching. I do it because they provide a resource for the needy. They feed a hungry person a meal for $1.67. They help when paycheck-to paycheck families lose income and are struggling to navigate the complex government assistance red tape. They help them find shelter for weeks at a time until they, too, can become another sad dole statistic left in the wake of heartless capitalism.

And to think that some of those one percenters could support an entire year's worth of MM budget without blinking an eye is just sad. Add to that the thought that their policies of greed caused much of the despair just makes me that much less impressed with what they think is healthy capitalism.

Add to that they thought that if everyone gave a little we could easily double or triple the program. And it still would be running at capacity.

Doesn't anyone have the thought that they could just as easily be in the same predicament? Wouldn't they want to be helped when in need? One does not need to believe in God to understand the logic of the golden rule.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 11:52:20 AM

MarkJames: "When we've eliminated many workers for numerous economic reasons, we've generally eliminated the least valuable workers - the low performers, low skilled, slow learners and single skilled.

We generally move the multi-skilled, fast learners and physically fit workers to other positions within the business, or at another business.

If they had marketable skills we actually created other jobs for many of them."

--But we have a nation full of all kinds of workers. If only the best can have jobs where does that leave the rest of nation? How are all those ordinary workers and less-than-exemplary would-be workers going to contribute to the economy if they don't deserve to have jobs? Or will they simply be destined to be a burden for the rest? Shall the best and the brightest pull the weight for the rest?
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 11:47:56 AM

AC-302: "What is a company supposed to do with extra workers?"

--What I am saying is that needed tasks are divided up amongst the workers making all jobs less demanding. The work week gets reduced and people get more leisure time with the same pay. Now THAT is a future worth looking forward to.

Or we could leave it as is. A FEW get work until their duties are also automated. The rest get unemployment for a while, then ultimately become homeless. And those who think they are safe from automation may not be when artificial intelligence is fully realized. Then THEY can join the homeless as well.

Reducing workforce is great for company profits in the selfish sense of only thinking about company profits for that one company. But when you put this kind of thinking on a large scale it doesn't work. Then we get far too many would-be workers finding no work or reduced-pay reduced-benefits jobs that do nothing but increase inequality and reduce consumer buying power.

How is an economy supposed to run on fewer and fewer active consumers?

Artificial intelligence is not like older single-purpose machines. The new systems will be able to adapt and learn, figure out what needs to be done next.

CEO's could even find their job going poof.

I don't see any giant wave of new jobs on the horizon big enough to absorb all who will be displaced by this advance. It is time to take a really good look at the work week and the definition of a job in relation to larger consumerism. That is if we want an economy in the AI automated future.
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sgm4law
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 11:43:34 AM

I guess people really don't care.
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sgm4law
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 10:16:57 AM

<<And when they were new, they put folks out of a job, or allowed them to re-deploy to other tasks. If the workers are skilled workers, they will and should be redeployed. If they are unskilled or semi-skilled, then it maybe "goodbye and good luck.">>

This is a larger problem for society. What are we supposed to do with all the unskilled people who cannot find jobs in our "new" economy? Do we really want them all to just go away? Starve to death? What is supposed to be done with them? If we do what they did in Charles Dickens's time, we'll create a whole underclass of criminals--are we headed that way already (I'm sure some people do)? Why does this tremendous waste of humanity not seem to bother conservatives?
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I75at7AM
Champion Author Dayton

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 8:46:22 AM

Mudtoe, I will attempt to share my experiences trying to figure out the Socialist mindset. It goes like this.
They believe that the worker produces the goods for the capitalist (business owner) and therefore are entitled to a share of the worth of those goods. (I am okay with this as the worker is paid wages for their contribution). If the capitalist makes a large profit and buys additional machinery or other productive assets, the worker has an inherent right to share in the ownership of the new assets and the profit that can be earned by those new assets. (I am okay with this to the extent that the employer offers stock ownership to employees)

Other than the just compensations I mentioned above, the worker has no right or expectation to any additional gain from their employment. Socialists seem to think otherwise.
One other thing, an employee does get "experience" from their work, and that can be very valuable to that person as they go forward.

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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 8:18:11 AM

When we've eliminated many workers for numerous economic reasons, we've generally eliminated the least valuable workers - the low performers, low skilled, slow learners and single skilled.

We generally move the multi-skilled, fast learners and physically fit workers to other positions within the business, or at another business.

If they had marketable skills we actually created other jobs for many of them.
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 1:17:20 AM

SS: '"It's MY machine!" cries the business owner, "So I get ALL the profits from it."'


So even though she bought the machine with her own money, she's not entitled to all the profits the machine might make for her? How is it any different if I own a piece of rental property versus owning a machine? Am I also not entitled to all the profits from my rental property?

Please enlighten me.


mudtoe
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Apr 29, 2013 10:50:31 PM

SemiSteve said: "I completely agree. How it gets implemented is where we disagree. I say this is wonderful. We have created these wonderful new machines that can do our work for us. Now we don't have to work as hard and we can still enjoy the same income or even greater because the machines work even harder and with more precision than the workers who used to perform those functions. The new machines are more productive than the workers so profits can increase. This should allow employers to pay their workers more and require them to do less."

--I mentioned that I recently learned how to service and program a piece of automated assembly equipment that is probably worth, oh, $300K or maybe a bit more. We have 6 of those pieces. And when they were new, they put folks out of a job, or allowed them to re-deploy to other tasks. If the workers are skilled workers, they will and should be redeployed. If they are unskilled or semi-skilled, then it maybe "goodbye and good luck." What is a company supposed to do with extra workers? Are they supposed to keep them busy sweeping floors while and expensive machine does their job? The whole point of time to payback is that the machine replaces expensive hand labor. If the labor isn't needed for something else, then it goes away.

Should we still be making buggy whips by the thousands, even though there aren't that many buggies left? (and yes, I know the Amish make them and use them) By the standard you're using, we ought to be making unneeded and obsolete products simply as a job creation program. Technology moves forward, and you can't stop it, Steve. No matter how strongly you decry that, and that it's somehow immoral to ever lay off a worker for any reason, your "wish" doesn't fit with reality. Deny it all you want, but it's happening and its still going to happen. The best thing you can do is not to wish against reality, but to acknowledge it, and to figure out how to best RE-EMPLOY people, or retrain them to be competitive in today's market. I'm finding that I may have to go back to school and learn computer programming in Linux and C in order to stay competitive. So be it. That, or possibly an MBA. Or should I expect to pull down a big salary just for being a "good guy"?
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Apr 29, 2013 1:48:53 PM

-chuckling-

Good one, sgm.

But seriously. I guess all those predictions about the future and how automation was going to make our lives so much easier with machines to do everything leaving us with more leisure time forgot to consider how greed would factor into how these marvelous advancements are used.

'Hey. Thanks for creating this fantastic machine which will now do your old job. You're fired. Have a nice life. OK. You can leave now and don't ever come back.'
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sgm4law
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Apr 29, 2013 1:21:52 PM

<<And they have the nerve to call themselves job-creators!>>

Well, nobody said they were creating jobs for humans.
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SemiSteve
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Apr 29, 2013 11:53:38 AM

"mechanization and automation is the way of the future. "

--I completely agree. How it gets implemented is where we disagree. I say this is wonderful. We have created these wonderful new machines that can do our work for us. Now we don't have to work as hard and we can still enjoy the same income or even greater because the machines work even harder and with more precision than the workers who used to perform those functions. The new machines are more productive than the workers so profits can increase. This should allow employers to pay their workers more and require them to do less.

But that's not the way things are being implemented.

"It's MY machine!" cries the business owner, "So I get ALL the profits from it."

--Which is really just another way of saying IGMTHWY, (I got mine, the heck with you.)

And they have the nerve to call themselves job-creators!
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noseatbelt
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Apr 25, 2013 5:54:09 PM

AC, have you ever watched the program on the history chanel about henry ford? It put him into a different light. It sounded like ol henry was a ruthless business man, and not the saint steve and others make him out to be..
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 25, 2013 11:32:29 AM

Speaking of competition, much of the automation and demand for higher performance from fewer workers is due to the nature of highly competitive high volume/low margin businesses.

Competition in many industries is brutal, so many less productive competitors have gone out of business, or gone belly up.

Two of our well paid customers were just given notice that they and about 30 others are getting the axe as their employer has to cut costs to remain competitive.

Many other positions were eliminated through attrition.
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Apr 25, 2013 10:57:02 AM

SemiSteve - sure, when Ford started Ford Motor Company, he paid is workers the exhorbitant sum of $5/day. Was Ford a humanitarian? Hardly. He wanted to create a middle class of people who could and would afford his cars. He also wanted the "cream of the crop" in terms of good workers. Also, if Henry Ford was such a saint, why didn't he allow his workers to unionize? And why did he resist unionization when it did occur? Eventually that $5/day wage didn't keep up anymore. You're not telling anyone THAT part. Or did you not KNOW that part of the story?

Again, mechanization and automation is the way of the future. And there is nothing that is going to stop that. Hand assembly isn't necessarily better. Automation, if done right, is more consistant and more accurate (and usually faster) than any human ever could be. So for repetitive tasks, it's the only way to go. If you want good quality, that is.
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Apr 25, 2013 10:56:28 AM

AC-302: "... it seems like you're ..."

--This is usually where you go wrong. And as happens so frequently you have misread my posts. I am all for technology and work-saving advances.

But where are they leading us and how are we using them?

They are leading us to a dilapidated economy because we are automating so much that we have more workers than jobs under the present definition of a job.

We are using automation to make a select few (those who own the machines) very rich and cutting out everyone else.

It makes far more sense for humans to be organized about this and share the benefits of automation. Now that we have machines to do much of our work that should free us up so we have more leisure time. Or does that make too much sense?

By eliminating too many jobs we are wrecking our economy. How does that make any sense at all. It doesn't. We, as a nation, need a master plan and an organization to implement it. That organization is our self-government. And this topic is exactly why we need a mixture of capitalism and socialism. Because raw unabated capitalism is going to lead to an end-point where a few have all the money and the many have nothing.

Selfishness and greed are not the best principles on which to base an economy.
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Apr 25, 2013 10:47:45 AM

nsb: "... no one, in their right mind is going to keep workers they don't need. It might be a great feel good plan, but it isn't a good business plan."

--And I presume no one in their right mind would simply double the pay of their workers just to ensure that they were happy to stay and that they could participate in increased consumerism.

But then there is this whole company called the Ford Motor Company which was begun by someone who did exactly that. Seems like that worked out pretty well, now didn't it?
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teacher_tim
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Message Posted: Apr 25, 2013 8:27:32 AM

Steve said,
"--OK, let's say I own that business and I get machinery that makes it possible to have increased output with only half the workers. Increased output means more profits. I could keep everybody on with the same benefits and pay, reduce their work week, and STILL increase my profits. Because my production level went up.

Why would I do such a thing?"

Why indeed? Unless you are the sole provider of this product on the planet, someone else will get the same technology and will reduce their most expensive fixed cost, their employees' salaries and benefits, including rising healthcare costs. They will then sell their product for less, while keeping the same profit as YOUR company, and people will buy the product from THEIR company because it costs less.

The result is that YOUR company fails to make a profit and 100% of your employees are jobless when the doors close. Also, your premise is that the "increased output" is sellable at the same price. Supply and demand dictate that MORE of something REDUCES the price, due to abundance vs. scarcity. If you happen to have a unique product that is in increasing demand which you can't keep up with, your scenario might work. There aren't many products like that. You, uh, haven't run a successful business in real life, have you? It sounds all compassionate and doable in theory, but is impractical in real life, sort of like the Occupy Wall Street rep who wanted to start a bank which gave interest-free loans.
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 25, 2013 8:07:22 AM

The underground cash/barter market keeps growing, and growing, and growing...

We can't hire many subs and helpers since they'll only work for cash/barter without plans, permits, inspections, receipts, warranties etc.

Many are working without insurance, licenses, certifications etc.

Many are also collecting unemployment, disability, welfare and/or they're side jobbers, so they'll generally work out of town, indoors, nights and weekends to avoid detection.We've fired several workers in the last year alone that were working side jobs and poaching customers, plus reported several others working illegally.

The same applies to customers. Many customers want a "cash deal". We lose many jobs since the customers hire contractors, tradesmen or handymen that work for cash or barter.

Many are also bartering as they have limited/zero savings/credit/equity yet have some things of value that are tough to sell quickly at a fair price.



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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Apr 25, 2013 12:01:27 AM

btc: "anyone ever thought about the move to cash, under the table, jobs. I think they have increased."


I agree. And Obamacare is going to accelerate that even more because it works like a tax. Make just a little and Obamacare is subsidized for you. Make more, and it's not. Given the 40-80% increase coming to many of our premiums next year, especially the self employed, having Obamacare subsidized for you isn't going to be chump change. Therefore it acts just like a high marginal tax rate on what otherwise would be considered middle class income. This will encourage people with skills that lend themselves to one on one transactions, either for cash, or a barter of one service for another (e.g. the orthodontist puts braces on the accountant's kid in return for having his taxes done), to work under the table. It won't be just manual laborers cutting grass or working at a construction site; it will also be professionals whose skills are marketable to other professionals on a one to one basis.


mudtoe



[Edited by: mudtoe at 4/25/2013 12:04:15 AM EST]
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 11:14:43 PM

noseatbelt has it right, Steve. And that's the part you're not getting. Here, now. I have family in Europe. The family over there only work 35h/week. Why? Because by working 35 hours rather than 40 or 40+, that represents a job creation program. A company NOW needs 8 people where 7 would have done it before ~ 15% decrease in worker efficiency! And they also get like 5 - 6 weeks of vacation every year, the day they start a job. Why? That also represents an ~8 - 10% DECREASE in efficiency - requiring more workers. But then again, EU has very heavy taxes to help pay for their social welfare bureaucracy. I think nobody here wants that, not even you from what you've said in the past (poor farms and all..).

Recently at my company, I made a point of learning a particular high-precision machine. Some other folks were offered, but I made a point of learning it - now one of only 4 people in the company to learn that particular technology. I'm hoping it will land me a job either with my current situation, or with another. This machine, and ones like it, put a whole bunch of folks out of work about 20 - 25 years ago. It virtually ended hand assembly of some pieces.

Surface mount electronics wouldn't be possible without automation. The only reason you don't use pick and place machines is if you're doing a small run of prototypes. For that, its cheaper to simply hand build, rather than putting time into programming. Then again, they've even automated some of the programming from the autocad or solidworks files.

But again, it seems like you're decrying the technology moving forward. Sorry, Steve. But we are becoming a more high-tech economy and society. Gone are the days of wire and component TV and radio sets, and armies of hand assemblers (btw - this was a family business of my own family in the '50s. One of my relatives refused to move to Japanese manufacture like everyone else did. He wanted to continue to use '30s technology (wires, busses, tubes) to build consumer electronics. Because of the shift to printed circuit boards (single layer or two sided, at the time), and his refusal to make it, we lost the business. If we would have made the shift in the '50s or '60s, we would have been well placed in the '70s, and would have been able to sell the business, and I'd be as rich as Rockefeller! Pity, that my relative in charge couldn't see it, even though my Dad told him so). By not making the shift, the business lost out and eventually folded. And that's what companies do. They adapt or die. It seems to me that you decry this in the name of humanitarianism. Should companies go bankrupt on principal?
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noseatbelt
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 4:25:23 PM

Steve, you make no sense what so ever, no one, in their right mind is going to keep workers they don't need. It might be a great feel good plan, but it isn't a good business plan.

Why don't you start a new business, and put your theories to work, and let us know how long you are able to keep the doors open?
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 4:14:43 PM

noseatbelt: "steve, let's say you own a business, that employs 200 people, are you trying to tell us, that even if you automated your factory and didn't need as many people, that you would keep the now un needed people on at less hours, but still pay them the same, plus keep their benefits the same? That makes about as much sense, as trowing gasoline on a fire. You won't be in business very long. Why would any business, large or small do something like that? weather you, Like it or not steve, every business out there, large, or small, are in it to make a profit. without profit, they won't be around for long. Who's to say how much profit is to much? certainly not you."

--OK, let's say I own that business and I get machinery that makes it possible to have increased output with only half the workers. Increased output means more profits. I could keep everybody on with the same benefits and pay, reduce their work week, and STILL increase my profits. Because my production level went up.

Why would I do such a thing?

Patriotism. I would do it for my country. Because I know that this will help distribute wealth; which is good for the economy. A healthy economy includes more spending power for consumers. That means keeping as many people taking home paychecks as possible and keeping those paychecks as high as possible.

Look. We just got a great new work-saving machine. Why should I take all the increased profits from that machine and cut the workers out of it? That would be pretty selfish after all those people worked so many years for me. And if all businesses did that then the economy would tank. Worker pay would shrink because unemployment would be high and businesses would not have to pay as much to get workers. Consumers would have little spending power so the economy would slow way down. And government revenue would drop so the fed debt would go up.

If I only thought about myself I would not care about the workers, the country, the debt or the economy. But we're all in this economy and this nation together. We are not alone. It is foolish to pretend we are.

Now my ideas may be wise for the nation, true; but it would take some pretty bold business owners to do this on their own. They would probably need some encouragement from the government. It would be in the government's interest to do this to advance the nation. A government would be pretty lame if it just allowed the nation to falter after seeing the problem and not addressing it.

Too many workers out of a job and too few new jobs paying too little means the economy is going to tank. We can't let that happen. We need to take steps to avoid that. That's what responsible governments do to 'promote general welfare.'
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btc1
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 3:27:19 PM

anyone ever thought about the move to cash, under the table, jobs. I think they have increased. They should try tying the unemployment rate to actual tax return cross reference.
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 3:18:38 PM

"--Ahhh, other income streams. Yes. That must explain why there are so many beat-up old cars outside payday loan places. They put so much of their paycheck into savings and investments for retirement that they are forced to pay 600% interest to make ends meet each week."

I have quite a lot of experience in private finance, vehicles included.

When I offer financing of homes, vehicles, equipment/installations, professional services etc, customers aren't "forced" to buy anything.

Many want financing as they want something immediately, or want something newer, better, bigger or more expensive than they "need" or can really afford.

Many that offer private financing to income/savings/credit/collateral challenged buyers are taking a large risk, so they require more money down, weekly payments, products are marked up substantially and/or interest rates are high.I sell most used cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, boats, motorcycles, waverunners, quads etc to cash buyers.

We don't see nearly as many beaters on the road due to New York's annual Safety/Emissions inspections, roadblocks, license plate readers in squad cars etc.

Many vehicles are junked/sold since they can't pass inspection and/or owners can't afford the costs of more and more complex repairs.
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noseatbelt
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 3:10:05 PM

steve, let's say you own a business, that employs 200 people, are you trying to tell us, that even if you automated your factory and didn't need as many people, that you would keep the now un needed people on at less hours, but still pay them the same, plus keep their benefits the same? That makes about as much sense, as trowing gasoline on a fire. You won't be in business very long. Why would any business, large or small do something like that? weather you, Like it or not steve, every business out there, large, or small, are in it to make a profit. without profit, they won't be around for long. Who's to say how much profit is to much? certainly not you.
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Apr 24, 2013 2:46:55 PM

"Much of the population is unemployed, or under-employed, however many are working 2 or 3 jobs, plus many have other income streams, savings, investments, equity and/or work in the booming underground economy."

--Ahhh, other income streams. Yes. That must explain why there are so many beat-up old cars outside payday loan places. They put so much of their paycheck into savings and investments for retirement that they are forced to pay 600% interest to make ends meet each week.
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SemiSteve
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Message Posted: Apr 19, 2013 12:04:03 PM

"The consumers of tomorrow are in those countries where the industrial revolution hasn't occurred yet or is just getting started."

--They are not going to consume much by being paid $2 a day.

"we have plenty of jobs locally"

--I am certain that across the spectrum there are locations where there are more jobs than qualified applicants. Those locations are easily outnumbered by the ones where there are far more applicants than jobs.

AC-302: "Now, I'm thinking that you're decrying automation in terms of jobs, and I understand your humanistic view."

--No, you are completely missing my point. I am all for automation. It is the way it is being applied that I find troublesome.

We take a guy who had been doing a job and earning an income for doing that and we suddenly tell him: "Sorry, Bob. Your job is coming to an end. We just got this machine that can do what you did and it is going to replace you and most of the people on this project. We're only keeping a few to program and operate the new machine and despite your extensive knowledge of what this machine does you didn't make the cut. Enjoy your unemployment checks until that runs out and then you can apply for government assistance. Thanks for the years of your life that you gave us and we wish you well."

Introduction of this new innovative machine has allowed a few at the top to share in vast new profits but the majority of people affected by it have had their lives impacted negatively. It is a win/lose solution. The few at the top win big and the many who are not at the top lose big. Humanity has taken a step backwards.

OK, so management made a tough choice and fired 50 people while keeping only 5. The new machine made that possible. Now the company's profits will rise because it can build the same amount of product for less expense. What I am wondering is why can't that company keep those 50 people at their same pay and simply divide up the reduced man-hours among them? Now these people would all be earning the same pay but their work-week is greatly reduced. Actually since the new machine pours out product even faster than the human team did, the company could theoretically keep the workers at reduced work weeks, pay the workers the same and STILL earn increased profits. Now THAT is a win/win solution.

This way the benefits of the new innovation are shared by humans and humanity is advanced.

"But do you also get that what your saying could be, in effect, interpreted as a sentiment that businesses need to become social-welfare programs by employing unskilled or semi-skilled workers to do jobs that machines can do better, faster and cheaper? "

--Well, we both know they won't do that and my idea would be laughed out of any for-profit boardroom. But that board is only concerned with one thing. I, on the other hand, am looking at much more: the big picture. What happens to society when this trend does not follow the historical developments where new jobs are created to fill the voids created by emerging technologies? What if we REALLY HAVE reached a turning point and there ARE NOT going to be enough jobs to replace the dying ones?

Artificial intelligence is different than previous innovations. New machines will be able to THINK and LEARN. So many workers could be displaced that the old balance of learning newer jobs no longer works. We may have finally reached the point where we are so advanced there just is not enough work for everybody in the traditional 40-hour week.

I think it is time to look at making jobs smaller and sharing more leisure time. It looks like we have earned it. This can be done by plan or it can happen the messy way - which is probably what will happen.

"Oh, and Steve below, you just said: "The greedy and powerful will use new automation to eliminate old jobs. They will make lots of money doing this. Good for them."

--Now, I really don't want to pick on you, really. However, once again you're decrying rich people, and you're claiming that rich people are necessarily "greedy". "

--It is mind-boggling how I say one thing and you read stuff into it that I never said. You have a penchant for this. Doesn't it ever occur to you that if I really wanted to say the things you read into my posts that I would have actually said them? I say "The greedy and powerful and you hear that I think "rich people are necessarily greedy." These are two completely different statements but that difference is lost on you.

Henry Ford got rich. But instead of paying as little as he could get away with he saw the big picture. He reasoned that if he paid workers more they would be able to be consumers. Imagine that. I have brought up this example numerous times. He wasn't greedy.
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Apr 19, 2013 11:12:56 AM

SemiSteve reasonably posted: "Computers and robots have been stealing American jobs for a long time. That trend shows no sign of reversal. What's worse, it shows every sign of increasing. It appears that we have already reached a peak in employment numbers."

--And even with automation technologies, we still often can't compete with places like China, Malaysia or Phillipines, in terms of labor/production costs. At least, not for lower tech stuff. Higher tech, well, that's different.

You know, automakers had this same beef in the '60s and '70s, too. They and others were being replace by machines. The cost of the robot or machine But then again, Steve, should we tie our hands behind our back in terms of technology and cost? Should we make our own goods uncompetitive to ourselves and the rest of the world by employing hand labor? My own company uses machines to do a variety of jobs that used to take ARMIES of workers to do by hand. And the machines with their vision systems, linear motors and encoders are accurate often to within 0.0005 inches or less in component placement. No human can compete for either speed or accuracy. Machines of these natures enable technologies to move forward. And machines can do jobs in places where humans can't go (inert environments, harsh environments, etc).

Now, I'm thinking that you're decrying automation in terms of jobs, and I understand your humanistic view. Really, I get it. But do you also get that what your saying could be, in effect, interpreted as a sentiment that businesses need to become social-welfare programs by employing unskilled or semi-skilled workers to do jobs that machines can do better, faster and cheaper?

NO, our society has moved on. WE don't employ so many traditional "factory workers" anymore. Technology has moved forward in order to build better and cheaper products. The computer you're typing on couldn't be possible without automation assembly for small electronics. Face it - technology has moved forward. So what's next? Well, there will always be ditch diggers of sorts. But I guess that means modern soceity will be needing more folks with higher tech skills, not low tech ones. EDUCATION! EDUCATION! EDUCATION! And if you're not willing to get an education, one shouldn't expect government support.

Oh, and Steve below, you just said: "The greedy and powerful will use new automation to eliminate old jobs. They will make lots of money doing this. Good for them."

--Now, I really don't want to pick on you, really. However, once again you're decrying rich people, and you're claiming that rich people are necessarily "greedy". I don't think that's so, but they certainly aren't stupid, or they likely wouldn't be in the positions that they're in. Why is it wrong to want to control costs? Why is it not good to reduce the production cost of your assembly? Is it therefore good to increase the cost? And if so, who will want to buy it? And if you have competitors, don't you think they will also try to reduce cost and improve quality to increase sales? Sometimes I think you don't "get" how businesses (that produce products) function. And when you use langage like "greedy" and say things like: "Computers and robots have been stealing American jobs for a long time", you strongly imply dishonesty, where none exists.

Face it, the paradigm of unskilled labor being "middle class" is long gone. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. It suggests that we are progessing in society and in technology. We're on to the next thing. We retool factories - why not retool workers?

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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 19, 2013 10:30:45 AM

On a positive note, with so many that are retired, on numerous forms of welfare, on disability, unemployed, under-employed, or unemployable, there's more work for the rest of us.

Much of our economy is based on providing goods and services for those unwilling, or incapable of providing for themselves.

Much of the population is unemployed, or under-employed, however many are working 2 or 3 jobs, plus many have other income streams, savings, investments, equity and/or work in the booming underground economy.

Our volume at one of our stores near a high unemployment region continues to increase year after year.
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noseatbelt
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Apr 18, 2013 7:04:04 PM

guess what they will want, we already have that, it's how obama got elected, to a un earned second term.
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 18, 2013 6:05:20 PM

Speaking of jobs, we have plenty of jobs locally, however many unemployed people aren't seriously looking for work, or they lack the education, knowledge, skills and experience to find work.

Many are unemployable as they don't have reliable transportation, a driver's license and can't pass background checks, drug tests, DMV checks, aptitude tests, physical fitness assessments, probationary periods.

Many can't/won't work mornings, nights, weekends, second shift, third shift, overtime, out-of-town, on-the-road etc.

We know many relatively unskilled/low skilled inexperienced job seekers that have no problem finding 2 or more jobs while other say "their ain't no jobs".
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mudtoe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Apr 18, 2013 5:58:33 PM

SS: "With so many people un- and underemployed the economy will be poor. Fewer and fewer consumers will be able to buy a lot of products."


A good part of the world still lives like their ancestors did centuries ago. It's just waiting to be developed. The consumers of tomorrow are in those countries where the industrial revolution hasn't occurred yet or is just getting started. The entrepreneurs of tomorrow will be going there as well. The United States and Europe will be increasingly left behind because they will have less and less to offer, other than high wages, high taxes, and a government elected by the takers that looks upon entrepreneurs and wealth the same way a vampire looks at a human's neck.


mudtoe
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MarkJames
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Apr 18, 2013 5:57:31 PM

Recently a sub was complaining that 2 helpers he used to move heavy boilers and tanks were unreliable, often unavailable, slow and wanted too much money for the little work they did. In addition he was killing his back and risking injury to himself and helpers.

We showed him how to use one of our stair climbing hand trucks/fork lifts, then let him borrow it until we worked out a deal to sell it to him.

His helpers were quite upset that they weren't needed anymore, but they'd likely still be working for him had they not had the above mentioned issues.

These issues are just some of countless reasons why businesses and workers employ more automation and specialized tools/equipment.
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