Reason, Liberty, & Culture

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Technology is Why the Jobs aren't Coming Back

by Lewis Loflin

High paying jobs, in particular manufacturing, are never coming back in any large numbers. The government from Bristol Virginia to Washington has tried everything to change this and have failed. Sure we might get an occasional auto plant for something that amounts more to a relocation rather than new jobs. These "new jobs" that are old jobs moving around are costing state taxpayer over $500 million or more in corporate welfare. What I call the Bristol effect has become national.

In Alabama at a Coke bottling plant the filler line fills 12-ounce cans at a mind-boggling rate of 1700 cans per minute, and has only 1 employee. A Coke can manufacturer makes 3.6 million Coke cans per 12-hour shift and has only 18 employees. Even China the slave-labor capital of the world has reported losing manufacturing jobs.

Part of this is due to rising cost and a higher standard of living for Chinese workers and other losses are due to shifting to even lower-wage countries such as Vietnam, but most of it is due to automation.

The answer is technology that produces better and more important cheaper products at far lower cost. As a technology instructor myself I have far more sophisticated electronics in my home lab than NASA had during the Moon Landings and much of the Shuttle program. And I'm not alone by any means.

See my Hobby Electronics Website.

Off-the-Shelf Technology for Space Exploration

The following from the New York Times April 3, 2012 titled The Promise of Today's Factory Jobs is a stern warning:

The factory jobs we really want will be fewer and will require more education. But they will pay more.

Remember agriculture? In the 1960s, plant scientists at the University of California, Davis, developed an oblong tomato that ripened uniformly, and its engineers developed a machine to harvest it with one pass through the fields. By the 1970s the number of workers hired for the tomato harvest in California had fallen by 90 percent.

In the book "Promise Unfulfilled," Philip Martin, an economist at the university, says that in 1979 the worker advocacy group California Rural Legal Assistance sued the university for using public money on research that helped agribusiness at the expense of farm workers. And in 1980, Jimmy Carter's agriculture secretary, Bob Bergland, declared that the government wouldn't finance any more projects aimed at replacing "an adequate and willing work force with machines."

It's hard to say that workers won this battle, however. After Mr. Bergland pulled the plug, research on agricultural mechanization came to a near-halt. Yet farm work today remains probably the worst paid, most grueling job in the United States.

This nonsense simply resulted in the mass importation of illegal aliens many who simply went on to take jobs all over the economy away from Americans. This resulted in the horrible work conditions in many industries the NYT laments, while at the same time they demand open borders and mass amnesty. This has been the real reason for the explosion of poverty at the same time government programs have exploded to counter it.

Here again are two examples of Liberal social engineering, one promoting diversity racism and other banning innovation, that collided and hurt everyone. The corporations still got their profits while shifting many of their costs (jails, welfare, lower pay scales, etc.) onto the public sector. Expanded public sector means more power for Liberals.

Now let's pile on the so-called Obamacare situation. The Supreme Court has spoken and it's here to stay. What is really scary is this bazaar interpretation of what is the definition of a tax (or the continuing abuse of the Commerce Clause) that can declare any activity in any form can be taken over and controlled by social engineers. Where does it end?

My point here is these issues are not isolated. My fear is one of the few areas free of government control and meddling where freedom and creativity are one in the same could be threatened by some idiot social engineer. Worse, in the quest for government money, many projects will be funded whose goal is the money itself and ignore both engineering and market reality.