Friday, April 28, 2017

The Good Old Jobs are Not Coming Back

I was talking with an acquaintance the other day and he predicted that the time is not far off when AI will take all our jobs. He mentioned how Google recently switched out its Japanese-English Translate app with an AI based app. Just as an experiment to see whether it was any good. Google started getting emails telling it how much better its Translate had become.

Or what about the Google Map app, that is processing the movement of millions of cellphones along all the streets and highways in the world, and then tells you which route to take to the hospital? How do they do it?

But today's politics is all about the villainy of the globalists and the neo-liberals. (That's when it's not about the villainy of the "haters" and the "xenophobes.")

Here is a piece about a Cadbury chocolate factory closing in England, with the jobs going to Poland.
For nearly a century, residents of Keynsham knew that their local Cadbury confectionery plant was a source of employment. Then, on Oct. 3, 2007, it all changed. The word went out that the factory was to shut down and move to Skarbimierz, Poland. Just like that, come 2011, one hundred years of history were rubbed out thanks to a closed-boardroom decision. As Meek writes, the factory’s leaving meant the loss of “highly paid, permanent, solidly pensioned jobs…not because [the workers] had done anything wrong, or because their products weren’t selling, or because the factory was unprofitable, but because their Polish replacements could do the same job for less than one fifth of the money.”
OK. Let's look at the other side of it.

"For nearly a century" the Cadbury plant had provided "highly paid, permanent, solidly pensioned jobs." Think what that means. It means that, without any particular effort, the folks near that factory had great jobs, great wages, great tenure, and great retirement. For nearly a century.

The point is that such a setup is an extraordinary exception. That is not how the world works, not under capitalism, not under neoliberalism, not under Trumpism, not under New Dealism, and certainly not under Communism from Lenin to Castro and Chávez.

The real world changes, from day to day, from year to year, and we had all of us better work hard to keep up or we will get left behind at the side of the road, hungry and wounded.

The promise of human community and government is that each of us is not alone, forced to face the world without our fellows. But no community, no government, can provide us with "highly paid, permanent, solidly pensioned jobs" forever. Human community and government can file the rough edges off inevitable change, but it cannot make everything smooth for all time.

Anyone that tells you different is lying.

There are lots of articles floating around about how the globalists are lying. Or that Trump is lying. Of course they are. They are lying because the voters want to be told that they can have "highly paid, permanent, solidly pensioned jobs" forever. Or they want to be told that great manufacturing jobs are coming back to Make America Great Again. Or that the government can solve the health care problem with a top-down administrative single-payer system. All politicians lie, because we voters insist that they tell us lies.

Sorry, fellahs. Those "good jobs at good wages" in the grand old manufacturing plants are not coming back. There is no going back to lifetime employment and solid pensions. The supposed social gains and the workers rights displayed in the break room at work are written in sand. And that is just the private sector. The government sector is even worse, with the promises of pensions for seniors and government retirees also written in sand, and welfare wreaking cultural suicide and education failing to educate, and Obamacare a predictable trainwreck.

This is a rough time for our liberal friends who have been living in a liberal bubble, superinflated on Obama's watch. That's why liberals are so frantic and so angry since Trump's election. They thought that their Liberal Reich would last for a thousand years, because their Leader told them so, and they cannot believe, not yet, that they have been lied to.

Just like the white working class was lied to, that the welfare state and labor legislation would solve their problems forever. Just like blacks were lied to, that the civil rights era -- or the First Black President -- would solve their problems forever. Just like women were lied to, that women's liberation would solve their problems forever.

Like I said, government can file off the rough edges of life. Sometimes. But don't assume it. The only thing to do is watch the market. What is happening to the market in skills like yours? If you don't like what you see, you had better do something about it, now.

But whatever you do, don't listen to a sauntering politician, whether left, right, or center. Because he's not going to solve your problems for you. Only you can do that.

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