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My Thoughts on President Obama’s Interview with Ann Curry…

By JLP | June 30, 2011

Lots of conservatives are giving President Obama a hard time over his comments on the economy (starts at around 2:00).

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He mentions that technology has taken jobs from people.

He’s right.

But…

He’s not seeing the full picture. Technology may replace workers but it also opens the door to improvement and frees up workers for other jobs.

I would suggest that President Obama read Chapter 7 of Economics in One Lesson, which opens with:

Among the most viable of all economic delusions is the belief that machines on net balance create unemployment. Destroyed a thousand times, it has risen a thousand times out of its own ashes as hardy and vigorous as ever. Whenever there is a long-continued mass unemployment, machines get the blame anew. This fallacy is still the basis of many labor union practices. The public tolerates these practices because it either believes at bottom that the unions are right, or is too confused to see just why they are wrong.

The belief that machines cause unemployment, when held with any logical consistency, leads to preposterous conclusions. Not only must we be causing unemployment with every technological improvement we make today, but primitive man must have started causing it with the first efforts he made to save himself from needless toil and sweat.

Those words were written in the late 1940s!

I think the main reason companies aren’t hiring is because of uncertainty. Where are oil prices headed? What impact with the health care have on business? How many more health care waivers will be issued? Are banks lending? What about China? What about consumer confidence?

I realize that these are all parts of the big wheel and that each are dependent on the other. For instance, consumer confidence won’t increase until companies are hiring. Companies are nervous to hire if consumer confidence shows that they won’t be willing to spend.

Topics: Economics | 3 Comments »


3 Responses to “My Thoughts on President Obama’s Interview with Ann Curry…”

  1. Money Beagle Says:
    June 30th, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I agree with this but there is often a lag between when a job becomes obsolete due to technology and new opportunities becoming available as a result of advancing technology. Plus, you have shifting of people as those new roles get filled (they certainly won’t be filled exclusively by those who had previously been made obsolete), so while I agree with you, I can see Obama’s point to a certain extent. Also, you have to consider whether the new opportunities created by technology benefit those in our country or not. If we lose the jobs but the benefits are felt in China, then from the president’s perspective, whose job it is to look after the interests of American citizens, technology did result in a net loss of jobs

  2. Retired at 40 Says:
    June 30th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The whole purpose of technology is to eliminate workers and lower costs. And that’s what it has done.

    The idea that technology is going to produce more jobs than its costs seems a little ridiculous to me so I think conservatives are guilty of a lot of pie in the sky thinking when criticizing Obama’s comment.

    The people who are being replaced are not going to convert to technology-related jobs. Most of them are not smart enough for that.

    The future of the American worker is a 25K per year job with no benefits. He will get rich by investing his meager savings in the stock market as it goes ever higher and their 401(k)s make them millionaires.

    If it doesn’t work out that way, times are going to be tough for the average American.

    The reason companies aren’t hiring is because they don’t need workers. Profit margins are high and they have enough workers. The jobs are in India and China. The only way jobs are coming back is if companies determine it is cheaper to do things in the U.S.

  3. Russ Says:
    June 30th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Business does not like uncertainty. Until uncertainty is removed either from stopping massive regulatory changes, tax policy, or impacts of health care reform, business will play their cards close for fear of making the wrong move.

    The big issue with technology and the American worker right now is that our economy has transitioned to a knowledge based economy. This means jobs are highly dependent upon workers with the right education and skills. Gone are the days of high school grads being able to get a job on a line at a plant and making enough money to buy a house, boat, and decent retirement.

    Too many people simple do not manage their careers. Workers today have to be mercenary like. Leave companies when better opportunities arise. Constantly continuing their education and updating their skills so they are RELEVANT in a fast moving market place. Those that can’t figure out the game are and will get left behind. Those that have figured out the game are in more demand than ever…

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