I posted a comment on Facebook that generated some interesting responses. I was watching a show on C-SPAN with two economic spokespersons for business organizations who were discussing the state of the economy as of January 2017.
One of the commentators said something that I didn’t realize. Between 2000 and 2010 over a million jobs were lost in the USA. Of those million jobs 80% of them were lost to automation. In other words businesses found cheaper and more efficient ways to run their operations.
Wow! That means it wasn’t because of hordes of cheap labor immigrant that jobs disappeared. It was simply free enterprise being free to do what they want in order to run their businesses at a profit. If that meant machines would make the product at a lower price than humans and not demand healthcare, sick days, or vacation pay then so be it.
I’m no business expert but I do know that in our capitalist system an enterprise is free to function they way it wants as long as it is within the law.
For some reason a few people who read my post didn’t believe that automation had displaced so many jobs. Instead of getting into an argument or debate I posted a story from Fortune magazine basically reiterating the point that automation had done away with many, many jobs.
All of which led me to think of another point — are we at a crossroads here? Is the motivation for a business to be just to make profits through the work of its employees or is the driving force to be a fair distribution of those profits for the employees?
I always thought that competitive wages would determine how profits were distributed. The better you were as a worker the more you received in salary (or a share of the profits if you will).
Now I’m hearing that according to the movement of the day a company should be forced, or politically extorted, into making profits only for one group (Americans) and those profits should be distributed only to that group.
I asked a number of everyday workers what they thought of the two premises and the answer I got back from every single one of them was the same. Basically it came down to, “I don’t care how much profit a company makes as long as I’m getting a fair share of it.”
Got it. Keep it simple stupid.