Companies Invest More In Machines Than In People—We’ve Got To Fight For Ourselves As Working People
The New York Times reports that companies are spending more on new computers and other machines than they are spending on hiring new people.
“…Workers are getting more expensive while equipment is getting cheaper, and the combination is encouraging companies to spend on machines rather than people. “I want to have as few people touching our products as possible,” said Dan Mishek, managing director of Vista Technologies in Vadnais Heights, Minn. “Everything should be as automated as it can be. We just can’t afford to compete with countries like China on labor costs, especially when workers are getting even more expensive.” Vista, which makes plastic products for equipment manufacturers, spent $450,000 on new technology last year. During the same period, it hired just two new workers, whose combined annual salary and benefits are $160,000.”….with the rising costs of hiring, companies like Vista are finding ways to use capital to replace workers whose jobs are relatively routine. “If you’re doing something that can be written down in a programmatic, algorithmic manner, you’re going to be substituted for quickly,” said Claudia Goldin, an economist at Harvard. To add insult to injury, much of the equipment used to replace American workers is made by workers abroad, meaning that capital spending is going overseas. Of the four pieces of equipment Vista bought last year, one was made domestically…”
Could somebody please tell me where people are going to work and how they are going to get by as we move forward in this country?
Here is where we seem to be in our nation today—
* We’re cutting spending on education that would prepare young people for the job market.
* We won’t ask the most wealthy to pay more taxes.
* Employers won’t hire even at a time of record profits.
* Government is laying off thousands of workers.
* Many people who are working are unable to get a steady 40 hours a week.
* There is vehement opposition from the right to the extension of health insurance to all Americans.
* Unions are under assault.
* Pensions are a thing of the past and people’s retirement—if they even have a 401K—is at the whims of the stock market.
* Social Security and Medicare are under constant attack.
* Poverty is rarely mentioned by leaders of either major political party.
* The unemployed don’t seem to be on the agenda at all as states cut back on unemployment benefits and the talk in Washington is about debt reduction.
It seems that the average person is being abandoned in America.
Given the direction we are headed, how are even the most hard-working people going to find steady work and good benefits?
The good news is that average people have the ability to fight back and to demand a fair return for the work they are willing to do. People are not helpless.
The work of a better and more fair nation and society is up to each of us. Every individual has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, and even run for public office.
If you don’t take control of your future, somebody else will.