Loss of manufacturing jobs is an important part of the narrative
While manufacturing jobs have long since departed for China and India, the U.S. economy continues to grow and even manufacture products that the world wants to buy—we export more in dollar terms than we did a decade ago. But what we’re sending (and how it’s made) is drastically different today. (Slate)A cry we hear over and over from the Krugman’s and the Reich’s of the world is that more and more money is going into fewer and fewer pockets. They then hint darkly at those greedy republican businessmen.
Well, this is to be expected in an age where automation continues apace. Replace a man with a robot, and the wages no longer go to the man, but all the gains from the robot go to the company owner.
Luddite Barack Obama, who knows nothing of economics or how business works, ignorantly decries the advent of robots, automated checkouts at grocery stores and ATM machines. So what would our economically-ignorant president do? Banish technology from his kingdom? Tax robotic innovation to the point that it is too expensive to implement?
This is the intellectual dead end liberalism brings us to. Fortunately, reality does not conform to their fevered nightmares. There is always a way, and innovation powered by free-market capitalism is the signpost.
Manufacturing is Coming Back
the larger trends show that the tide has turned, and it is China's turn to worry. Many CEOs, including Dow Chemicals' Andrew Liveris, have declared their intentions to bring manufacturing back to the United States. What is going to accelerate the trend isn't, as people believe, the rising cost of Chinese labor or a rising yuan. The real threat to China comes from technology. Technical advances will soon lead to the same hollowing out of China's manufacturing industry that they have to U.S industry over the past two decades.Manufacturing won’t require the manpower it used to
But that’s not the end of the story...
Moretti suggests that the prognosis for the average American worker need not be so gloomy if, as he predicts, America continues to thrive as a hub of knowledge generation and innovation. While the idea creators—those who design iPhones and develop new drugs—will continue to be the drivers of prosperity, more than a few crumbs may fall to the workers who support them.
For example, Moretti estimates that Microsoft alone is responsible for adding 120,000 low-skill jobs to the Seattle area, where the company is based. This is because of the support workers required to style the hair, cut the grass, and yes, build the houses, of all those Microsoft engineers and computer scientists.(Foreign Policy)
It's going to require us to learn new skillsets...
…what today’s worker needs is a set of skills that offers the personal touch and judgment that can’t be provided by a machine or someone 12 time zones away. Katz argues that this will be crucial for those with only high school educations, who will need to learn a “high touch” trade—like personal trainers, kitchen designers, and home health aides—where personal interaction is critical.
He makes a similar argument for the college educated as well: With many clerical and lower-level management jobs made obsolete by advances in information technology or lost to off-shoring, they’ll have to reinvent themselves as, say, IT support professionals or consultants. (Slate)The author’s bottom line is government-driven jobs training and retraining. I think this is too important to be left to our sclerotic, plonkish federal government, but he is right that we need to be flexible, and education is the key. As certain kinds of jobs go away, new jobs appear, if our economy is nimble and encourages entrepreneurship.
We could start on this road to our new “Artisan Economy” by burning down libraries full of government regulations that chain down our entrepreneurs. Next we can RIF the armies of bureaucrats waging war on jobs creators. Finally, we can stop subsidizing higher education with federal money that flows as easily to the rich as to the poor and equally to worthwhile degree programs and worthless ones.
Stop preaching the ridiculous message of college for everybody (a plumber or hairdresser trained in a trade school makes more than a Masters of Humanities working at Starbucks), and let the free market reign.