Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Downside of Technology, the Real Story...

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First there was the computer which was hailed as a device designed to simplify work. In the beginning, the only applications on mainframes, however, were accounting applications. Eventually, software was written for a wide range of what were to become off the shelf applications. Then a couple of nerdy guys developed little black boxes that had the capability of making computers available to everyone followed by things like improved operating system, graphical interfaces and eventually killer aps.

The salesmen for such systems said that computers would lift all boats; that people would be “freed” to operate at their highest level of efficiency which sounds very nice.

This was followed by the operative word “downsizing” after a series of mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures.

Then a book came out called the Greening of America that suggested that America was ready for the next revolution. We would jetision manufacturing and become an Information Age economy.

This somehow gave the green light to business and industry to shift their economy around, move off shore, avoid taxes and use new more efficient factors of production (cheaper labor)….

America would lead the way by exporting quality of life jobs.

Great idea! Or so it seemed.

The world’s media empire suggested that there was interchangeability of jobs. That service jobs were the same as manufacturing jobs.

This is one of the worst lies! (Even the New York Times was guilty of it.)

(They were not. Manufacturing jobs have a multiplier effect on the economy of about 6 to 1; service businesses do not; service jobs also tend to part=time, low paying and seasonal.)

We didn’t blink, however, when Japan, our former enemy, and China, our leading competitor, are making critical components for our weapon systems.

Nor did we blink when America’s last machine tool manufacturer closed shop so that now we can’t even start a new manufacturing business without going overseas.

But, hey, we all understood we were moving further up the ladder.

However, guess what? Employers discovered that cutting costs has the same effect as making sales. So, if you want to accomplish the same ends, cutting costs became the prevailing mantra of the day.

All of a sudden, those quality of life jobs, the Information Age jobs that were supposed to be our legacy were going elsewhere where the population was intelligent, could be trained and worked for about 40% of what Americans worked for.

Hmmm! It looked like this great bountiful future was changing as we watched.

Next thing, the technology jobs, software development, innovation, and related jobs calling for engineering, technical and scientific background were being filled by those with green cards.

Why? Because the employers claimed that they couldn’t find the talent among those in the American labor pool. Many Americans were training their successors who had little of the knowledge of their trainers but they worked for about 60-75% of their American counterparts.

At the same time, the government was pushing its NAFTA and Fast Track programs which accelerated the movement of jobs offshore.

We were told it was good for business and industry.

We were told that the arrangement with Canada and Mexico would bring more jobs to the US.

As it turned out, all it brought was a lot of illegal immigrants who took “those jobs that Americans didn’t want.”

What was left for the American worker after the immigrants took all of the bottom rung jobs, manufacturing jobs were exported and the quality of life Information Age jobs were going to India and China.

To add insult to injury, the leaders in these technology fields, our future remember, were being shifted to China and India and those jobs lost to Americans.

To add to this all, America because it no longer can compete with Wal-Mart, imports manufacturing goods and exports agricultural products and scrap—old black boxes, American TV’s, stereos and replaces them with new junk and toxic products.

Thus all of these machinations have transformed us into a Colony whose debt is owned by England, Saudi Arabia, Japan and China.

So if our leadership was intent on blowing us out of the water and marching us off into obsolescence, they have done a great job!!!

Nice kettle of fish!

All made possible by the computer and human greed..

Something to think about the next time government says, “Trust Me.”

Les Aaron
The Armchair Curmudgeon


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