Obama Versus Technology: ATM’s Responsible For Unemployment

It is, to say the least of it, a very horrifying thing indeed that someone in this position of power actually believes an economic canard of this caliber — a canard that’s been bunked a billion times, and which, in fact, is so easily debunked — and yet it’s even more horrifying to realize that so much of this country’s economic fate is in the hands of one whose economic knowledge is this puerile.

I, for one, was absolutely appalled when I saw the following:

Russell Roberts, professor of economics at George Mason University and a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, recently rebutted and demolished Obama’s absurd notions, by pointing out the obvious:

The story goes that Milton Friedman was once taken to see a massive government project somewhere in Asia. Thousands of workers using shovels were building a canal. Friedman was puzzled. Why weren’t there any excavators or any mechanized earth-moving equipment? A government official explained that using shovels created more jobs. Friedman’s response: “Then why not use spoons instead of shovels?”

… Or look at eggs. Today, a couple of workers can manage an egg-laying operation of almost a million chickens laying 240,000,000 eggs a year. How can two people pick up those eggs or feed those chickens or keep them healthy with medication? They can’t. The hen house does the work—it’s really smart. The two workers keep an eye on a highly mechanized, computerized process that would have been unimaginable 50 years ago.

The savings from higher productivity don’t just go to the owners of the textile factory or the mega hen house who now have lower costs of doing business. Lower costs don’t always mean higher profits. Or not for long. Those lower costs lead to lower prices as businesses compete with each other to appeal to consumers.

… Despite losing millions of jobs to technology and to trade, even in a recession we have more total jobs than we did when the steel and auto and telephone and food industries had a lot more workers and a lot fewer machines.

Why do new jobs get created? When it gets cheaper to make food and clothing, there are more resources and people available to create new products that didn’t exist before. Fifty years ago, the computer industry was tiny. It was able to expand because we no longer had to have so many workers connecting telephone calls. So many job descriptions exist today that didn’t even exist 15 or 20 years ago. That’s only possible when technology makes workers more productive (boldface mine).

(Read the full article here.)

This, incidentally, is another manifestation of Bastiat’s economic law: “What is seen and what is not seen.”




11 Comments

  • Maura

    June 22, 2011

    It’s comparable to ‘my dog ate my homework’!! So, let me get this clear – technology is to blame for the lack of employment.. Yah.. I’m not buying what he’s selling.

  • Maura

    June 22, 2011

    And another thing… To blame progress for the issues that this country faces, is a big step backwards and absolutely ridiculous! How about we try to match our wits with the technology created to be more productive and innovative in life, business, and other ventures. I’m just sayin’….

  • Micky

    June 23, 2011

    If Barry operated like an ATM we’d be better off.

    “Sorry, insufficient funds for this transaction”
    “Turn in card to bank representative”

  • Dale

    June 23, 2011

    Barry is so fucking stupid I could just shit.
    Compared to his adoring followers, though, he’s a genius.

    Micky, we have implicit limits on the spendthrifts: don’t raise the debt ceiling.

  • Dave Cochrane, UK

    June 23, 2011

    Obama: “A lot of businesses have learned to become a lot more efficient, with a lot fewer workers.” Said like that’s a problem that needs fixing.

    That kind of stupidity coupled with that kind of power has to be dangerous. And I can’t help feeling we’re all fucked.

  • EJ

    June 25, 2011

    An essay I conjured years ago seems appropriate here.

    “While it is true that monopolies are counterproductive to free enterprise, the merger of two companies that will compliment each other is not. The directors and CEOs who swing these deals are responsible to stockholders to make money.

    We must remember that stockholders, the owners, can be anyone who has money to invest – retirees, parents who buy mutual funds for their children’s education or employees of some company. These stockholders also vote on company issues which affect profits. Striving for record profits is inherent in business.

    Also inherent in increasing profits is becoming more productive. This meas that labor will inevitably decrease as productivity increases. It is logical and necessary. Occupations will disappear as business evolves and becomes more productive. Other occupations will be created.

    Should we expect textile manufacturers to maintain a labor force whose sole purpose is weaving cotton by hand, or expect any business not to innovate in pursuit of profit? Some may laugh at weaving cotton by hand, yet it wasn’t until the 1980s that railroads were able to negotiate firemen, (coal shovelers) into extinction. Talk about a good union!

    Other occupations are facing extinction, such as court reporters for instance. While it is painful on those who are displaced, we must not lose sight of the benefits of increasing productivity. We should resist the temptation to delay the inevitable, as their resistance must necessarily involve a loss of economic freedom, such as the freedom to downsize.

    Downsizing appears fashionable only because it is inevitable, as it increases profits. The people who are laid off are not doomed to minimum wage jobs. Many will obtain employment in the same earnings bracket. Others will open their own businesses. And yes, some will be severely affected.

    This freedom definitely has an ugly side, consequences which strain our conscience. These unfortunate consequences often lead to legislation intended to cure the ill. This legislation always restricts freedom. “There ought to be a law” is often said.

    Raise the minimum wage, that will ease our pain. Yet think about what forcing companies to raise the minimum wage to $30,000 (1995 $, is when I wrote this essay) a year would accomplish. A decent wage that can adequately support a family. We would then have to force companies to keep people on the payroll, implement price controls and provide subsidies and on and on and on down the slippery road to serfdom.

    The issue boils down to freedom. Is freedom too painful? Can America stomach the logical consequences of freedom?

    Should we?

    I personally believe freedom works. And, like corporate downsizing, is inevitable in our evolution.”

  • Micky

    June 26, 2011

    Here we go again.
    Another unconstitutional circumvention

    “According to our friends over at HotAir.com, the DREAM Act has been rammed through by an ICE Executive Memo despite its rejection by Congress and the American people twice.

    A memo written by ICE Director John Morton and sent to all agents in charge, chief counsel, office directors and special agents, states ICE doesn’t have enough resources to deal with illegal immigrants who happen to be students, and therefore, they should have less of a chance of deportation due to the criteria used when making decisions about who will be deported known as “prosecutorial discretion.” According the the ICE memo:”

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2011/06/26/dream_act_implemented_through_executive_ice_memo

  • Dale

    June 27, 2011

    Ah yes, the Torpedo strikes again!
    Bankruptcy laws an obstacle to unions getting the money? No problem, Torpedo them!
    War Powers Act requires Congressional approval? Fuck them, Torpedo the law!
    Promise our ally missile defense? Forget the defense, get Torpedo up your ass instead.
    You want to drill? LOL! Let’s Torpedo you with taxes, give them to Soros in Brazil, so they can profit.
    Shoot down the Democrat Voter Recruitment Act (aka Dream Act)? Torpedo that with executive order.
    Don’t like the Marriage Protection Act? Torpedo the notion the executive should enforce all the laws.
    Don’t like black militants threatening voters? Too bad, Torpedo the idea of equal protection.

    How many laws does Micky’s Barry have to break or ignore before there’s accountability?
    Ever notice liberals embrace prejudice and discrimination, as long as it’s them doing it?
    And that every thing they do is based on bad moral judgment rationalizing a prejudice as grounds to discriminate?

  • Micky

    June 27, 2011

    He aint my Barry buddy !

  • Dale

    June 27, 2011

    You named the piece of shit, now live with it. He’s all yours.
    May I recommend a flush?
    Good essay, EJ.

  • Micky

    June 27, 2011

    I have names for lots of people.
    Names that reflect they’re being birthed out my asshole instead of a womb.
    Whatever, in that case, I guess you’re right, I own that shit.

    Funny, a while back when we had all the calls for civility over the Tuscon shootings that were supposedly the actions of some far right militia retard i called Barack “Barry” and these fucking moonbats snapped as if I called him a whoring nigger.
    I thought “Barry” was appropriately civil in those sensitive times. But nooooo…
    Cant say shit around these hypersensitive pussys without them shittin themselves but then as you mentioned can rationalize a prejudice as grounds to discriminate when it suits them.
    For calling him ‘Barry’ I was immediately cast as a ‘white trash trailer park livin red neck cracker’.

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