Technology and productivity are the biggest reasons why many jobs have simply vanished, including that of the elevator operator. In today’s Wall Street Journal, Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor makes an argument of why blaming India and China is an easy copout and why we are losing jobs.
bq. Want to blame something? Blame new knowledge. Knowledge created the electronic gadgets and software that can now do almost any routine task. This goes well beyond the factory floor. America also used to have lots of elevator operators, telephone operators, bank tellers and service-station attendants. Most have been replaced by technology. Supermarket check-out clerks are being replaced by automatic scanners. The Internet has taken over the routine tasks of travel agents, real-estate brokers, stock brokers and accountants. With digitization, high-speed data networks and improved global bandwidth, a lot of back-office work can now be done more cheaply abroad. Last year, companies headquartered in the U.S. paid workers in India, China and the Philippines almost $10 billion to handle customer service and paperwork.
Reich makes some really good arguments, and I surprised myself when I found nodding my head in agreement with the guy. But recommend this article to anyone who wants to know what to do about the job loss scenario.