My last post looked at the major theme of automation putting people out of work.
Part of the problem I noted was the demise of unskilled or semi-skilled manufacturing jobs that no longer paid middle class incomes. I wonder where ethics went somewhere in the last 30 years as it became “every man for himself.”
Henry Blodget, one of the calmest and most astute writers on economics I read, recently had two blog posts backed up by data on the economy. How to Fix the Economy in One Simple Chart and Tax Cuts for the Rich Won’t Fix the Economy reveal the demise of the middle class–the class that provides customers to the businesses of the rich.
Recently I tweeted a link to one of these Blodget articles and Eddie Habibi, CEO and founder of PAS, replied via Twitter, “Agreed. Here’s an idea. Put your employees first.”
Respect for people should be a core value for us all. In everything we do. Automation does displace some people’s jobs. Sometimes we’ve been in such a race to automate and save a few bucks’ worth of labor cost that the automation is misplaced. On the other hand, there are many instances where automation makes the workplace safer and more efficient. Automation also provides for jobs–often better jobs.
This may seem like two thoughts. Put it this way. There are reasons to automate. But we have choices. We can choose where it’s best. We can also choose respect for all our employees and treat them fairly even as we automate some things.
Same work, different way of doing things. There's a reason we don't make drawings with a pencil and straight edge anymore. The same idea goes for manufacturing and automation as the drafter and computers+CAD.