How do we employ the 9% of our population that wants to work and can't find jobs? I don't think we can depend on our government to fix this. The corporations or too skittish to hire right now and you can't blame them. They don't want to have to lay off workers next year either. It is a tough problem and I don't think having an engineer in charge will solve it. Time may be the only solution to this problem.
Great comment. Cost reduction goes against the capitalist principle of investing more to produce and sell even more. The problem could be consumers don't know what electronics they want to buy anymore. There is not enough innovation beyond the smartphone or computer.
I dunno. It seems to me that the excuse that technology is taking away jobs has been used, and proved wrong, for too many years - even centuries. Instead, technology raises the standard of living for everyone in the economy, and it has resulted in periods of amazingly low unemployment. (Anything less than 4 percent unemployment is almost too low, I think, showing no workforce mobility. And we had such low levels not long ago.)
The current unemployment level was sudden, initially caused by an insane housing bubble that deservedly burst. Greed at all levels, and simply bad government policies. The government shoudn't have been guaranteeing loans when those loans should have been discouraged. That's just dumb. When a downturn happens so suddenly, I have to doubt that the cause is something that developed over decades, like "technology." Could be, but it seems very unlikely.
The reason unemployment persists? Ask businesses why they don't hire. A common refrain is, too much uncertainty. That too is caused by bad government policies. You don't hire new employees if you feel that new tax policies will cut you off at the knees in the next year or two.
Instead of blaming technology, which seems like the quintessential lame cheap shot, we should be investigating why the housing bubble existed in the first place, and what is giving business owners the jitters now. That's how you find the answers, I believe.
And people lashing out at grotesquely overpaid executives is an understandable reaction, no doubt, but I also don't see how that could cause persistent unemployment. Their little incestuous corporate boards, where they vote on each others' obscene annual compensations, should somehow be made illegal. But by itself, that won't fix the economy. It would merely right a wrong.
Simply (and well) said, Goafrit. There seems to be a growing understanding that North American companies (or companies in any advanced economies) need to pull manufacturing closer to home. Without design and manufacturing next to each other, problems quickly emerge.
Nice post. It is simply innovating at the top and not also at the bottom. That is what is happening in the U.S. I think Economist must not use the fact that technology is making tasks easier to justify that unemployment will remain high. The human species cannot be displaced by technology.
It is only man's decision that will displace us. U.S. does not have 9% unemployment because of technology, but rather, because of decision of business leaders. If all the factories we are building in Asia are in U.S., we will still have the technology and also the jobs.
So, the problem is not technology. It is simply capitalism that is not compassionate.
"what is the purpose of a business"
Unfortunately, the needs of the investor have recently risen to the top priority(over the needs of the customer, society, employees, etc...). That has lead to short term planning instead of long term planning (keeping customers and employees satisfied, Research and Development to stay relevent, etc...). This is a factor of the Wall Street churn and the reason the Executive Compensation has grossly outpaced employee compensation over the last 20 years (and the reason the middle class has suffered).