The destruction of middle class jobs and the rise of massive unemployment supposedly caused by the advance of technology is the latest in a long list of lies fed to us by the corporate press, and with the blessings of high officials of the two major political parties and Wall Street executives, among many other members of the 1 percent.
We’re supposed to believe that 250 years after the beginning of the Industrial Revolution that technological advances are wiping out jobs in the USA to a degree greater than ever before. That’s a big whopper, pure and simple. But it’s also the propaganda the people behind this lie want you to believe. This same lie is also being used by the same people to hide the truth about job losses, historically high unemployment, government corruption, and the sad state of the US economy and how we got here.
Did anybody notice that nobody in China, Germany, Sweden or most other nations are insisting that technology has led to rising unemployment in those nations? Oh, that’s right. Those nations don’t have historically, persistent and high unemployment rates.
Let’s examine just one of those nations.
Despite technological advances, the number of jobs in China continues to increase. Why is it that technology is the cause of massive unemployment in the United States, but not in China? The answer is simple. Technology isn’t the culprit. It’s a lie.
Sure, jobs are always being wiped out by technology, but technology creates jobs, and typically more jobs than are destroyed in its advance. That’s been proven time and time again. Two centuries ago, the economist David Ricardo argued this, as did Karl Marx and thousands of others. In the long-run, this economic situation has never arrived, and it still hasn’t.
Take computers, for example. The rise of computers wiped out the typewriter industry, but created tens, and perhaps hundreds, of millions more jobs than the industry it replaced. It also created new industries, such as the Internet, and everything you can do with that. Computers also expanded old industries, such as surveillance and spying. Computer technologies have been applied to cell phones, the Kindle, the Nook, space technology, car technology and hundreds of other products.
Let’s take another example. Jobs have been eliminated in grocery stores by the rise of technology and its application to self-checking out. Sure this technology has eliminated some jobs, or at the least, allowed store management to not hire as many people as they might have in the absence of the new technology.
Despite of the relatively few jobs lost in retail stores, tens of thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands, or even more, people are manufacturing the new self-checkout machines, and tens of thousands of people have been hired and trained to maintain them. Those who are trained for maintenance live reasonably close to where the machines are used. Those who manufacture the machines, as well as the vast majority of parts, live in China and other low wage countries.
Fujitsu Corporation of Japan, for example, makes much of the self-checkout stands used in grocery stores here in the United States, but important component parts are made and assembled in China by Epsom and IBM, which are US corporations. Those are jobs that should be in the US.
The National Cash Register Corporation (NCR), whose stock is traded on Wall Street, has been a US company since 1888. The company used to manufacture cash registers in the United States.Those jobs are long gone.
Nowadays, NCR manufactures its retail and restaurant self-checkout machines in China (which are officially called “Retail and Restaurant Point of Sale hardware and software,” on the company’s website). NCR is the largest manufacturer in the world of ATM machines, and almost all of them are made in China, and well, maybe they’re all still made there. Last year NCR announced that a tiny number of jobs manufacturing ATM’s might be brought back to the USA, but there is no evidence that I’ve been able to find to suggest this has come to pass. So it’s likely that all of NCR’s ATM machines are still made in China. NCR also manufactures Airport Self-Service Kiosks and a bunch of other items in China. In fact, everything it produces (with the possible exception of that small number of ATMs) are manufactured in China.
I’ll cite just a few of the many items the company manufactures in China straight off the company’s website: For gas stations and convenience stores the company manufactures; “POS Terminals, POS Software, POS Printers, Fuel Controller, Back Office Software, Self Checkout.” Under the travel category, “Common Use Self-Service, Airport Kiosk, Hotel Check-In, Car Rental Software, Bus Check-In.” If this was fifty years ago, before the World Trade Organization, before all the free trade treaties, all of the company’s jobs would be in the United States.
NCR has more employees now than ever in its history, and this is especially true when you count the use of contractors and their employees in China. The technology produced by NCR has created more jobs than the old cash register business thirty years ago. Thousands of jobs were wiped out, but hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions more jobs have been created with the new technology.
Technology did not put those jobs in China. Low wages did. The ability to produce massive amounts of pollution did. The ability to use an essential slave labor force six to seven days a week, and up to sixteen hours per day and without overtime pay, put those jobs in China. But something else paved the way to export those jobs.
China’s admission into the World Trade Organization and the push by the US government to make China a recipient of most favored nation trade status helped put those jobs there. In other words, corporate purchases of political favors in the US political markets created the opportunities to take American jobs and place them in China, or created the legal opportunities to establish jobs there, rather than here.
US companies have moved millions of production, call-service centers, computer programming, and a host of other US jobs to China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and Mexico. That’s one of the truths that the “technology has created higher unemployment by destroying jobs” lie is supposed to distract us from discussing. And this is true for the impact of free trade treaties, which account for tens of millions of lost US jobs. Check out the graph below. It shows the number of US jobs exported since 1990, but free trade treaties had already led to the exportation of millions of jobs before then.
The difference between the old higher wages in the US and the new, lower, wages overseas goes into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and surging share prices. This shows that free trade is an income redistribution scam perpetrated and kept hidden by US government officials, the corporate press, various other corporate interests, and blundering Wall Street executives.
Wall Street investment firms push free trade treaties for a reason. Every publicly traded corporation must fairly consistently increase its profits every quarter. That way its stock price will rise, and this becomes the yardstick by which CEO performance is measured. The best way to keep profits rising is simply to cut wages. So Wall Street investment and corporate executives push this formula via free trade treaties. That’s another story the corporate press doesn’t want you to know.
The real reason for the historic lack of jobs and the lackluster economic recovery of the last five years is that free trade treaties and the exportation of jobs has redistributed massive amounts of income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent.
Currently, the 99 percent receive about 68 percent of all income produced in the US compared to roughly 92 percent thirty-three years ago. That means 99 percent of us have significantly less cash with which to purchase goods and services than three decades ago. The result is less transactions now than then because we can’t afford to buy as much stuff. This means lower job and wage growth. That’s precisely why the economy sucks now compared to when Jimmy Carter was president. During Carter’s four years as president, with an economy with 40 percent of the today’s GNP and 2/3’s the population, the economy averaged 230,000 new net jobs per month, which is considerably higher than any period over the last twelve years.
It’s also why the federal government coordinated (and used the illegal spying on US citizens by National Security Agency to help) the attacks on the Occupy Wall Street encampments a few years back. This is why there was a coordinated campaign to slime the participants of Occupy Wall Street before the police state crackdown. President Obama and other high federal and corporate people didn’t want us thinking about the perverse income and wealth redistribution over the last thirty-three years, so Occupy Wall Street had to go.
The 1 percent invest their cash in things, like political favors, gold, the futures markets, stocks and bonds, all of which tend to be parasitic to the rest of us. Many of these are tools are used to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. In other words, this income redistribution scam continues today so that, in the long term, the economy will only get worse for the 99 percent. And that’s another thing the elite of the 1 percent don’t want you to know.
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