Posted by: coastcontact | February 14, 2015

Is it Greed or Simply Evolution?

Scrooge McDuckGreed: a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed. That is the Merriam-Webster definition.

When I was a boy reading comic books there was a character in the Donald Duck series named Scrooge McDuck. He loved money and the cartoon showed him rolling in dollar bills and dancing on the money. That was a characterization of some people in this world. Was that greed?

The stock market continues to hit new highs every several months. The S&P 500 reached another new high on Friday, February 13, 2015. Apple Computer shares are at or near their highest level ever. Most people do not own enough stocks to feel a significant impact. The wealthy, whose source of income is the stock market, are the beneficiaries of this situation.

Meanwhile BBC.com and Fareed Zakaria GPS reports the findings of Oxfam, an anti-poverty group, that the combined wealth of the world’s richest 1% will overtake that of the other 99% of the world’s population by 2016. Furthermore the richest 80 people in the world have collected the same amount of wealth as the bottom 3.5 million people-$1.9 Trillion.

There are two facts that are slowly destroying the middle class and causing even greater harm to blue collar laboring classes.

  1. Without government involvement jobs are performed at the lowest pay rate which moves jobs to the poorest countries.
  2. Technology enables employers to replace workers performing repetitive work with a machine.

These are not new facts. Queen Elizabeth I (queen of England 1558–1603) denied a patent for the first knitting machine in 1589. It was denied because of her concern for the security of the kingdom’s many hand knitters.

Robots install rivets on a 2015 Ford F-150

Robots install rivets on a 2015 Ford F-150

Paul Wiseman of the Associated Press posted an article titled “Robots replacing workers at a faster pace”. The report was replicated by many news media outlets including ABC, Fox Business, etc. The article said “A new report says that cheaper, better robots will replace human workers in the world’s factories at a faster pace over the next decade, pushing labor costs down 16 percent.” The mechanization has impacted only 10% of the possible uses for robots. 90% of the changeover is still in the future.

Recently two public parking lots I had occasion to use had no pay clerk at the exit. The system was automated. Soon there will be no one to take your order at McDonald’s.

I could go on with more examples of lost jobs thanks to technology or replacing middle income workers with low paid workers but you already understand the point I am making.

The question to candidates for the next president of the United States is what will you do to change the obvious decline in the income of the majority of Americans? You ought to ask your congressional representative and senators that same question.

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