Is Your Job Obsolete? Are You?
Slowly it is dawning on people that the current economic slump is several crises intertwined: a financial crisis, a fiscal crisis, a housing crisis and simultaneously a restructuring of the economy due to technological change and global competition.
Labor unions, especially in the public sector, don't seem to understand that some government functions are going to go the way to typesetting at newspapers, door to door milk delivery and floppy disk manufacturing. One reason there is so little sympathy for demonstrating public employee unions in places like Wisconsin is that they seem to think they should have retirement and other benefits that are better than those of other workers.
What is happening in the private sector, meanwhile, is not just historic, but history speeding up. Recently I had dinner with four young men in their 30s. Each had a job, but not one had a job that existed ten years ago. Meanwhile, one sees the local video shop close and the live bank tellers and even grocery clerks diminish in number.
Many of us have gotten used to employment obsolescence. I operated an elevator as a college student once upon a time. Remember elevator operators?