of Advance

January 5, 2012

The Luddites were terrorists.
A obscure movement in early part of the 19th century in England, where a band of digruntled workers destroyed textile machinery in a vain attempt to stem the tide of the industrial progress that they perceived to be directly threatening their livelihoods.
If correct in that appraisal,
they were criminally misguided in their attempts to rectify it.
A few, lost their heads, literally.
Interestingly, with the exponential advance of high technology, the 21st century faces some of those same challenges but with much greater and widespread ramifications.
Had you been shortsighted enough, in the late 90’s, to have considered a travel agency a worthwhile investment or avenue to start your own small business…Priceline, Expedia, via the internet, had some very bad news for you.
Now what?
You move on, that’s what. You lick your wounds, reassess and, hopefully, recoup some of your losses and try your hand at something else.
I don’t think it is the responsibility of society to protect you from ill fated choices or ventures. That’s what insurance is for (your next venture, perhaps?). Besides, we have MUCH bigger problems on the horizon…
What will we do with the massive, leadened weight around our necks that is the US Postal Service, when it soon becomes obsolete? All it’s lifelong employees, many beyond the age of rehire or reintroduction into a workforce that…well…expects you to actually do some work. Their unions would insist we somehow keep them on. Regardless of how inefficient or irrelevant.
Or Kodak? Having missed the digital bus and now scrambling to compete in a market that is fast disappearing.
What happens when a single application, written by some industrious, ambitious, bespectacled troglodyte, in her basement, potentially can effectually replace the labours of, literally, thousands?
This is where I’m torn.
It seems to me that as this scenario plays out on many different plains, we are confronted with ever decreasing options for where those deposed, are to repose.
Where does the man, that spent the last twenty years of his life maintaining the machine that supported that other, bigger, machine…go, now that both machines are out of business?
The factor that put them out of business is now huge, prospering. Producing more efficiently and at less cost. The profits are greater and disbursed more selectively.
The Man is now bussing tables, making a very small percentage of what he once did and so is unlikely to indulge in whatever convenience the Machine he used to grease, once offered.
The common theme I hear often from the Conservatives is: “I’ve never gotten a job from a poor man”.
Ok, fair enough, but if the only job the rich man is offering is mowing his lawn or cooking his meals, cleaning his house, or washing his clothes, and there are now three times as many applicants for those jobs because his brilliant innovation saw to the end of their previous employment…and with that exponential growth of unemployed, less expendable income, who can afford his product?
Shouldn’t they…I cannot believe I’m even thinking this..as a factor of their own prosperity, insure those that are adversely affected by it? If only to, also, insure their own future?
As a student of history, I am increasingly less inclined to embrace the concept of trickle down economics. History just doesn’t seem to bear support for it. We seem to repeat the same cycle again and again. From the industrial revolution of the Victorian era and that of the trust barons of manifest destiny, the gap in prosperity between the working poor and the worked for, increases until a Prince Albert or Teddy Roosevelt fight to balance the scales.
I don’t believe that we have that kind of leadership currently and it’s becoming ever more likely that it will take a movement of masses to again adjust the tipping scales of fortune.
We recently have seen the spark of such a movement and I despair that it was ultimately absorbed by such degenerates, but a spark nonetheless…and where there is smoke…

2 Responses to “of Advance”

  1. K8 said

    “As a student of history, I am increasingly less inclined to embrace the concept of trickle down economics.”

    Well, you do have SOME sense, then.

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