The company is selling its cost-savings and margin-boosters, not just its benefits for customers sick of waiting for the bill, to businesses. First and foremost: lower labor costs…
Annie Lowery, This Waiter Doesn’t Need a Tip: How restaurants will use tablet computers to replace servers. – Slate.com.
In an ongoing series of posts over the last couple of years, I have asked “where will the jobs be?” I have presented synopses of a number of books (practically all of the best sellers) on the financial crisis of recent history. But the problem that bothers me the most is this: more than the mortgage crisis, the Wall Street crisis, the European/Greek crisis, the real crisis is the disappearance of jobs for the hard-working high school graduates.
In Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed our Futures and What We Can Do About It, Don Peck (author of the widely read Atlantic article, Can the Middle Class Be Saved?), writes this:
“Forty years ago, thirty years ago, if you were one of the fairly constant fraction of boys who wasn’t ready to learn in high school, there were ways for you to enter the mainstream economy,” says Henry Farber, an economist at Princeton. “When you woke up, there were jobs. There were good industrial jobs, so you could have a good industrial, blue-collar career. Now those jobs are gone.” And men have yet to adjust.
In 1967, 97 percent of thirty-to fifty-year-old American men with only a high-school diploma were working; in 2010, just 76 percent were.
In her 2010 Atlantic essay “The End of Men,” the journalist Hanna Rosin posed the question “What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men?”
From 97% to 76% is quite a drop! Where did these jobs go? Robert Reich attributes the problem primarily to “automation.” He wrote this in Aftershock – The Next Economy and America’s Future:
The problem was not simply the loss of good jobs to workers in foreign nations but also automation… Remember bank tellers? Telephone operators? The fleets of airline workers behind counters who issued tickets? Service station attendants? These and millions of other jobs weren’t lost to globalization; they were lost to automation. American has lost at least as many jobs to automated technology as it has to trade.
I have little worry about the future of the better-educated (though, even the jobs for this group are not quite as plentiful and well-paying as they were just a few years ago). The much bigger worry is for the “lesser-educated.” And the problem is that, literally, there are not enough jobs left for this group. (See the quote at the top; now even wait staff will be reduced by technology).
So, as I keep asking, “where will the jobs be?”