I walked into a local grocery store the other day and realized it had been completely reorganized and remodeled. The biggest change was the checkout stations. There used to be about six checkout stations manned with people — now there are only two “manned” stations and the rest were replaced with computers.
Replacing people with machines and technology to do work has been going on for quite some time in manufacturing, science, technology, military, and customer service, at gas stations, toll booths, airports, and retailers (including on-line purchasing). Indeed, these machines are more efficient and less expensive than people, but I have to ask the question — if our population keeps growing or stabilizes at the current level and if our education system doesn’t pick up the pace, how we will keep employment up?
Alternatively, could we in fact use machines to do a large percentage of the work for us? If machines can do most of the work what could we do with more spare time?
The big question is — does economics serve the human being or does the human being serve economics? Why can’t we find jobs for people? Why aren’t companies hiring? Why are companies laying people off? Why do we have under-employment?
If we indeed serve economics, then we better start ramping up the “quality” of education or we are going to experience huge unemployment and social unrest – and we know where that leads.