Constitutional Libertarianism

Constitutional Libertarianism

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

No one is owed a job

The rise of the industrial age also gave rise to a new experience of entitlement.  "That's my job."

People have jealousy and with zealotry, been not just protective of jobs, but fiercely competitive about who is allowed to do them.

Even before there were machines competing for jobs, there were trade unions which tried to tell people what kind if people could do a certain type of job.  Often regardless of what the employer had to say about it.

Jobs have fallen into classism and reinforced it for centuries.  Always telling people they are good enough, or only people from that particular group could have a certain job or level of job.

Enter the machine.  Now people aren't just competing with other people for some jobs, they are competing with, and losing to, machines.

The first machines took the jobs of the "lower class" because they were complex enough only to perform the most basic and menial of tasks.  Greater society didn't pay too much attention because, well, lower class.  Though people considered as lower class certainly noticed.

Enter smart machines, computers.  Computers came to do the repetitive, soul sucking work of the number crunchers first.  Then they moved into other areas where they became a work multiplier, making one person so efficient with the aid of a computer to her able to do the work of three or four people without.

Now enter robotics.  Robotics are aimed at blue collar jobs initially, but the potential for them to reach into the white collar world is imminent.  Now the upper classes are sitting up and paying attention.

Of course, for reasonable, rational, and thinking people, robotics are an obvious win.  The problem is that most people are too busy feeling offended that robots are taking their jobs.  That is the entitlement mentality.  They assume that jobs are meant for people.

Not so.  When someone, anyone, starts a business, there are several things that need to be done.  The business owner decides which they can and should do and those things remaining become jobs needing to be filled.  But by whom?  Or maybe what?

To the business owner, it really doesn't matter if a person or a machine/robot does a job.  Cost, effectiveness and reliability are most important to them.  If a robot can offer the best solution to doing the job for less, done as well or better than a person could and more consistently, then the robot is the obvious choice.

The business does not owe any person a job.  The owner is not obligated to humanity to provide a means to make a living.

People are despondent about what they will do to make a living now if jobs go to robots.  The answer is easy but has been unnecessarily complicated by government, as usual.

The answer is self-employment.  People have been self-employed for a very long time.  However, our government has decided to make self-employment a nightmare by creating ridiculous regulations and expensive, largely unnecessary licensing that prevents many perfectly capable people from making their own job.

The "gig" economy and the "uberization" of many markets is leading change to make self-employment less of a difficult thing to do.  As a society, we became dependent on large companies and government doing everything for us.  Things like insurance, retirement savings, paid vacations and many other things we now take for granted began as perks and incentives used as a means to attract more and better potential employees to businesses.

Over time, labor unions, government bureaucrats and politicians stamped their feet and made such a fuss as to make these perks and bonuses into requirements.   That's all most people know now.

And now that is all changing.  The economy and markets are changing.  Technology has created the potential for an "at-will" society in which more people aren't locked into career paths just for the money.  People, with some retraining and imagination, can begin to do things as a means of making a living that is more fulfilling to them and within their interests.  We just need to get government and self-appointed authoritarian do-gooders out of the way.