Somebody once said “God must love poor people, he made so many of them”. Well, after all the poor people, he made a lot of middling people who used to get by just fine. Then all the better than middling people started making machines and the middling people are the ones whose jobs are being taken over.
Consider anything made out of metal. Making things out of metal used to be a skill. In the movie “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” Albert Finney is a metalworker. Sure he just pushes knobs and pulls levers, producing 1000 metal thingies a day, but it’s a job. Now there’s a machine that does the same job, 24 hours a day. What little skill Finney’s character had is now unwanted.
For years machines have been stamping parts out of metal, but there’s only so much you can do that way. Now plasma cutters and laser cutters, controlled by computers, churn out just about anything you could want. Saw blades, for instance, with any kind of teeth you like, ready for sharpening.
The only thing for people to do (except for the smart ones who program the machines) is to cart the finished product away and clean up the waste.
There will always be jobs for people who want to do fetching and carrying. And cleaning etc. But what about the middling people who are too smart for the menial jobs, but don’t have any middling jobs to do? When the factory floor is run by computers, you don’t need line supervisors. You don’t need paper chasers tracking everything when the computers are doing the tracking. You don’t need people creating reports when the data mining programs keep the top management informed.
Well, you can always have bureaucrats. The more you have, the more you tend to need. But even then, the purpose of bureaucracy is disappearing. There was real data to gather once, and real information to be transmitted. Sure it took about 10 times as many people as necessary to do it, but the work got done and they kept to themselves, pretty much.
Well, that’s all over. More and more the drones and droids will have to find other things to do, and they’re probably going to do it to the rest of us. And each other, of course.
There’s certainly plenty of scope. England is a country where you get a ticket for smoking in your van, if the functionary issuing the ticket decides that the van is your place of work. It’s illegal to smoke at work, you know. In the US it is now illegal to smoke in a hotel elevator. I can understand the hotel barring smoking wherever it wants, but who gets off making it illegal?
Idiots with clipboards, that’s who. Yes, “Middle America” (and Middle Everywhere Else) is coming to exact revenge on the rest of us for having real jobs.