In keeping with my “pro-robot” (pro-automation) posts I thought I’d stick up some photos.
What do you see? I see five women in funny hats that are working their ass off. They will all have a sore back tomorrow morning.
What do you see? I see three guys and three horses all working like dogs. (I also see gears and pulleys that look like they’d rip an arm off in a heartbeat… but that’s another topic.)
What do you see? I see four people working in air conditioned cabs… assisted by a massive amount of technology.
This is where one faces the classic is the glass “half full” or “half empty” paradox.
If you’re down in close to the action it is possible to look at the first two photos and the last one and see eight jobs turning to three. What a nightmare! “What will happen to those poor people who no longer have their delightful peasant occupation? Also what about the horses? Who will care for the horses!”
From a distance I’m pretty sure that most people who once had to harvest wheat by hand very much preferred doing something else. The Amish and a few hippies aside… hand harvesting is hard, dirty, hot, backbreaking labor. Machines have improved our lives.
Remember that when the labor rate goes high enough to put a bunch of McDonalds employees out of work and politicians blovate about how that’s a bad thing and if you vote for them they’ll “fix” it. It’s only a bad thing if the only thing you think those folks are good for is flipping burgers. I tend to think most people, given the choice, might be capable of a whole lot more.