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Thread: "They tirk err JERRRBBSS!"

  1. #1
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    "They tirk err JERRRBBSS!"

    Hopefully one of you got the Southpark reference here (it's "They took our jobs" by the way).

    A recent article by none other than Paul Krugman really brings to light something I've thought about for years now...a robot can do your job better than you can.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/op...rica&st=Search

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Krugman
    It is a truth universally acknowledged that education is the key to economic success. Everyone knows that the jobs of the future will require ever higher levels of skill. That’s why, in an appearance Friday with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President Obama declared that “If we want more good news on the jobs front then we’ve got to make more investments in education.”

    But what everyone knows is wrong.

    Well Mr. Krugman, they probably are wrong.

    For awhile now technology has removed low to mid-low level jobs like warehousing, assembly line, customer service support, etc. Recently we are finding that it can do what your average college student can do but better. Legal Zoom, for example, can basically do all your average legal work for you for almost nothing. Furthermore, things like Westlaw can do legal research better and faster than some young law student. Basically any job that doesn't involve a complex judgment call is better done by technology. Other examples include some lower level accounting jobs that can be better done by accounting software, medical diagnostics by high tech machinery, even several engineering jobs which can be better calculated by a computer.

    So the question becomes, does "investing" in education really become a worth-wild investment? Maybe it needs to be more narrowly focused? Would it also be wise to invest in education for other jobs technology can't fix which wouldn't be "college" related?

    Seems to me if we want to stop stinking it up we need to realize that handing out more college degrees is not the answer to our problems.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steeeeve View Post
    So the question becomes, does "investing" in education really become a worth-wild investment? Maybe it needs to be more narrowly focused?
    That's it exactly, I'm one of those that believes "lack of education" has little or nothing to do with high unemployment in the U.S. For those that do, the first thing they should do is specify the branch of education they're talking about. Do they mean general communication and math skills etc, or high tech knowledge like brain surgury and rocket science? Sales and marketing skills? Product knowledge, or entertainment knowledge?

    This reminds me of a thread I started almost 3 years ago. Never got any responses, but a discussion of that could possibly shed some light on changing times and employment opportunities. I think business and the job situation is still coming to terms with the recent, sudden impact of the www. It destroyed many businesses, and built many others.

    Would it also be wise to invest in education for other jobs technology can't fix which wouldn't be "college" related?
    I don't think so, simply because no one can see the future. I graduated high school in 1972, and entered a promising line of work - drafting (mechanical drawing). Roads, buildings, bridges, pipelines, machine parts, every thing needs plans drawn, and there will always be a demand for people to work at drawing boards with elbow type drafting machines, right? 6 years later the company I worked for got computers to do it. They still needed their 20 or so manual draftsmen, as they made the transition. Guess who was one of the first to bolt?

    Seems to me if we want to stop stinking it up we need to realize that handing out more college degrees is not the answer to our problems.
    I agree. Krugman (in your link)said the same in one of his closing paragraphs;

    But there are things education can’t do. In particular, the notion that putting more kids through college can restore the middle-class society we used to have is wishful thinking. It’s no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that you’ll get a good job, and it’s becoming less true with each passing decade.
    Then, he messes it all up by saying this;

    So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer — we’ll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.
    Who's we, I wonder? A big government that can see the future?
    Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

  3. #3
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    A big part of the problem here is that we have the federal reserve and the government working on concert to prevent the side of the economic cycle that actually benefits the consumer (deflation) from occurring.

    Capitalist theory says that multiple producers should be working diligently to find cheaper ways to produce better products at lower prices to win my business. Deflation should be a natural part of the capitalist cycle....with the consumer benefiting. Instead our entire system is set up so the minute there is any deflation...prices fall at all...we respond violently and aggressively to keep prices going up.

    Usually when you point this out, what you hear is something about Japans "lost decade". The thing is, if you actually look at japans lost decade, we should be so lucky as to suffer like that. Since their lost decade began (now 2 lost decades) their standard of living has shot through the roof, their current account surplus has more than doubled, the yen is up over 60%...indeed it has increased more than any other major currency, their internet connections are 10x faster than your average americans, hell, even their life expectancy has increased by 2 years.

    The thing is, the Japanese are actually doing it RIGHT. If you have a company, or companies, that automate their factories, thus creating a 65% reduction in production costs, prices for their goods SHOULD fall. As that happens on a nationwide level, there SHOULD BE wide scale deflation.

    As far as the idea of education really helping drag our economy back up...maybe...but a few things would have to happen first. First, we would have to do away with educational finance as we know it today. No more student loans, and colleges would have to become MUCH more affordable.

    Second, most of the degrees that we hand out at colleges today are pretty much worthless. We spend too much time on general ed and education that is not related to your major. Like anything you ever learn, if you do not use it, if it is not relative to your life, you will not retain it. I am a fairly intellectual guy who puts a great deal of emphasis on knowledge and education. I can not remember a single thing I learned in my college Brit Lit class. Why? Because it was completely and totally irrelevant to my life once I passed the class. Your brain is designed to dump excess information.

    Once we stop trying to provide a well rounded education that they forget the minute they are out of college, we can focus more on advanced degrees and advanced education. There is no reason that you should not be able to take 90% of college classes online....and get a degree from it. And it should be CHEAP.

    If we are going to focus on increased education to "fix" our economy, providing free online engineering classes to anybody who wants them would be an EXCELLENT first step. Providing more pell grants is just a waste of time.

    And Steeeve....dont get too cocky.....speaking of professions that have been replaced by computers, I know a LOT of business owners who have replaced their accountants with quickbooks. The biggest reason I still use an accountant is that quickbooks wont let me do some of the things I want to do with my taxes.....whoever programmed it did not realize that the tax code is actually very flexible. It is more like a guideline really
    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. —Samuel Adams

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by daewoo View Post
    And Steeeve....dont get too cocky.....speaking of professions that have been replaced by computers, I know a LOT of business owners who have replaced their accountants with quickbooks. The biggest reason I still use an accountant is that quickbooks wont let me do some of the things I want to do with my taxes.....whoever programmed it did not realize that the tax code is actually very flexible. It is more like a guideline really
    Oh I'm the first one in line to put myself out of a job. Quickbooks is the equivalent to a low to low/middle accountant. Luckily you always need a few to make Quickbooks work correctly for decisions that are not routine. Auditing is the same way.

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