“You don’t have to train machines”

“Sometimes I get the distinct feeling I’m something the economy is trying to scrape off its shoe.” New York Times reader, commenting on a June 9, 2011, article: Companies spend on equipment, not workers.”

It’s the kind of story where you understand the logic behind it, the corporate decision-making process. But you can’t help being depressed about it.

You know why it’s happening. You just wish it weren’t.

“Workers are getting more expensive while equipment is getting cheaper, and the combination is encouraging companies to spend on machines rather than people.”

“’I want to have as few people touching our products as possible,’ a managing director of Minnesota company says in a June 11, 2011, New York Times article. ‘Everything should be as automated as it can be. We just can’t afford to compete with countries like China on labor costs, especially when workers are getting even more expensive.’

“Culling the résumés takes three days, he says. Then he must make time to interview applicants, and spend $150 for each drug test. ‘Once a worker is hired, that person must complete a federally mandated safety program, which (our company) pays an outside contractor a flat fee of $7,000 annually to handle. Finally, (our company’s) best employees spend several months training the new hire, reducing their own productivity.’

“‘You don’t have to train machines,’ he observes.”

Another reader commented: “Though you may not like it, it is NOT a corporation’s mission to create jobs. A corporation is formed to make profits and create wealth. People are going to have to watch global trends and choose their profession wisely.”


About janarzooman

Freelance writer and editor. View all posts by janarzooman

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