Here’s a title that I might, or might not, read. I’m just not sure.
The book is Eat People And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs, and Andy Kessler is trying to make sense of this current employment climate even as he argues for bold entrepreneurship. On the Amazon page, we read this:
The era of easy money and easy jobs is officially over. Today, we’re all entrepreneurs, and the tides of change threaten to capsize anyone who plays it safe.
And in his op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, Is Your Job an Endangered Species? Technology is eating jobs—and not just obvious ones like toll takers and phone operators. Lawyers and doctors are at risk as well, Kessler summarizes his main points.
Technology is eating jobs—and not just toll takers.
Tellers, phone operators, stock brokers, stock traders: These jobs are nearly extinct. Since 2007, the New York Stock Exchange has eliminated 1,000 jobs. And when was the last time you spoke to a travel agent? Nearly all of them have been displaced by technology and the Web. Librarians can’t find 36,000 results in 0.14 seconds, as Google can. And a snappily dressed postal worker can’t instantly deliver a 140-character tweet from a plane at 36,000 feet.
So which jobs will be destroyed next? Figure that out and you’ll solve the puzzle of where new jobs will appear.
Forget blue-collar and white- collar. There are two types of workers in our economy: creators and servers. Creators are the ones driving productivity—writing code, designing chips, creating drugs, running search engines. Servers, on the other hand, service these creators (and other servers) by building homes, providing food, offering legal advice, and working at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Many servers will be replaced by machines, by computers and by changes in how business operates. It’s no coincidence that Google announced it plans to hire 6,000 workers in 2011.
I think I agree with his accusation labeling technology as the culprit regarding the loss of many jobs. My complaint is that he somehow thinks less regulation is the answer to creating more jobs. Maybe he is right – but what I suspect is something else. We simply don’t know where the future kinds of jobs are going to come from. And since we don’t know, we need some-place/some-one to blame for the loss of so very many jobs.
I, for one, don’t believe that the blame should be placed at the feet of regulation, or government intrusion. Yes, place plenty of the blame on technology… too much that has been done by human beings, in product making and process systems, can now be done, is being done, or soon will be done by some form of technological advance. The number of people needed to do what used to be done by many, many, many more people will keep dwindling.
And then (the question rises again), where will the jobs be?