Who the h*** is Ned Ludd you ask? He was a British hero…or terrorist depending I suppose on your wealth and beliefs, in England circa 1779. (yes- not long after our own original tea party). He started breaking into factories in England and destroying the weaving machines that were replacing human workers.
And he was ahead of his time. Because he addressed the elephant in the room that virtually NO one is willing to address today about the US economy, and more specifically, its jobs (or lack thereof).
I have seen many on the right trumpeting that manufacturing in the US is doing just fine. (as by the way- is the stock market). But here’s the rub. American manufacturing, for a solid decade plus now, has increasingly been replacing human workers with machines. This is true in virtually every sector- heck, even the mining industry now often has their giant dumptrucks driven by a machine- not a human.
And therin lies our problem. We, in America, have increasingly become a service economy. (though even that is changing- how many of you use an automated checkout at the grocery store or chain store? How many of you use a bank machine instead of a bank person? How many rent their videos from a machine- or through Itunes, Hulu, or download illegally rather then relying on your local video store. Download your books rather then buy a physical one and patronize a local bookstore or online seller?
You see- america, and the world has changed. Many of those “lost jobs” are never coming back- regardless of who runs the government.
And while he too refuses to publicly address the elephant in the room- at least Obama is looking towards a new economy. And it is going to take one h*** of a lot of work, and support to get there. But overwhelmingly the american people, the GOP, the right, and good chunks of the left are in denial. “well…if we just do this…” . IT isn’t going to work folks. There’s a new paradigm- too much has changed.
And of course we increasingly see the demise of main street and the rise of big box stores. Nearly every american need can now be met in a giant store. A giant store that has the power to force manufacturers to cut costs (outsorcing or mechanization). A giant store that often pays many of their employeesso little that despite working a full time job they still qualify (and need) for government assistance. Giant stores that kill multiple jobs in their commuities for every one they create. An of course- ALL of corporate america loves this- because their employees can be forced to survive cheaper- negating the need to pay their employees a reasonable salary.
So america can either face reality- and to what it once did so well- rise to new challenges. Or it can sit on its collective ass, blaming the other guy while watching the latest so called reality tv…and march proudly into the record books of the shortest lived major nation in world history.
The choice belongs to all of us. Are YOU up for the challenge? From what I see I increasingly think the answer is no.