the first parachuting nurses, changing technology and worshipping false gods

A nurse parachutist, having jumped, is about to open her parachute.

One of the first parachute nurses. WHO/Red Cross photo.

The first parachute nurses WHO/Red Cross photo.

The first parachute nurses WHO/Red Cross photo.

While it is great that the WHO/Red Cross makes these photos available, they do not supply dates. As best i can find out these nurses may have been part of the Emergency Flight Corps (1933) or the Aerial Nurse Corps of America (1936), both started by Lauretta M Schimmoler (1900-1981).

How Technology Is Destroying Jobs

Given his calm and reasoned academic demeanor, it is easy to miss just how provocative Erik Brynjolfsson’s contention really is. ­Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee have been arguing for the last year and a half that impressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. Even more ominous for workers, the MIT academics foresee dismal prospects for many types of jobs as these powerful new technologies are increasingly adopted not only in manufacturing, clerical, and retail work but in professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine.

That robots, automation, and software can replace people might seem obvious to anyone who’s worked in automotive manufacturing or as a travel agent. But Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s claim is more troubling and controversial. They believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States. And, they suspect, something similar is happening in other technologically advanced countries.

The issue addressed should be of concern, especially since economic policy and cultural attitudes about work in the U.S., Canada and western Europe is driven by right of center Chicago school of economics. Though one of the things that bothered me was the possibility this gives to the far Right to use as another excuse. As in oh well, no sense passing any Keynesian economic incentives because they are of no use in light of changing technology. Some basics still remain. If you start paying all  low wage workers at fast food places, Walmart, Target, Sears, etc a living wage they will spend more, thus drive more demand. Because of technology the multiplier effect might not be as great as the post WW II era, but fair wages would create jobs.

There are some good thoughtful comments. Some seeing the new age as an opportunity, if you get the education and training. The whole article and those comments are worth a click over.

And let me address this troll in the comments section, or the attitude and empty platitudes:

@kbillet The idea that reward is directly tied to how hard you work is definitely a mindset of a past generation. Compensation in today’s world is about your output, and the comparative cost of your labor. Also, many business owners have put their fortunes and lives on the line for a shot to make a business happen. As you mentioned yourself, not everyone has the skills, vision, and luck to pull that off. For those that make that leap, if they’re able to succeed (or at least successful be enough to employ a team of engineers and programmers), I have a hard time not justifying the return on the investment.

Isn’t that the essence of the American Dream? Or does fairness now mean that every one should be entitled to same pay regardless of contribution?

Since when is “how hard you work” not pretty much the same thing as “output”. Excepting those who run around appearing to keep very busy yet create little in terms of products or services, work is productivity. Why is it this guys never supply a modern example of some one who put their fortunes on the line. Would that be businessmen like George W. Bush who tanked three businesses and still came out OK because rich friends bailed him out. Would that be Mitt Romney who used other people’s money, including tax payers subsidies, drained businesses of profits then sold them off. After which which many went bankrupt. How about the Koch brothers who were born into wealth and just made some basic business moves that made them even more wealthy. They have not put their wealth on the line. If they wanted to they could live off the interests of their liquid assets for three lifetimes. Are all the CEOs who make millions a year regardless of profits, risk something? – what exactly, the cash to buy a third mansion. kbillet’s tunnel vision is all too common. Why isn’t a worker – say a skilled programmer, or sheet metal worker or fishing crew, risking everything by working for company B instead of company C. If that hero risk taker CEO at B screws up, he or she will still have millions ( most American workers are still recovering from the Great Recession, while corporate America is back to make per-recession profits).  The worker will have invested a year, five years or maybe twenty years with a company whose CEOs did not have the vision or the humanity to see how their decisions affected their workers. When we start thinking about inclusiveness, the connections and interdependence of people, that is the kind of fairness we should always be thoughtful of. He is implying some enforced socialistic dystopia, a corrupt ignorant hyperbole at the mere thought of economic justice incorporated into our economic system. Let’s not be mindful of how we conduct business in the world because there are these mythical John Galts who are doing everything, inventing everything, risking everything  – while the mindless lazy workers are hanging behind the shed smoking a doobie, instead of being down on their knees in gratitude for letting them ride the great man’s coattails.

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