It's not just a catchy title, I'm serious. I think everything about our global recession and ballooning unemployment rate can be traced back to those shiny guys from the Terminator, and it's driving me crazy that the media hasn't latched onto this yet.
I've been a consultant to large manufacturing companies for nearly 6 years now. And I can tell you that nothing in my work is as awe inspiring as walking into a giant manufacturing plant where they make plastic, or stamp computer chips, or mold metal, or process foods. The machinery is everywhere and it is massive. And each machine lowers the bottom line for it's owners, which lowers the price for the consumers, which allows our American companies to compete with the Chinese, which allows our stock portfolios for those companies to rise. Yes, capitalism is thriving in these massive companies that have the robots.
But do you know what's missing in these plants? People. One machine does the job of fifty employees, works 24 hours a day, and requires just a few employees a shift to manage, maintain and operate it. And the machines aren't just replacing manufacturing jobs; my career revolves around implementing automation software. So now with a few programmed algorithms the secretary, the buyer, the inventory manager - all these occupations are becoming obsolete as the responsibilities are being undertaken by drones that work for nothing. By slaves.
Now I know some of you are really thinking I've lost it. That at any moment I'm going to demand that we release these poor overworked robots into the wild. That we should go back to a time when we had hardworking men and women in factories. I'm not going to say that. Not even a little bit. I'm glad our economy has this new workforce. They truly are a sign of progress and are absolutely the future of our world.
So let me get to my point. Who owns these robots? Who bought these slaves from the robot manufacturers - admittedly, another key component of the economy - and put them to work? In some cases it's the company owners. In other cases it's the company's shareholders. These are the key people who reap the benefits of the robot labor. And they rake it in. They don't have to pay the robots/slaves salary, health care, benefits - hell they work for the power of.. power. There's virtually no turnover. And aside from occasional maintenance, they never get sick. And as I pointed out earlier, the bottom line falls and the company prospers. The owners really prosper. And the TOP 01% really, really prospers. That's why you see those exponential bar graphs that really piss off the protesters on Wall Street. The rest of us make out ok too; we see lower prices for our plastic, for our computer chips, and for our microwavable pastas. But we don't see the same kind of return that the guy who owns the slave-labor does.
Now I've intentionally made many allusions to slavery in this blog and my reasoning is to remind us of our history. I don't believe the reason the South reminisces on Dixie and the pre-civil war confederacy is because they're racist. They just remember how good it was when they were the slave-owners. When they were the plantation managers. When they were the 01%.Those were GREAT times for the southern economy. And if you weren't black, that wealth really did spread around.
With the new robot workforce we have an opportunity to build a utopia here on american soil. Capitalism will still run the country, but we must institute a tax on the slave owners. Yes, you might even call it a "robot tax" on the wealthiest 1% of persons who - as they grow their businesses - won't employ more people, but will buy more automated machinery to turn more profit. The revenue from this tax should be used to rebuild our country's infrastructure. Education, pubilc works... Hell, you can even use it to build bombs and to pay soldiers to go to war. I don't really care. But those robots aren't going anywhere. They're just going to keep on working, continue earning their owner's a fat pay day, and perpetually put american workers out of a job. And as long as a robot tax / slave tax doesn't exist to keep our people working, the circle will continue indefinitely. And the American economy will be kept out of the loop.