Young America's Foundation

Join Our Email List

  • New Guard Inner
  • Liberals Are Terrified of Change

    3/26/2013 11:04:32 AM Posted by Stephen Smoot

    Over a hundred years ago, as legend has it, man battled machine during the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.  Railroad companiesJohn Henry Monument had to burrow through mountains to extend their lines westward. Until the Industrial Revolution, men performed this dirty and deadly task by hand.  They battled the dust and the mountain with 14 pound hammers. As the story goes, a salesman showed up at Big Bend Tunnel in West Virginia to show how a steam engine could work faster than a team of men.  Perhaps with an eye towards protecting the jobs of his fellow diggers, the mountainous John Henry volunteered to take on the machine.  

    The legend says that John Henry beat the machine, but blew up his heart in the process.  And, thus, machines took over from man.  In the long run, the steam engines of the Industrial Revolution brought more prosperity to American companies and workers than they ever enjoyed when working by hand. Now that the robotic revolution may be upon us, some are spreading the alarm that robots will take the jobs now needed by unskilled laborers and young people.  History tells us that advances spur opportunities for the young instead of diminishing them.

    National Journalism Center graduate Luca Gattoni-Celli reported this week in American Spectator that Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes took his cues from the "Luddites" who once smashed their looms, fearing automation. Gattoni-Celli writes

     Kroft’s piece focuses on machine learning, which allows computer systems to use trial and error to understand how to process information and complete tasks. His main interview subjects are two MIT business school professors who published a book called Race Against the Machine in 2011. Their thesis is that robotic systems, which can be hardware or solely software, are fundamentally undermining the labor market’s recovery from the Great Recession. Robots are permanently replacing mid-skilled domestic (and, increasingly, unskilled foreign) workers; the rate of technological innovation is so high that workers are having trouble retraining and adapting to the changing economy. Though the story also notes that U.S. manufacturing employment has increased in the last few years, it emphasizes a narrative worthy of Ned Ludd.

    Gattoni-Celli added that

    The Luddites were wrong to destroy looms two centuries ago because technology increases productivity, and thus wages, but also creates new opportunities and industries that ultimately dwarf the short-term losses of creative destruction. It is this process of radical transformation that yields radical increases in human welfare.

    Resistance comes not only from the media, but also the Obama Administration.  A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article described how academics working on developing robotic laborers argued against skeptical attitudes from officials concerned about job losses.  Henrik Christiansen of Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing said that producing advanced robotics requires skilled manufacturers that only the United States and a few other countries produce.  The manufacturing sector would expand because someone has to build the robots.

    Increases in productivity, profits, entrepreneurship, and jobs will go hand in hand.

    Writers of utopian and dystopian books have devoted thousands of pages to the potential altruistic benefits or nightmares connected to technological advances. Both extremes are wrong. History shows that with each major step forward that chances to thrive increase. Young people today understand, for example, the power of the internet to drive opportunity.  Imagine yet another technological breakthrough on that scale within a lifetime!

    Liberals, however, fear change. Growth of prosperity, opportunity, and wealth brings independence to each individual. No greater threat exists to the liberal status quo of expanding individual dependence and government control. 

    Stephen A. Smoot is Director of Academic Programs at the National Journalism Center

     

    • Readers' Comments

    • Ya ever notice that lesiftt demonstrations usually end up in violence? Why is that? What do they hope to accomplish? Doesn't it make sense to think that instigating violence turns people off to their cause?
      Posted by Francis on 04/24/2013
    • T14LxZ , [url=http://oudieqknkgoh.com/]oudieqknkgoh[/url], [link=http://tgogmfjyxuft.com/]tgogmfjyxuft[/link], http://yhtqekpugpzh.com/
      Posted by zrlvfqfvocm on 04/26/2013
    • oGXVRh <a href="http://nnyfoplyxvev.com/">nnyfoplyxvev</a>, [url=http://fxxuhwnewoxd.com/]fxxuhwnewoxd[/url], [link=http://fcljsiouqhrg.com/]fcljsiouqhrg[/link], http://nlujdedwftxh.com/
      Posted by upwgai on 05/23/2013
    • Remember the Arab oil embargo of 1973, the Iranian revolution in 1978 and the Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 that pair of global oil crisis my website logos for criminal justice salem state college: criminal justice courses.
      Posted by Dixon on 07/31/2013
    • I think if the Tories came that close to a majority that would plaobbry be able to get one from there. All they would have to do is a bribe a few opposition members to cross the floor and promise them cabinet posts and if that doesn't work, give some patronate appointments to those in ridings they nearly won as the Tories have the most motivated base so they tend to perform better in by-elections than general elections. Also there is the Independent factor. If Andre Arthur, Helena Guergis, or James Ford get elected, the Tories could plaobbry count on their votes or if needed ask them to join their caucus. As for the coalition, the Liberals are not stupid enough to try it again unless the election is really close. If the Tories won by only 10 seats then it might happen, but otherwise I doubt it will happen despite what some are saying.
      Posted by Abegail on 08/10/2013
    • Jerry I am not sure but I feel that at 61 years of age I can decide <a href="http://cixgoqbv.com">whhteer</a> or not to look at a naked woman; I can further decide if I want to hear or read nasty words. El Rocinante has a huge reader base and for the most part gives good opinions. I think Tony is doing well in accepting the opinion of another writer. The thing that I find interesting is that <a href="http://cixgoqbv.com">whhteer</a> I like the format or not they are right in the assessment of what is going on in Harlingen. This is a nasty little town full of hate. If you do not consider what Kori said hateful well I will have to disagree with you. I do not care how mad I am I would not make a negative statement about the group of people who give us our freedom. I do not care how mad I was I could not disrespect Gina Shipp and her son’s memory in the audience simply because I had to insult Robert Leftwich. There is always a line you simply can not cross and if you do be prepared to suffer the consequences. The disdain which was displayed by Kori towards the city citizens was an insult to each and every one of us.
      Posted by Alexander on 08/10/2013
    • BUOpuZ <a href="http://cbsbynizhbni.com/">cbsbynizhbni</a>, [url=http://nucagbdumjht.com/]nucagbdumjht[/url], [link=http://cerlbjjwspvg.com/]cerlbjjwspvg[/link], http://eawmtugtpoma.com/
      Posted by xpeujko on 05/29/2014
    • BUOpuZ <a href="http://cbsbynizhbni.com/">cbsbynizhbni</a>, [url=http://nucagbdumjht.com/]nucagbdumjht[/url], [link=http://cerlbjjwspvg.com/]cerlbjjwspvg[/link], http://eawmtugtpoma.com/
      Posted by xpeujko on 05/29/2014
    Leave a comment
    Name
    Email
    Comment
Copyright 2013 Young America's Foundation | 110 Elden Street, Herndon, VA 20170 | Ph. 1.800.USA.1776 | Fax 703.318.9122
www.yaf.org | www.reaganranch.org | www.nationaljournalismcenter.org