Sunday, May 26, 2013
Letter to the Editor
How can we create jobs for people, not just in Maine, but for people in the United States and worldwide?
I read the article in the Jan. 27 newspaper with the headline: "It's man vs. machine." The story explains how computer and robot technology developed during the past 30 years can create more goods using fewer workers, thus reducing production cost. Most of the money saved goes to the top 5 percent.
For a long time, we thought that this efficiency allowed people to produce more, thus improving our quality of life -- people could afford more and better things.
Now, however, most people are paid less for the work they do, and many people who want to work can't find a job at all.
With less purchasing power, they can't afford to buy the "better things" that they might like to buy. This reduces demand. This also eliminates jobs. It is not good for the overall economy.
My father, born in 1900, grew up on a farm. Invention of the internal combustion engine and petroleum products made farmers more productive so fewer were needed.
He left the family farm in his early 20s to become a truck driver for the Gulf Oil Corp., delivering fuel oil to businesses and homes. Before World War II, his work week of six 10-hour days changed to six eight-hour days, then five eight-hour days, without a reduction in weekly pay.
He soon was given paid vacation time and health insurance. After World War II, we had full employment and fair wages for decades. Wealth was shared. Quality of life improved.
What could the big corporations and the government do now to create full employment at fair wages? This would increase demand for products -- better for everybody.