Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Quick huddle on economics, k? Billy, you listening? Billy!


So here's the deal. There is a direct correlation between your financial status and your buying power. We agree on this, right? If you can buy things, you are doing well. If you cannot, you are not, economically speaking.

To which, your salary is only relevant in context. If you make $175,000 per year, but a car costs $150,000, you are probably poor. Similarly, if you make $30,000, while a car costs $600, you are probably rich.

But also, if you make $175,000 per year, but cannot buy a car, because cars do not yet exist, then you are also, in a sense, poor. In a sense, poor Americans of today are far wealthier than the rich denizens of bygone eras. Would you rather have a castle or internet access and indoor plumbing?

And so, when Barack Obama blames ATMs for job losses (or cites them as endemic of a broader trend, or whatever... I don't want to split hairs) he is doing so out of ignorance. ATMs are a luxury, for which we pay very little. These marvels of technology allow us to access our money whenever we need it.

As such, they improve our lives, and give we mere citizens more bang for our buck.

Obama is reverting to the old liberal mentality that automation is bad because it replaces the good old American worker. This is facile. I would note that, while many sectors are badly hurting, banking is not one of them.

Innovation makes our lives better. If robots could do everything, from harvesting food to getting us to and fro, we wouldn't need money. We'd be set. We would, of course, need people to fix the robots, and we would have to find a way to compensate them. They would be extremely well-off, the robot fixing people.

But robots can't do everything, and so we have to compensate people to do all sorts of things. That's how our economy works.

Easy access to my money means I can go shop or buy a skateboard, or upgrade my swans in farmville or whatever. That creates jobs. Machines that dispense money must be maintained by skilled employees. That creates jobs. The existence of ATMs gives young people a compelling reason to open a bank account. That creates jobs.

So, let's be clear. Automation does not kill jobs. Lack of purchasing power kills jobs.

Leave ATMs alone, dummy.


Anonymous Kb said...

Nice post!

2:18 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home