Letter: Man vs. machine

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Editor of the Reformer,

How do you have a consumer economy without consumers?

I refuse to use EZ Pass because my uncle raised a family of five working as a toll collector of the NJ Turnpike. Monday driving back to Vermont on the NY Thruway I waited in line two minutes because there were four EZ Pass lanes and only one human toll collector. When I mentioned ...

"Never get EZ Pass ... save your job."

"You'll have to next year ... they're eliminating these jobs."

Driving across Route 7 then 9 enjoying the beauty of the fall foliage, I was upset thinking how fortunate I have been to get a job — flipping hamburgers to a profession — without the former never would have obtained the latter. Thought about how I refuse to use ATMs or self service check outs: save jobs.

This morning NPR had a story about drones doing deliveries: the above question.

What happens to all of the jobs: delivery people, drivers, cabs to trucks and all the other jobs technology has and will displace.

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Money is a means, not an end. A vehicle moving hand to hand allowing the human interaction known as commerce. Economic 101 teaches multiplier effect: economies grow as more and more people participate as money passes hand to hand. More hands the better.

What is happening now is less hands as people with money instead of hiring workers buy machines. Granted machines must be maintained, but they don't eat, dress, buy houses or cars. So the economy has one person servicing five EZ Pass booths instead of five human toll collectors. Granted maybe EZ Pass technician makes more money than two or three toll collectors, but he/she doesn't eat five times the food, wear five times the clothes, buy five houses or drive five cars. Probably doesn't even drive to work but works from home not buying gas or electricity for the car or taking the bus or train. How many ATMs can one tech service?

Get it? We don't have jobs we don't have consumers, and the whole economy and the country ends up going down the toilet. Will there be robot plumbers?

To have a healthy economy and society, it is worth waiting. Waiting in line to pay a toll, buy things or get money from the bank, my time is less valuable than people being able to support themselves and their family with respect and the self worth of having a job brings.

It is "We the people ..." not "Me, the people ... "entitled to "life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness." We are all in the same sinking boat and all must bail. If the rich take all the pails we're sunk.

"Work is as much a necessity to man as eating and sleeping." — W. Humboldt 1784-1855

Dean Lynch

Westminster West, Oct. 23


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