by June T. Bassemir
I’m no great economist but in thinking about lost jobs, surely it is happening because of the current technology and the Internet.
It must have been the same way when the car was introduced and the horse and buggy was not used for travel anymore. That invention put many people out of business including the blacksmith, the wheelwright, the farmers that grew the hay/ alphalfa, the carriage makers, the lantern maker, the people that made the metal box heaters and maybe even those who manufactured those nice wool carriage robes to warm the feet. The only difference is that this technology is happening faster and faster whereas it took decades for the automotive industry to supply everyone with a car or two, thus reducing the horse to a recreational role.
In my lifetime and over the last ten years I have seen many jobs lost and I can see more to come due to this technology. Take the maps that used to be available at the AAA store. It was such a delight to go there and ask for help in mapping out the proposed trip out West. A little spiral group of maps marked on each page, called a Trip Tick, gave us explicit roads to take from page to page. Now, with the GPS there is no need for these maps and no doubt the number of employees who used to map them out for us, is reduced... or none at all as they have lost their jobs.
The tie industry is dying because men don’t really need to meet the public and be dressed for the office anymore as lots of men work from home. The tie and the anchor of the tie tac was a necessity of not so long ago but now if the tie flaps and dribbles into the soup it gets discarded for an open neck or a logo printed T shirt. That put the designer of the tie, the manufacturer of the material, the artist who designed it, the tie tac, the men at the SWANK company and the women who sat at the sewing machines, not to mention the salesman who sold them, out of business.
Let’s talk about the telephone... oh my!... what a change there! All that plastic that used to make a telephone has visibly disappeared. No longer do we even have to lift the receiver when it rings... we just need to press a button. Think of the wires that went into the old design. And then the subject is compounded because telephones now are also cameras. And that leads us into discussing film which is getting harder and harder to find. My old camera was so good but what good is it without any film or without the man/woman to do the developing? How are they supporting themselves? How ‘bout all the photo albums with their empty black pages or the more recent plastic sleeves for the pictures to occupy? Did the manufacturer have other jobs for those people?
We hear the expression of trickle down economy and I know what that means. It means when folks don’t have a job, they stop buying unnecessary items and only buy the necessities of life. Take the antique business and those that sell beautiful things for the table, of yesteryear. Now it may be a stretch for you to realize that these folks are going out of business and are looking for other ways to put money in their pockets because of technology.... but think about it. Why do we need to entertain anyone for dinner or for a party when all we need to do is text our friends instantly to see what they thought of the latest political speech or what our favorite baseball team did in last night’s game? Entertaining our friends and family has taken a back seat to instant communication through technology.
The typewriter is gone, the ribbons for it – gone. Thank goodness there is still paper but how long will that continue?
Banking...that’s another story. I am resisting paying bills online but most folks do their banking that way thus reducing the number of tellers needed at the bank. More jobs lost.
What about the Post Office? Who ever thought that would go out of business? Certainly not me, who looked forward to the letters that filled my mail box and lifted my day of housework and motherhood with joy. Today it’s a special day to note in my Day Book when a real true-to-life-letter is received instead of the junk mail that goes directly from the mail box to the recycle bin in the garage. The computer with easy to use e-mail is the culprit and very soon the mail lady will join her predecessor, the Pony Express rider in obscurity. That’s a large lot of people out of work.
Books....will they really go away? Even now, the publishing agent is selling apples on the street because who needs him or her when they can self publish? You might think the Library would be closing too, but fortunately they have taken another direction and have thought of other ways to remain open. Cafes and plush chairs for the public where they can read a book with Kindle is one way.
Now: for the real serious part of this dispatch. Technology has certainly changed our lives and one has to ask if it has been for the better. For those of us who can remember a slower pace of life, we think technology has some serious drawbacks especially for the young minds so immersed in it. It has introduced an open door for evil, hatred, and sin to sneak in. There’s no need to spell it out here..... you know what I am talking about but...... I don’t remember bullying and suicide before the Internet arrived. Only time will tell what the real path of technology will bring to all of us. Will it eventually be a balance of good or will that scale continue to weigh us down?
June Tuthill Bassemir is the widowed mother of four and grandmother of 10. An artist and writer, she volunteers as a docent in a 1765 farm house. June loves old cars and antiques, and has also enjoyed furniture stripping and rug hooking. "I used to say I was a stripper and hooker.but with so many trips around the sun, no one raises an eyebrow anymore. They only laugh." June has given up furniture stripping, but is still an avid rug hooker.