Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Progress - It's Why We're Here Today!

Another great news article. JC Penney will finally follow the lead of lots of other stores and eliminate (mostly) their check out clerks replacing them with self serve kiosks. Naturally, some people are concerned that this is going to cost people jobs.

Yes. By golly gee willikers it will! And that is what JC Penney needs to do to survive. Cut out the expensive employees, so they can make money again. Because if they aren't making money and have no forseeable chance of making money in the future, then they might as well shut down.

People happen to be a BIG expense. Take the phone system. We used to employ thousands of operators to direct calls all over the country. Then the computer came about and pretty soon we were able to place calls all over the world and all of those (or most of them) operators lost their jobs.

And it was GREAT! Not because they lost their jobs, but because we were able to remove thinking humans from a mundane task that can be satisfactorily performed by a computer at a fraction of the cost. This has two benefits. #1 the customer can call anywhere for a whole lot cheaper (phone calls now cost a fraction of what they did just 25 years ago and we make far more of them) and #2 that thinking human has the option to use their brain for more creative/inventive/entrepreneurial work (like figuring out how a computer can get rid of the next mundane task).

This is called progress, we have been doing it for about 10,000 years since our hunter/gatherer forebears figured out they could produce a lot more through agriculture and husbandry. Of course, if you still want to make toothpicks by hand, be my guest. I happen to like my spare time to play video games (you know, those things thinking humans invented for our entertainment).

JC Penney, welcome to the 21st Century!

1 comment:

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