Where is the milk man; coal man; bread man; ice man; knife sharpener; rage man; shoemaker; tailor; seamstress; shirt launderer; bellhop; clerk; secretary; corner traffic cop; street sweeper; cooper; well diviner ; fortuneteller; funereal mourner; gas station attendant; elevator operator; telephone operator; tire recapped; blacksmith; candle maker; harness maker; chimney sweep; or telegrapher?

They are all gone. They were eliminated by technology. Nestled here in the palm of my hand my iPhone 4 is the supreme pinnacle of all the techicological progress of all of human history. It is a telephone; camera; computer; calculator; clock; compass; recorder; radio; television; GPR, typewriter; library; and file cabinet. It is even a mirror and small flashlight. Through the Internet it is instant contact with every thing that humans have thought or done. It can communicate instantly with seven billion humans on earth and in the sky above. It has access to hundreds of thousands APS: to perform that many special missions.

The critical challenge is where we now find substitute paying jobs.. There are a few examples of efforts to save jobs after technological advances. Henry Ford the real Father of Mass production realized that he must pay his workers enough money so that they could buy the cars they were making. I came on a Ford follow-up many years ago as Executive Director of the National Association of Counties (NACo). We were meeting in Detroit Michigan and were given a tour of the Ford Motor’s new automated Engine plant. The factory covered a hug constantly moving assembly line. Each place on the line had two machines, one in use and one spare in case of a malfunction. The only workers visible were a few men wandering around in shop coats and at the end of the line were a small group of women inserting the pistons into the engine block.

Our hosts were Ford Executives and working members of Walter Ruther’s United Autoworkers. At the end of the tour someone asked “What will be the effect of automated machines on union membership”? One of the Union Members replied” Well that question came to us at about the same time we were wondering how many of these machines will be buying Ford Cars?”

At this witting there are about 16 million unemployed Americans and many others underemployed in major part because of improved technology. High labor intense employment centers like auto manufacturing, infrastructure construction and maintenance and even postal service and printing and newspaper publishing are especially had hit by the technological wonders..

We know that historically every technological innovation has cause short term rise in unemployment in the areas of the innovation. The difference now is the massiveness of the techoological innovation, its speed of development, and its world wide application that is causing a profound impact on our whole civilization.

This is the backdrop for President Barack Obama’s massive Jobs legislation. Nobody here or abroad has a solution. However thoughtful people everywhere reject the present partisan political wrangling and character assignation at a time in our American history which is as filled with danger as was December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Bernard F. Hillenbrand

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