07/01/2020                                                                                                    Volume 4 issue 69

Best You Guru™

Productivity

The Rise of the robots

A McKinsey study suggests that by the year 2030 half the work being done in the American economy will be automated. The increase of automation continues exponentially with casual notice by the general populace. In 1995 Jeremy Rifkin wrote in “The End of Work” that unemployment would increase as a result of information technology and automation. Underemployment is of major concern as this trend continues and is overlooked by most research. Millions of jobs will be lost in manufacturing, agriculture, and the service sector. Rifkin predicted a devastating impact on blue-collar, retail, and wholesale workers. A small percentage of workers will reap the benefits. He predicted a shrinking of the American middle-class as a result of automation. Rifkin understood the lurking variable of labor that comes with automation. An increase in automation does not assume a proportional increase in productivity.  

The advancement of automation and technology creates one of two economic outcomes: 1) Increased productivity and cost savings with labor being reallocated; or 2) Productivity is not increased with little or no cost-saving and little benefit to labor. Self-check-out stations are examples of automation that provides marginal benefits and little increase in productivity. Automated customer service is another example of automation providing marginal benefits to the consumer. However, these types of automatons are of great tax benefit as a capital expenditure with a depreciation benefit. To maintain a robust middle-class, labor productivity must increase as automation increases. The demand for labor with an increase in productivity is critical to American capitalism. 

Battle worth fighting

We must understand the battles we choose to fight to live a life using our fullest potential. Not every battle is worth the most precise asset you have, time. Develop a strategy, understand the opponents, and understand what determines victory when you decide it is worth your time and effort to engage in a battle. Merely protesting stagnant wages will not win the battle. The Luddites fought valiantly for a just purpose but to no avail. The Luddites were a secret organization of English textile workers in the 19th century. They protested textile machinery because they knew textile machines would replace their jobs. The Luddites were angered that all the time to learn their skills would go to waste as automation increased. They destroyed machines, protested, and rioted against what they saw as an unfair and fraudulent method to get around labor standards of that era. Their five years of protesting, regardless of how just their cause, resulted in textile workers being shot but the textile machines remained. The Luddites failed to understand the battle they were facing. 

Understanding the battle is required to live a life worthy of the greatness within you. Your career may be something you do to earn the wherewithal to live the life you deserve, what people say about you is only their opinion so don’t let it define you, don’t live to the expectations of others when you know your truth, don’t allow and education system dumb you down to conform to their demands, don’t allow religion limit, confine, and market to you something that destroys your soul, and there are so many more battles you must face as you travel your path in life. Don’t be a Luddite and fight the wrong battles.            

Action step:  

Learn to distinguish between hard work and being productive. Create a 30-day Productivity vs Hard Work chart. Reflect your day's activity at the end of each day. Did your efforts today get you closer to your goal or did you just work hard? Give yourself a + or a gold star if your efforts propelled you closer to achieving your goal. You are worse off than the Luddites if you are unclear or don’t have a goal. For the next 30 days evaluate your days. Determine if you productive or merely working hard.  

 

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