Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Education, it is for life… Not just Christmas.

It is all too common to hear about a group of workers that are being left behind with the requisite cries of government and those of the left to call for their protection. With new technologies generating more and more labor saving functions and a future of new technologies we have not even started to dream of, we are seeming manufacturing jobs go by the wayside.

Nothing new, the Luddite movement and several movements in the 1950’s and even at the turn of the 20th century have called for more protection of workers and the creation of new manual labor positions.

It is all too common to see calls for protection. This is a way of avoiding personal responsibility. In calling for others, and in particular government to save us, we are avoiding the cost of freedom and free will, responsibility. We are making a society that is not responsible for itself. This is one that expects others to prop it up.

Teach a man (or woman) to fish…

It is no good protecting industries whose time has come and past. We did this for Kodak. This was a company who could have road the wave of technological change and that was at the forefront of camera technology, but one like Emperor Vespasian who decided to opt for protectionism and watch the inevitable slow collapse as funds are drained to protect a dying entity with the result that it starves the infant technology and all fails.

We need to make people know that they are responsible for their own education. No other is nor can be.

We have a signaling device for this already, the market. We pay high wages for at times easy work (though one that requires knowledge) for many IT people. We pay a lot for these groups, for engineers, for technologies and others as they are in demand. When a group is in demand, they are paid more in proportion to what they do than they would if the market was in an equilibra (even a transitory one).

Education is not something you do and then sit upon for the entirety of your life. It is a start in a life long process that ends when you retire or die. Personally, I prefer the later with the option of education until I pass.

Rather, that degree you completed in 1996 or whenever is but a stepping stone to the next and fur4ther effort you need to make. In this world, we are moving away from manufacturing. This will be the role of the machines with humans fulfilling the creative side of existence. If we cannot accept this role, we will lose for we cannot fight the forces posed against us. Economic reality means that more efficient and effective measures will prevail – as they should. We all win if we can have more for less.

Shoes are already being printed using 3-d devices. These lights out factories will need less and less people allowing more and more per dollar. What people need to understand is that simple repetitive jobs are done better by machines and algorithms and if you do not start to learn to create, to be artistic in your role, then you will be less and less effective.

We can pour more and more into protecting manufacturing, but the end is a mirror of the punishment of Danaides[1]. We pour money into an endless hole in an attempt to prolong the inevitable demise of long past industries. We could do the same now for many that have failed to survive, blacksmiths, farriers, turnip hackers, etc. But we have bypassed these roles as we have grown into a more prosperous society.

We need to start seeing responsibility as something we have to engage in and education as a responsibility we all owe.

We need to start seeing our own development not as a chore, but as the means to creating more and a way to enable us all to fit into society. There are many roles unfulfilled now. There are unemployed but try and find a skilled programmer and there is still a dearth.

Education is a duty we all owe.

It does not end in college, trade school or anytime. We have a world were the end is knowledge and we have a duty to learn.


[1] Thsee are the fifty daughters of DanaĆ¼s with all but one being punished by Hades. Hypermnestra was the only of the 50 who was not involve in the murder of their bridegrooms on their wedding night. The other 49 women murdered their bridegrooms and were punished in Hades. This punishment involved having to pour water perpetually into a jar with a hole in the bottom which emptied into the sea. One of the many endless and fruitless tasks in Hades we see to want to emulate through modern protectionist government.


Anonymous said...

Teach a man to fish and he eats for life... What happens when the excesses of technology and free trade have polluted the seas to such an extent that fish are no longer of nourishment? Where plankton are an endangered species... We should relearn to value the fundamentals- agriculture and manufacturing of essentials being among these and not just place monetary significance on the sea sharks. Economic decisions should not just be computed using algorithms with money as the only factor. A civilisation is measured by its ability to protect the vulnerable and sooner all later every developing nation comes to this same conclusion. Cheap labour is not an endless comidity.

Craig Wright said...

Actually, Cheap labour is the most endless commodity.