A century ago, when motor vehicles replaced horses, many displaced “harness-makers” could fairly easily learn the skills needed at truck and auto plants. For today’s displaced workers, sadly, it won’t be that easy.
If all those departed manufacturing plants were brought back to our higher-salaried country, plant managers would have even more reason to automate, to replace workers by machines.
But whether or not globalization can be reduced or reversed, many of today’s displaced workers and young job-seekers will need to train for manufacturing jobs in a new kind of economy, an “automation economy.”
One thing that hasn’t changed (from centuries ago) is the importance of the 3 Rs: reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic. A truth we’ve always known: Those who learn to use the 3 Rs will be best prepared to learn new skills required by new jobs, in our uncertain, changing economy.
Henry D. Friedman, Sanger