Monday, September 2, 2019

Sounds Laborious

I love words. When you look up the word Labor and find "Laborious" you see synonyms like: arduous, hard, heavy, difficult, strenuous, grueling, murderous, punishing, onerous, burdensome, back-breaking, trying, boring, demanding.


There is a well-known slogan in the labor movement: "Unions: The Folks Who Brought You the Weekend."

It might be a slight exaggeration, but this much is true: Unions brought us the three-day Labor Day Weekend that is considered the end of summer in the USA. Unions celebrated the first Labor Day in New York City on the first Tuesday in September 1882. By 1894, they persuaded an additional 23 states to celebrate the holiday. And on June 28, 1894 President Grover Cleveland made it official: The First Monday in September of each year is a national holiday.

Yet today, membership in America's once mighty labor movement is in decline.

  • Most union members live in California, with 2.4 million people in a union. The Golden State is followed by New York, with 1.9 million union members.
  • More than half of the 14.7 million union members in the U.S. live in just seven states: California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington.
  • Men continue to have higher union membership rates: 11.1 percent compared to 9.9 percent for women.
  • In the public sector, union membership rates are highest in local government, at 40.3 percent. Heavily unionized occupations include police officers, firefighters, and teachers. Private sector industries with high unionization rates include utilities, transportation, warehousing, and telecommunications. 
Labor Day started as a protest against shoddy and unsafe working conditions and long hours. But it has also had a long tradition of end-of-summer revelry. By the time the second Labor Day rolled around in New York City, the parks, the shops, and the bars of The Big Apple were teeming with people. 

Today, there are a growing number of regions around the country where there are labor shortages.

Businesses literally cannot find the workers they need to operate their business. 

Labor Day: a day to celebrate the workers who built America and the labor movement that rose up to protect workers from abusive labor practices. And now it is worth noting that we don't have enough labor in our country right now. Some of this results from the strong economy which is 10+ years into an expansion. Some of this results from restrictive immigration policies. 

Regardless of the cause, we have an abundance of capital and a shortage of labor in the U.S. economy right now. 

That makes it difficult to operate a business and even more difficult to expand. And this shall force business to automate. Automation (AI, bots, machines, etc.) can solve some of these issues. I expect we shall see more automation in an environment where capital is available to fund investments and labor is very tight.

SO: we have a choice. Do we want more robots or more people? How much longer should we maintain a restrictive immigration policy? I believe we should have more legal immigration in the United States. We have labor shortages and there are many talented people who would like to come here and live and work. If we are not going to allow people to do the work, then it shall be left to the robots. But the work will get done, one way or the other. 

I am fortunate to know Adam Grant and Simon Sinek

When you meet someone new, don't ask "What do you do?" as this limits what people share about themselves to a job description. Instead, try "What do you love to do?" It ignites and invites people to express their distinctive interests. ~ Adam Grant

Our passion lies deep in who we are, not what we do. ~ Simon Sinek

Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history's most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts. Something had to give, right?

Folks, change is coming. Big time. 

Nature abhors a vacuum. This idiom is used to express the idea that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural as they go against the laws of nature and physics. 

We have an abundance of capital and a shortage of labor in the U.S. economy right now. Something is going to fill the vacuum of those unfulfilled jobs, either with people, or robots, or some combination of both. Big money will not allow that job and labor vacuum to exist for long. 

Labor Unions are in decline. Technology and automation of labor, especially having robots and AI (Artificial Intelligence) doing repetitive tasks is increasing. Labor Day, first and foremost, is a celebration of the working people who keep the gears of American commerce turning like they should be. 

But the gears of American commerce are moving to the cloud, away from the factories, away from the farms, and away from the mines. I predict that within our lifetime, we shall see a "new" Labor Day.

A Labor Day for robots and their owners. 

After all, where would Luke Skywalker be without R2-D2? 

We experienced the Agricultural Revolution, then the Industrial Revolution, and now we are living - the Digital Revolution. 

And this one shall be the biggest of them all. 

Then: What do you do?

Today: What do you love to do?

Tomorrow: What does your robot love to do?

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