Last week protests broke out in several cities, with more planned, demanding that the national minimum wage be raised to 15 dollars an hour. Organized by the SEIU, right down to the obligatory arrests, fast food employees came from all over to publicly practice unemployment. Few things inspire progressives to action like firing up their useful idiot base’s sense of entitlement, especially for other people’s money.
According to HuffPo, Nobel Prize winning economist, because towing the line is sufficient for being awarded humanity’s highest honor, Paul Krugman “demolished” the classic argument against raising the minimum wage. Again forgetting that all money doesn’t collectively belong to everyone, the gist of it is that fast food companies are trapped where they are and can’t avoid the squeeze. Ha! They can’t outsource or switch to machinery. It takes a special kind of fanaticism to admit the compulsory nature of your idea and argue it as a benefit. Hint: if it requires force, compulsion, or taking advantage of a particular vulnerability, it’s not a good idea. It certainly has no place in a free nation.
He gives a dismissive and scant nod towards robot labor, noting that improvements have been made in the field but that robot restaurants are decades away. Perhaps he’s referring to Momentum Machines and their new burger machine. It is, admittedly, in the prototype stage. But the features Momentum Machines claims for it are impressive. A burger every ten seconds, meaning a restaurant with 4 of them could produce 24 burgers a minute during the lunch rush. Mind you, that’s while doing things like slicing ingredients to order rather than using prepped ones.
No one can truly predict the future. But like the weather, one needs to mind which way the winds are blowing. Consider how fast technology has advanced in just the last couple of decades, and it is only accelerating. Exponentially. How can one truly be comfortable predicting something being decades away? Especially when the technology is already off of the drawing board. Some fast food restaurants already have ordering kiosks. Combine that with this machine, could fast food “vending machines” be a lot closer to reality than it seems? Maybe years away, but decades?
Regardless, it wouldn’t even need to go that far to still have a tremendous impact on the number of human employees needed. They could be limited to taking orders and exchanging your currency for the food, while the entire back kitchen staff is replaced with automation. Probably most appealing to customers, automated machinery will never show up late or drunk or stoned, never get disgruntled and do things to your food you’d rather not know about, and never deal drugs via the drive-thru.
Obviously Krugman pays the mortgage, so to speak, being a cheerleader for progressive causes. He gives them economic clout for when their latest nation-altering power grab comes under that pesky “numbers don’t add up” scrutiny. But trend analysis and educated predictions are a huge part of what an economist does. Even if he ends up being 100% correct, it would be the long shot bet. His prediction runs counter to every other trend in industry.
But skepticism of the idea that human irrelevance in the food services industry is increasing combined with the proposal of using the iron hand of government to artificially set wages provides a window into why the left arrive at the conclusions they do. They’re demonstrating their disbelief in, and contempt for, the free market economic system while pretending to debate a facet of it. Why do they believe every job, no matter how menial, should pay a living wage
? Because they expect those common rabble to fill those positions indefinitely. They want to stop intrusion into the elitist class from beneath.
Struggle is painful. But it is that pain the drives you up and out of that position and into a better one. If you’re just comfortable enough, you’re far more likely to be complacent with where you are, and compliant when manipulated.
But hey, this is all from the same people who call fast food evil, anyway. If they had their way, all of these workers who they’ve stirred up to protest wouldn’t have a job at all.