Letters To the Editor

(published 2/1/19) 

Editor,

I wonder if we, as a nation, are capable of learning from the past.

While politicians in our nation’s capital play tit-for-tat over just about everything, there are important issues that need to be addressed.

An issue that is of particular concern to me is what technological advances are likely to do to the employment picture in the United States. 

We know that one of the main contributors to the despair and hopelessness that fueled the opioid crisis was lack of employment in traditionally blue collar jobs. These jobs went “overseas” or were just eliminated due, in part, to trade agreements and environment regulations (such as closing of the coal mines).

The next big tech break-through appears to be “driverless cars” or “automated vehicles.” 

Millions and millions of Americans, mostly blue collar workers, drive for a living. Truck drivers, taxi and Uber drivers, parts deliveries, UPS and Fed Ex and other overnight services, etc. 

I wonder if anyone in our government, or in private industry, has given any thought to what could be a tsunami of unemployment and its attendant hopelessness and despair. 

Is anyone finding ways to mitigate the damage to these workers and their families? Is anyone discussing ways to encourage transition to different kinds of work? 

We gain our self-esteem from work and accomplishment from feeling needed. When the jobs go away and unemployment is rampant, despair sets in. The unspoken message is “We don’t need you, you have nothing to contribute.”

Although this technology is still in its developmental stage, I believe we need to start a conversation about this issue – because it’s coming whether we like it or not.

Please encourage your elected representatives on the state and federal level to work with private enterprise to address this issue.  

Carol Frazier

Ocean Pines

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