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Today, while holding the telephone line and waiting for a live person, I not only had music in my ear, there were constant commercial messages from the company involved, which happened to be the Social Security Administration. I was barraged by information about the system, most of which was news to me. Because it was a government agency doing the promos, there were statistics.
If you’re over 50 and someone throws facts about happenings 30 or 40 years down the line you’re apt to pay more attention than you would if you were in your 30’s. The date 2042 is not nice to think about. It’s Orwellian. I can remember when 1950 seemed like a science fiction date.
Think about it. I learned today that in 50 years there will be 70,000,000 golden oldies receiving their monthly stipend. The very young female voice passing this info along went on to point out that in 36 years some changes will have to be made in the system. The also very young male voice preceding hers had announced that there will be sufficient funds to meet the needs until 2042. Okay – I have a couple of thoughts on the subject.
The first is, how do they come up with their projections? On what do they base their future figures? Staticians are famous for blithely throwing numbers around. It’s definitely easier, using modern science, to give out facts about fossils; animal, mineral, and human. Even so, if you find one incredibly preserved 9,000 year old skeleton, such as the man dug up in Washington State recently, you can’t really know how many of his kind were running around then. He did have a spear head embedded in one hip, so we do know that however large or small the population in his day, they were just as violent as the population today.
Okay, so let’s say we accept the fact that there will be 70,000,000 retired people in the US in 50 years; what will their average age be, and, more importantly, what will be the official retirement age? If the age is upped to 70, as was suggested by the robot on the phone, where will all the older folk work? Fifty years from now one could guess that every job requiring physical labor will be done by robots or farmed out to children in other countries. One person on one computer could run an assembly line of robots.
The mind boggles at the thought of how many billions of dollars will be generated into the pockets of computer company CEO’s.
How much will it cost to hire a fleet of robots? They certainly won’t require any take home pay. Heck, they won’t even have homes to which to take anything. Just switch off the computer and let them fend for themselves until the next day.
The last time the country suffered severely from mass unemployment there was one industry that flourished and paid its employees big bucks – the movie business. That will not be as viable an option 50 years ahead. Already, more and more films are using computerized images for everything and everyone. Kids growing up today will not demand heroes and heroines to be George Clooneys or Jennifer Anistons. Has anyone but me noticed the increasing use of computerized animation in today’s commercials? Take this up to the big screen and who will notice or care?
My other question is, when someone talks about the need for adjustments to a system, I want to know by whom and to whose profit? This may become all too academic if most of the workers receiving compensation require mechanical tune-ups every so often.
I realized, after sitting for half an hour for the next available real live person to take my call, that I had been subjected to a well planned brain washing. Too bad for them. I didn’t get numbed, just alarmed and angry that I was reminded of how I won’t be around to see how it all turns out.
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