A union organizer friend of mine was in Silicon Valley recently. He walked into a beer bar and was struck that this bar employed no bartenders. Instead, patrons pour their own beer. I was unaware that bartenders were a problem that needed a solution, but then I am not one of our Tech Betters Disrupting for Innovation and New Paradigms. One can almost imagine the tech douchebro not getting the service he demanded and deciding to get that bartender back by eliminating the entire category of work. Turns out this is an increasingly common sort of bar. Here’s a story on one in Denver.
There might be marginal consumer advantages for something like this, but let’s be clear–this is being developed to eliminate jobs and thus costs for bar owners. Maybe in another 20 years, we can have a LGM thread with commenters outraged that I would discuss the need for jobs that provide nothing to society like bartenders, instead of gas station attendants. After all, we wouldn’t want to have to actually talk to a bartender! This is also a reminder that there is almost no job that cannot be automated or outsourced or transformed to force consumers to do the work for the company. That very much includes jobs such as pharmacists that are seen to be what American college students need to be majoring in. This is why we are going to require a federal jobs policy sooner rather than later. For me, something around full employment with the government as the employer of last resort is the only logical solution.