Your February 1997 opinion column, “we’re not in China, Toto,” on China’s use of labor vs. machinery raises interesting questions, and the answers may not be unimportant to U.S. labor.
Consider the pending increase in the U.S. labor pool with recently enacted welfare reforms. What jobs do we expect to train these people for? Front-end loader operator? Front-end loader repair person? Those positions are already filled.
Maybe the answer truly lies in employing unskilled workers at tasks such as carrying coal buckets. There may be no better motivation to higher ambition and education than being stuck carrying buckets of coal from the pile to the barge all day long.
San Luis Obispo, calif.