West Wing — CPI Increases

 

At this part in the episode, Senior Communications Director Toby Ziegler tells Press Secretary C.J. Cregg about the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the CPI increased by 0.7% in one month (could this be info that they released on Jobs Friday?). C.J. is about to go to a press briefing and quickly practices an answer in case a reporter asks about this startling statistic. C.J. and Toby, though they don’t name these exactly, talk about New Product Bias and Quality Bias as ways of explaining why CPI is not always reliable!

Thanks to Katie Cook and Kalina Staub from UNC for getting this clip on the website!

Superstore — Phone Innovation

 

It’s back to school time and everyone has flooded the store to buy calculators, notebooks, dictionaries, and planners, but these are all items that come with a smartphone so it makes those products obsolete for most individuals. Creative destruction occurs when new innovations replace old industries.

CBS TV — Kennedy on the Labor Market & Unemployment

In a 1963 Labor Day interview with Walter Cronkite, President Kennedy discusses his position on handling the labor market of the United States with around 4 million unemployed (about 5.5% at the time). Kennedy notes that the growing labor force in the United States requires that if the US wants to “stand still,” they still need to move very fast. Kennedy’s main policy focus at the time was retraining workers who had been displaced by technology and making sure that significant amount of workers have the necessary education to handle the growing workforce.

Kennedy also speaks to the lost jobs in “hardcore unemployed” industries like coal and steel and how it’s important to make sure those workers are retrained because those workers are no longer needed. He then laments that there’s a different issue with older workers replaced by technology and younger workers who don’t have the education to handle that technology. Kennedy ends this portion of the interview with a very powerful quote about the fear of automation:

Too many people coming into the labor market, too many machines are throwing people out.

You can view the entire interview, courtesy of the Kennedy Presidential Library, on YouTube.

Business Insider — Self-Driving Garbage Truck

Volvo has recently unveiled self-driving garbage trucks in Sweden that are designed to be operated by only on single garbage collector. The trucks match the pace of the garbage collector to allow for differences in worker characteristics. This is just one of the many ways in which automation improves the efficiency of tasks.

KRON 4 — Online News in 1981

A look back at a 1981 news segment that covers the Internet and the eventual push to online media. At the time, 8 newspapers were currently part of the network delivering their daily news via this system. The “paper” included all text, but not images or classifieds. Near the end of the segment, they predict that nearly all news will be delivered electronically, but that the time would be a few years away. The segment closes with a look at a newspaper salesman who would potentially become structurally unemployed when the need for physical papers vanishes.

Young Sheldon — 1989 Technology

Radio Shack was a huge part of Sheldon’s life because of all the great technology tools available. In this scene, Sheldon describes the benefits of having a new computer and tries to convince his mom to purchase one so that they can be more productive. A computer costing $998 in 1989 would be equivalent to about $2000 in 2018 dollars. Sheldon is not initially successful in convincing his mom.

While some technology gains are productivity enhancing, at the end of this episode, we see that the gains aren’t the same for everyone.

Young Sheldon — Productivity and Technology

The Cooper Family decides to purchase a new computer after Sheldon convinces his mother about all the things it could do for the family. Sheldon shows his parents how their life is a bit easier because of the benefits of the computer. Not all of the members of the family experience the technology gains, but instead have gains in happiness.

Home Improvement — Technological Improvement

Tim decides to customize his lawn mower in order to get more power out of it. By doing so he’s able to mow his lawn much quicker than he previous did. This technological innovation allows him to complete his task much quicker and spend more time on other tasks that need to be completed around the house.

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