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Do you have ideas of what a tech company could put on the table?

I have a bit of an idea, and also a way to frame the problem that may sound a little ridiculous, but hopefully is helpful to someone.

I propose tech, free-trade, outsourcing, and other forces have impacted the US job market similar to the problem laid out in The Innovator's Dilemma [1].

Apple - and Steve Jobs - have been applauded for figuring out ways to solve the innovator's dilemma; specifically, Apple lets newer products with a greater profit potential cannibalize older products' smaller profits.

1. The iPod classic and iPod nano were great products that had solid profits.

2. The iPod Touch ate into iPod classic and iPod nano profits. However, it also eclipsed the profits that the earlier iPods could have achieved, since it was much more than just a music player.

3. The iPod classic and iPod nano did not mind that they sold less, and Apple changed their expectations for sales from each product line accordingly as one product took sales away from other products.

Here's how I see the US addressing a similar dilemma, but involving people's jobs:

1. Career tracks in manufacturing and energy production (coal, especially) had solid salaries and career prospects.

2. Market forces (e.g. trade deals, technology) reduced need for US manufacturing and energy production jobs. Computer programming, technology in general, and design of things rather than the manufacturing of things all have better profits for the companies involved than the building of things.

3. The people who had manufacturing and energy production jobs DO mind that they do not have a job. Government and society did NOT recalibrate goals by saying something like, "sorry your coal job experience is no longer relevant, we're going to give you basic income / job training / some other job prospects."

Apple can make the iPod classic, whose qualities are outdated, simply go away from stores without a tear shed.

The US cannot make people whose skills are outdated simply go away, though. Those people need, at a minimum, some way to pay the rent, food, and aspire to something greater than they have now.

How should the US best address this?

It makes as much sense to re-introduce the iPod classic when the iPod Touch is already out there as it does to go back to dirty energy production when clean energy production already out there, and has great qualities like an endless, easily accessible energy source in the sun and less pollution and land destruction.

However, that very thing has been proposed, and I have not seen any other plans. What about, for instance, ensuring solar panel production facilities are built near where coal jobs went away? Or perhaps big wind farms, sun farms, etc?

The places where coal is buried is not where wind or sun is best captured, but giving some kind of hope to people in those areas - whether in the form of subsidies, training, moving people, etc. It may mean some changes to those impacted, but with every big shift in technology and labor, some jobs simply are no longer necessary like they used to be.


[1] https://smile.amazon.com/Innovators-Dilemma-Revolutionary-Ch...

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