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Has McDonald’s Declared War on the Middle Class?

Only if you define war as consensual trade in a free market.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

August 13, 2013 - 11:00 am
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While she does not explicitly say so in her report of new tech developments in the fast food industry, CNET blogger Amanda Kooser seems to disapprove of self-service checkouts. She writes:

McDonalds recently went on a hiring binge in the U.S., adding 62,000 employees to its roster. The hiring picture doesn’t look quite so rosy for Europe, where the fast food chain is drafting 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to handle cashiering duties.

Kooser calls the move “another blow against human interaction.” It doesn’t take much to imagine Occupy protesters lamenting a successful corporation destroying good entry-level jobs.

Of course, as we have seen in grocery and retail stores across the country, the addition of self-service checkouts does not completely eliminate the need for flesh and blood cashiers. In my experience, someone still stands by to monitor the transactions and assist customers who run into problems. And cashiers still man standard checkouts, serving a majority of shoppers who like things as they were.

That said, even if computers replaced every cashier on Earth, they could not be properly regarded as destructive. Jobs lost to innovations which increase productivity and profit should not be mourned. After all, a job has purpose only so long as it remains mutually beneficial to both the employee and the employer. That means it must maximize profit.

Such a notion proves offensive to many, certainly to those on the political Left who regard employment as a right. A business owes something to the community in which it operates, the argument goes, and should provide good-paying jobs at the expense of its owner’s gain.

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Top Rated Comments   
I remember someone telling me something once that is impossible to know but I believe it, which was odd because usually I considered him full of crap. But he said if you took all the wealth in America, converted it all to cash, and gave everyone an equal amount, within a few years the ones who had nothing before will have nothing again while those rich before would be again. Look at how many lottery winners go broke while so many wealthy had been bankrupt. Some people are just good at generating wealth, and it's not something that you can learn in school.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is the umpteenth article I have read about the lefts assault on the entry level working class. Not one of them mentions the following.

If through government fiat, the minimum wage is raised to $15/hour, at McD's or anywhere, there are consequences. These consequences have been well documented - Hamburgers will cost more, McD's will have fewer employees, the owners of the franchises will likely take a pay cut, owners will find other ways to reduce costs like no napkins, condiments, straws, etc. unless the customer asks for them, etc.

What is never mentioned is the inherent inflationary nature of minimum wage laws. All of the above will simply make something the market dictates is worth a buck now cost two bucks. There goes your minimum wage increase as the $8/hour you used to make now has the EXACT same purchasing power as the $15/hour you now make. And the cycle continues, unabated, until we are all making millions of dollars per year to buy our government approved twenty million dollar eco-cars.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If they burger flippers are going to force McD's to pay them $15/hour, I have no problem with McD's firing as many as possible and automating as much as it can. And I'll be among the many to say "I told you so."

The value of your labor is only so much as the person willing to work for the least amount to do it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (36)
All Comments   (36)
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Its a line of bull that you make 16.00 in manufacturing in fact I got better pay by switching to call center work. Too much of manufacturing today is between 9 to 14 per hr and most manufacturing goes thru temp agencies and hires a lot of immigrants similar to McDonald's and many immigrants are illegals. So, i support getting rid of a lot of fast food jobs by having higher wages to get rid of illegal immigrants in them and favor automation. The fast food industry only hires 16 percent kids and about 40 percent foreign born.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
It makes me want to go buy McDonalds, but I recently cut my fast food budget. Damn me for being frugal!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The difference between a free market economy and cronyism is an important one. The people need to be vigilant and aware of what corporations are up to, and which politcal campaigns receive their contributions. It takes effort to be free. Most people are too lazy to read, too apathetic to think, and too hedonistic to consider long term consequences. Attempts to take over markets need to be resisted by the masses. That means supporting small local brick and mortar businesses as opposed to Wal-Mart and e-tailers. Low prices are not about selling to the consumer, they are about buying up the consumer's options to choose. The era of the robber barons occured more because of the average person's indifference to the joint bed occupied by state legislatures and big business and less because of the greed of the so-called robber barons. People by nature want more, and not everyone has scruples as to how they acquire more. It is utterly impossible to legislate goodness into the hearts of people. It is possible to structure the laws to ecourage transparency and motivate people to produce enough to supply their own needs. The more 'fairness' that is legislated, the more productivity is diverted into government and the fewer people we have producing. Production is the true basis of wealth, not money. The Fed can print money with a few keystrokes, but they cannot create wealth. The sad thing is the left doesn't understand the difference.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The simple fallacy of the $15.00 minimum wage can be illustrated even to a thick skulled leftist as follows:

Why stop there? Why not make it $15,000 an hour, like rock stars and movie stars get. We'd all be rich!

The Leftist would sneer, "Don't be stupid."

Why is that stupid?

"15,000 is way too much! It's ridiculous!"

Who says what's too much, or ridiculous?

"umm... the people?"

You mean like in a free market?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The problem at MacDonalds stems from the fact that the economy is weak and that manufacturing jobs and on the outs and service jobs are dominating. Under any circumstances is someone starts at a fast food business at $8.00 and hour in three years they will be at $8.75 and hour. If they start at $15.00 and hour, in three years they will be at $15.75 an hour. And this is true no matter how hard they work. That is the nature of that business type.

In contrast in small manufacturing, for example, someone can start at $3.50 and hour and if they work hard in two years they will be earning $16.00 an hour.

This is why in many parts of the country kids work in fast food places and adults work in more financially rewarding small businesses.

But small businesses are suffering badly and environmental regulations - not likely market changes - have reduced manufacturing jobs and promoted low paying and low increasing pay service jobs.

I still fault Conservatives for not seeing this and thinking any large change in our economy are market forces. Were that it were true but it isn't.

As one example the Keystone oil pipeline would likely have produced more jobs that are available in a few hundred MacDonalds.

I do not pretend this is not a large issue - it is. But it is fact.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is a perfect example why Movement and Doctrinal Conservatives are not in power. And why they should never be. The fool who wrote this article states that the use of self checkout is part of a trend to provide service as less cost.

Prove it. More likely high taxes, minimum wage increases, and environment and other regulations are squeezing businesses so they must find alternatives to hiring people that sans these problems likely would not have to.

A perfect example - NYC Metro Card. The justification for these cards reads as if it were a pristine Conservative argument. Low and hold, several years later and the discounts are gone, and a surcharge of a dollar or two is added to the price of the card ABOVE the fares.

In addition our poor cab drivers are still having to collect a 50 cent charge on all their fares that goes to the Metro Card MTA people.



I miss the token booth people.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You are saying the same thing as the author. When the cost of using people to do the serving goes up due to the things you mention, the relative cost of installing self-checkout goes down.
Your examples don't make sense either. They are government run, not private enterprise. Market forces don't apply.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not really. I am saying that fast food jobs are fast food jobs. They will never pay well, but more important, pay increases are almost non extent. If you start at a MacDonalds at whatever wage, likely in three years you will be making only 75 cents an hour more.

And I do see they are still being squeezed and hence their reliance on more automation.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The assault on the working class continues. With the full cooperation of the middle class, which does not realize yet, that it is a zombie class. Dead, but still walking around. By attacking the working class, they only dig their own grave deeper.

To equal the minimum wage of the 60's. we would have to raise it to $11.00 an hour.

All of the negative effects of raising the minimum wage, are offset by the positive ones, such as the lower class spending more money, plus the multiplier effect of all that spending. It works out to neutral.

If most commenters here had their way, cars would be driven only by the rich, as Henry Ford would never have been able to pay his workers a living wage, let alone one that would allow them to actually buy a car.

Each generation has to learn, I guess. Greed is just shooting yourself in the foot. But, help your fellow man, and help yourself.

I would accept, the elimination of the minimum wage, in exchange for a minimum allowable income, per Milton Friedman. Yes, THAT Milton Friedman!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
----- Has McDonald’s Declared War on the Middle Class?

Has the price of cheeseburgers spiked?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I remember someone telling me something once that is impossible to know but I believe it, which was odd because usually I considered him full of crap. But he said if you took all the wealth in America, converted it all to cash, and gave everyone an equal amount, within a few years the ones who had nothing before will have nothing again while those rich before would be again. Look at how many lottery winners go broke while so many wealthy had been bankrupt. Some people are just good at generating wealth, and it's not something that you can learn in school.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
as Mildred replied I'm alarmed that anybody can get paid $6443 in 1 month on the internet. did you look at this link Go to site and open Home for details
>>>>> WWW.JOBS31.COM
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Some people are good a putting the money not into a bank , but into a venture... seed money to provide a service or bring a product to people, who will pay enough to make a profit. This takes knowledge, skill, and guts to deal with the risk. Old JC gave us a parable on this too. It's the combination of money management and biz skills that the wealthy have.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
First of all, it's not wealth, it's riches.

Most people, would simply put that money in the bank. So, at least they would hold on to it, and get the interest too. Which is as much as any trust fund baby ever does. The difference is, they have several millions, while the average share in your scenario is well below that.

You are right, that guy is full of crap.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
---- Some people are just good at generating wealth, and it's not something that you can learn in school.

So, it's genetic? The wealthy are genetically endowed? What? I'm a believer in the individual liberties vouchsafed in the U.S. Constitution and in the genius of the Free Market capitalist system. I think that "someone" is pulling your weenie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wealth, like weight loss, is about the proper proportion between income and output (in all but the most extreme circumstances). Perhaps productive behaviors are simply culturally instilled, and some manage to overcome their less productive culture. That's the simplest explanation, and in my experience, it seems true. It's not offensive to Constitutional and free-market principles to say so.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's not impossible to know. Patterns of behavior lead to predicable results. Have a lot of unprotected sex with random partners? You'll eventually get an STD. Eat a lot without exercising? You'll eventually get fat. Spend more than you earn? You're going to stay in debt and poor. Produce, conserve, and invest? You're going to accumulate wealth. It's not complicated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is the umpteenth article I have read about the lefts assault on the entry level working class. Not one of them mentions the following.

If through government fiat, the minimum wage is raised to $15/hour, at McD's or anywhere, there are consequences. These consequences have been well documented - Hamburgers will cost more, McD's will have fewer employees, the owners of the franchises will likely take a pay cut, owners will find other ways to reduce costs like no napkins, condiments, straws, etc. unless the customer asks for them, etc.

What is never mentioned is the inherent inflationary nature of minimum wage laws. All of the above will simply make something the market dictates is worth a buck now cost two bucks. There goes your minimum wage increase as the $8/hour you used to make now has the EXACT same purchasing power as the $15/hour you now make. And the cycle continues, unabated, until we are all making millions of dollars per year to buy our government approved twenty million dollar eco-cars.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That is the key, and the reason why the minimum wage doesn't do what they think it does.

For a brief time, while the currency adjusts, the $15/hr wage looks huge. Too huge to award to a slacker basement dwelling hipster, so the yoots are cut out of the employment market.

Eventually, and sooner than you think, the buying power of a dollar will decline until the new minimum wage is once agaion the equivilent of the old gold standard entry level burger flipper job, which iws around $2.50/hr in 1970 terms.

OPEC learned about the effects of inflation in the 70's. They windfell huge profit for a time, until the unavoidable inflationary reaction to the oil price hike found a new equilibrium and made their new price point pretty much what it was worth when before they jacked it up.

You just can't cure stupid.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That insight was made in my later podcast on the subject:
http://hipcast.com/podcast/HyH1v16Q
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Walter

The link isn't working for me for some reason.

I wasn't being critical of your article, I in fact, enjoyed it and agree with everything you said!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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