Has McDonald’s Declared War on the Middle Class?
Only if you define war as consensual trade in a free market.
August 13, 2013 - 11:00 am
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.