Self-checkouts depriving job opportunities?

in #labor2 years ago

The linked article has a good critique of the ridiculous, but oft-made, argument that self-checkout lanes are unjust because they turn you into an "unpaid worker" and deprive other workers of job opportunities. The same charge can be levelled against every other labour-saving technology where the consumer ends up doing some part of the task - even if it also saves him time and money overall:

"Why should we stop with the self-checkout? We would create more jobs if we didn’t even select our own groceries but instead hired personal shoppers to do it for us. To some extent this is what companies like Instacart and Shipt do already, but the shoppers aren’t charged with making all your decisions for you. They just pick up the groceries and drive them to your house--and maybe they even use the self-checkout.

We could go one better. Instead of driving yourself to the grocery store, you should take a chauffeured car. Or, if you really care about creating jobs, you should hire a team of people to carry you in a sedan chair and then a small army of assistants to carry your items one-by-one once you’ve shopped."

The only way to avoid being an "unpaid worker" who deprives others of job opportunities is to model your lifestyle on that of Louis XIV, with servants literally waiting on you hand and foot to tend to your every conceivable need.

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 2 years ago 

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 2 years ago 

Freeing labor to more productive tasks is efficient. It is also uncomfortable for the people who have to transition to new tasks. But coming in out of the rain can be uncomfortable too. Should we complain that it’s raining or just get out of the rain?

 2 years ago Reveal Comment