Sunday, April 21, 2013


The Blessings of Tehnology

A friend recently sent me an e-mail about a new feature that appears on some credit and debit cards.  This feature allows the card to be read remotely by radio.  A person with the right equipment can "read" the card while it is still in your pocket, wallet, or purse.  A way to foil the detector is to wrap your card in aluminum foil.  I immediately inspected my credit and debit cards from my bank to find that my cards do not have this feature.

This message from my friend led me to think about how technology is increasing the efficiency of the American work force.  When I buy groceries and pay for them with my debit card, I notice that often the clerk has to wave the card back and forth several times in front of the scanning window.  A radio scan would probably be faster and more sure.  The time saved by using radio scans rather than the now archaic laser scanning device would allow the clerk to process a few additional customers in the course of a working day. That would mean more profit for the stockholders of the grocery chain (Safeway, Kroger, Albertson, etc.) but no more pay for the clerk.

I have realized that technology is not the great boon we commoners have been led to believe.  Rather it is part of the process by which wealth is being concentrated more and more in the possession of those of us who are already very rich.  The effect of the radio scan technique is just to increase the wealth of the owners of the grocery company by a small amount without increasing that of the workers one iota.
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