January 22, 2016 — Back in the early 1960’s just about everything you can imagine was so different than it is today. For example, throughout the USA there were only 3 major TV channels on which to watch mostly black and white programs during the era. In many cities and towns you couldn’t buy meat on Sunday even if the local supermarket was open. Mailing a letter back then cost about 2-3 cents, c-phones had not been invented and your landline-based home phone number had a word such as IVAnhoe as the prefix followed by 4 digits. And it was back during those dark ages that the notion of prepaying vacation accommodations (aka: Timesharing) first began.
So Here’s The Scoop: Sure, most of us knew that and most of us know that in the real world ‘we the consumers’ share everything from jet airliners, taxis, trains, motel and hotel rooms, etc. – as we only rent such things for the ‘time’ we need to use them.
Though there is nothing new about that what is now happening to ‘time’ is something called the “sharing-economy” (SE) and/or the “gig economy” (GE) and from what I’m reading SE and/or GE are growing in leaps and bounds.
In a nutshell, what Corporate America (C.A.) has discovered — and what most timeshare developers have known since the dawn of our industry — is that it is more profitable for a company to have 1099 independent contractors (IC’s) working for them instead of full time salaried (or part time) employees with benefits, etc. And this IC trend is rapidly spreading throughout the USA.
That’s right; as employee salaries and the middle class in America continue to diminish C.A. has discovered a new cash-cow to lower their costs and increase their profits by farming out all sorts of once decent-paying jobs to people willing to do the same ‘gig’ for lower pay and with zero benefits of any kind including no retirement plans.
And if you don’t believe that, then as an example consider for a moment those driverless cars that have been in the news lately; it is highly likely that in the near future they’ll replace all or most taxi cab drivers jobs – and that’s a lot of decent paying ‘gigs’ across the country in large and smaller communities that will forever be gone. To ‘get it’ consider the impact Uber has already had on the taxi business today.
Indeed, some think tanks and research firms are now predicting that within the next 10 years upwards of 40% of all the ‘gigs’ (jobs/careers) currently done by American workers as salaried employees will be replaced by IC folks.
On that note some time ago I wrote a piece suggesting that the day may also come when sales and marketing reps could be replaced by ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) creatures that are human-like robots (androids); and though I received numerous e-mails suggesting I had lost my mind, the fact of the matter is that there are some people who agree with my take on the future.
Even the brilliant, world-renowned theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking said in a recent interview about AI that: “I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
Bill Gates, of Microsoft fame, said (about AI): “I don’t understand why some people are not concerned” – and Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak said “the future is scary and very bad for people” and that “If we build these devices to take care of everything for us, eventually they’ll think faster than us and they’ll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently.”
So for all you parents, grandparents & you, too, we all really need to start preparing ourselves and especially the ‘kids’ for the reality that rapid change is not only inevitable but that job security, in many instances, has or will become more rare in the USA than receiving pre-1965 silver coins as part of our change when shopping at local (e.g.)
five & dime “99 Cents Only” stores.
This ‘sharing-economy’, ‘gig-economy’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ is currently happening in all sorts of fields including, but not limited to, the wholesale industry, retail, public administration, manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture, education, healthcare, leisure & hospitality, professional/business services and local, regional or national branches of government, etc.
And if you don’t agree with anything I’ve just cautioned about, then think about Corporate America (C.A.) over the last few decades and all those U.S. manufacturing plants they built abroad that ended millions of once decent-paying jobs in the USA; now those ‘gigs’ are outsourced in countries were C.A. pays scab wages and provides no benefits, etc. in order to increase their profits.
Only the foolish won’t admit that the GE, SE and AI are yet another inevitable sequence representing the mindset among most in the hierarchy of powerful C.A. – including within the Land of Time – that will, without question, have a major impact on the lives and livelihood of millions of ‘working stiffs’ and their families in America (and beyond).
And that the outcome is as conspicuous and predictable as a financially challenged sales guest visiting a sales center who is not able to afford a $10,000 or $20,000 timeshare vacation plan.
Good Luck Out There
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