QOTD: Is Ford CEO Jim Farley Right?
Today is one of those days in which I pose a QOTD based on an earlier news story -- as if you all aren't already arguing in the comments.
This one is a two-parter -- is Jim Farley right? And if so, what can be done to keep job losses to a minimum?
The answer to part one seems obvious since EVs do require fewer parts to assemble. But who knows -- maybe something unforeseen happens?
The second part is trickier, and if I had a good answer I'd be making bank as a consultant, and instead of testing cars I can't afford I'd be buying them. Ahem. Anyway, I do feel for those who might lose their jobs due to broad technological shifts, but I also want to see climate change halted and though EVs aren't perfect (their production still pollutes, as does the mining of the materials needed to build them), they have an advantage over internal-combustion vehicles when it comes to emissions. So, naturally, my empathetic side hopes that Ford and other OEMs can find roles for these workers. Perhaps working with suppliers.
Indeed, if you'll indulge a bit of politics for a second, I think certain Democratic politicians hurt their chances at winning election a few years back by appearing to be unsympathetic to coal miners who'd lose their jobs during a transition to clean energy. There's a way to talk up clean energy without being cold to workers who lose their income -- which is also a source of pride. Farley seems to grasp that, as noted in my earlier piece.
But, i digress. If you have big ideas on how the estimated 40 percent of Ford laborers that might lose their jobs can be "rehomed" within Ford, let us know.
Or don't -- maybe you'll save your best idea, become a consultant, and buy that Eurovan from this morning.
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Kevin on Nov 25, 2022
Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?
Tassos on Nov 26, 2022
OK. I have no dog in this fight, and will not bother to say if Farley is right or wrong, but will post a more general truth about such changes and the resulting job 'losses' and 'gains', not only in the auto field, but in any business which advances and evolves.
I am sure when gas cars replaced horses and buggies, entire sections of the labor force felt threatened, and indeed many lost their jobs, whip and saddle and buggy makers, among others, off the top of my head. BUT when you look at the labor statistics, the US unemployment rate did NOT go up long term.
Typically, when jobs are lost because of a different technology taking over, they are more than replaced, usually with better, better paying ones.
This is not a law of MAth that is 100% true of course, it is possible that in the future, Advances in AI may render millions of jobs obsolete. These are NOT good jobs, not creative ones, but ones that even a stupid computer can do as well or better. Humans are BETTER OFF having the stupid computer do them, AND having much more free time for themselves, as the work week (there is nothing DIVINE about the "40 hours" standard, it has come down sharply since the early days of the Industrial revolution, and should come down again, given that it has been stuck at 40 forever. I WELCOME this.
So yeah, of course, an electric appliance is simpler and more reliable than one powered with a complex gas or diesel engine and all their peripheral components and needs that can frequently go wrong. SO there COULD be serious numbers of jobs lost, IF people buy these BEVs in large numbers (and not only the AFFLUENT. Let's admit it, current BEV prices are RIDICULOUSLY HIGH, even after the mass-market Model 3 entered the market). I will NOT pay $60k for a damned Hyundai BEV. $60k should get me a FULLY OPTIONED E class kind of vehicle. OR has the US dollar become worthless, so people pay ... $50k for a sporty COrolla (as I saw in the last issue of Motor TRend) or a Hyundai-Kia?
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