It sure seems like that.
In 2016 we had 2,056 brick and mortar stores close down.
This year it’s expected that 8,600 will close.
Two of the big ones just announced they’ll be closing in Montana – Kmart.
I can’t remember the last time I went there.
And that makes me ask…do you notice something?
All those failing stores are old, established companies.
The grey hairs, the reluctant, the stuck-in-their-ways.
And so they go the way of the dodo.
Others are doing better, but that doesn’t change the shift in our economy.
It's a shift in distribution and warehousing.
Drones are a part of it, but it’s much bigger than Amazon.
At the same time, Amazon doesn’t want to be just online.
That recent Whole Food purchase is their bid to get into brick and mortar.
There are 79 million monthly subscribers to Amazon Prime.’
That’s $400 million a month in revenue.
And the company signals it wants more robots, less workers.
Welcome to the new economy.
Oh, and just wait until driverless trucks come along.
Truckers…cab drivers…limo drivers…and of course our Uber drivers.
“But I’m not getting in a driverless car!”
Ah, the grey hairs, the reluctant, the stuck-in-their-ways talking again.
I check the Missoula jobs on Craigslist each day, and let me tell you…there are always ads looking for truckers.
I wonder what all those truckers will be doing in 10 years. Hell, it might be as soon as 5 years.
Remember, profits are on the line.
Why pay someone $65,000 a year to drive a truck when you can buy a robot for $200,000 and that sucker will work 24 hours a day for 10 years before going kaput?
That’s a $450,000 savings over those 10 years…and let’s not even factor in the savings in healthcare and retirement costs.
- When you’re a member of the 1% and the 10% that want to be just like ‘em, this is seen as a benefit.
- When you’re a member of the dying American middle class, this is a huge problem.
It’s not just truckers.
The machines are coming for us all…or at least that job we dread getting up for each day.
But hey, maybe with all those savings the rich will just give us all a monthly stipend.
Maybe a shack or cement-block apartment and $750 a month and another $100 on the ‘ol food card.
Lots of Americans are living on a quite a bit less.
They sure do here in Missoula.
I’ll be talking about that later tonight at the Democratic candidate forum.
Starts at 7 PM at the Missoula City Council Chambers. I’ll have something up later tonight discussing it.