I’m out in Los Angeles at an annual conference that I attend regarding our enterprise trucking software for our intermodal trucking division. We had many presenters, one of which was a VP from the Port of Los Angeles talking about all the various upcoming projects (which will result in more tariffs), new “clean air” initiatives, etc. There are many industry experts and many leading intermodal trucking companies represented and since all we (the intermodal trucking companies) deal with are imports/exports I couldn’t be closer to a source of “economic impact” if I wanted to. Needless to say, at lunch and dinner I got into some interesting economic discussions related to what we do. Everything from illegal immigrant drivers, outsourcing, lack of labor pool in the U.S., etc. I presented your theory (or at least parts of it) and got some interesting (as always) responses that I felt compelled to share with you. As always any comments are appreciated.
1. At dinner everyone at my table argued that there are not people in the U.S. that would do the jobs that we have these “illegal” or legal immigrants doing (farming, McDonald’s, and Hotel Room cleaners were some of their examples). Even at much higher wages which I was certain to point out. They were absolutely adamant that regardless of the wages (reasonable obviously) people simply would NOT do that type of work. I remember you being very adamant that people WOULD in fact do these jobs for better wages.
2. The 2nd common theme was that there are simply not enough technically proficient people (we were talking specifically IT) in the U.S. labor pool. I’ve been hearing this a lot lately and apparently Bill Gates agrees. http://www.workforce.com/section/00/article/25/41/45.html
3. Lastly, a couple of the people I talked to agreed or could understand that “as population densities increase, per-capita consumption declines”; however they said that this only applied to places like China or India and doesn’t apply to the United States. An example one of them used was that of Manhattan, New York. He said that there is a lot of money there and people buy more “stuff” than you can imagine. Apparels was one specific example I remember. I found this to be interesting as it didn’t occur to him or concern him that we could very easily become a China or India.
Again I simply wanted to share this experience. As an aside my best friend (who is a Mortgage Officer) borrowed my copy of “Five Short Blasts” many months ago and has finally got around to reading it. He has called me on multiple occasions and conveyed his interest and acceptance of this theory. It was definitely a wake-up call or at least an exercise in awareness for him and he said he was going to read it again.