It seems like everyday we hear the siren calls of a coming job apocalypse. A new report out of the PwC says that 38 percent of all jobs in America are at risk of being automated. Mostly affecting jobs that require little to no education. This could include entire industries such as truck driving, storage, or food service. We are told that the trade off will be worth it (not sure who gets to make that call). Millions of jobs will be destroyed, uneducated workers, the very ones whose jobs will be eliminated, will face potentially permanent unemployment and the already enormous class divide will worsen. But never fear, productivity and production will increase. For many people this report is alarming or even hard to believe but for those of us in Appalachia it is like deja vu.
We know how this ends
Growing up in a small Appalachian town, I was often told that our way of life was behind the times. A common joke was, “If the world were to end tomorrow, at least we would have a couple years to prepare for it.” However, I believe that much like the tortoise, somewhere among all the energy, excitement, and frenzied activity of the city, the people of these woods have quietly taken the lead. The very people portrayed as “slow” have out paced the hare in the march of history. If you want to see the future look to the mountains.