I read a significant chunk of Newt Gingrich’s Real Change, but I don’t want to comment on every single chapter and Appendix that I read. Rather, I’ll highlight two things that stood out to me in my latest reading.
1. In “Chapter Eighteen: The Next Generation of Air and Rail Transportation”, Newt argues that unions are impeding progress in terms of air transportation. In essence, the unions are seeking to preserve jobs that would be made obsolete through technological advancements, and the result is inefficiency. Newt believes that these workers should be trained for other lines of work.
This has been a debate that has existed throughout history. Which is more important: Workers or progress? Many have said that we don’t have to choose. Defenders of unions maintain that unions bring productivity to companies. Opponents of unions or believers in progress hold that a free economy would take care of workers who are laid off due to progress. I am not an expert on this issue, but I guess where I fall is here: I think that unions may very well impede progress, but, if workers were fired, I’m not optimistic about them being able to find other jobs, or at least jobs as good as what they have in the airline industry. I tend to side with the workers, for, if we are technologically advanced, and yet there are people who can’t support themselves and their families, what have we gained? But I’m sure my position has its share of downsides.
2. Newt is a big advocate of offering financial prizes for people who develop technological breakthroughs—-such as breakthroughs in space technology, green technology, etc. He believes that this approach bypasses inefficient bureaucracies and encourages the next Wilbur and Orville Wright—-people who were not part of the academic elite yet brought about flight when the academic elite was still struggling to do so.
I think this is a good idea. So now I’m for progress, whereas in my last item I was against it? Well, progress can create jobs! Hopefully, there could be enough progress creating jobs to take care of those who lose their jobs due to progress!