In the January, 2012, issue of The Atlantic Monthly, there is a lengthy article on the future of American manufacturing entitled “Making it in America”. In profiling an individual company called Standard Motor Products and a few employees performing manufacturing operations, particularly a 22-year-old single parent named Maddie Parlier, reporter Adam Davidson concludes that the company will continue to perform manufacturing operations in the United States, but it will do so only if it can continually compare the cost of employees versus automated technology, and extract the best economic value from the process.
Employees who do not have high levels of education and technical skill will be continually insecure and will be displaced if they are not continually keeping ahead of the marketplace. The most painful point the reporter makes is that anyone who starts his or her work career with major family or other responsibilities will have difficulty keeping current with the skills needed. Maddie Parlier is 22 years old, has completed high school, but has not gone beyond it, is a single mother, and has no spare time or money to take courses and upgrade her skills. She will be vulnerable to a future replacement by technology.