Evidently Progress is a Bad Thing
On 60 minutes we got to see what Jeff Bezos' idea of the future is. In a word, octocopters. The Amazon founder and CEO would like to see a future in which unmanned drones are able to deliver small shipments of goods directly to people's homes within 30 minutes of order. Not everyone sees the potential for this revolutionary change however. Neera Tanden is President of the oh-so-ironically-named Center for American Progress and she thinks this development is a bad thing.
I'm not even sure where to begin. Perhaps I'll start by saying it's a statement without merit. Economic progress results in a higher standard of living for everyone. Horse-drawn carriages gave way to cars. Men with shovels gave way to earth movers. Bank Tellers gave way to ATM machines. In no case was the end result worse than what preceded it. Did some people in the disrupted industries lose their jobs? Yes. As economies progress some less productive jobs are eliminated. But when one door closes another opens and new industries and new jobs can be created. Without the disruption of existing industries we would never even have Amazon.com and the 80,000+ jobs they've created. Ms. Tanden's statement is a classic case of the broken window fallacy as her statement only looks at half the story.
By the way, I found the most telling statement in the 60 minutes piece to be what Bezos believe's will be the largest stumbling block to bringing this to market: the government, more specifically the FAA. Bezos thinks it'll take about 5 years to get the necessary approvals. This is the same body that took what, 15 years to formally approve electronic device use on planes below 10,000 feet? Unfortunately I think we'll likely be waiting a great deal longer.