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Welcome to Eternal Poverty
- Job by job, industry by industry we are seeing countless millions of jobs being permanently abolished by the Internet, robotics and outsourcing never to return. The pace of technology based job destruction will only be picking up speed. Welcome to unemployment.
(The Guardian) - On Thursday, the bronze bell on the door of Frank Music Company hardly stopped ringing. Dozens of customers had braved the wintry weather to visit the store, some for their first time but all for their last.
After nearly eight decades in business, Frank Music, the last classical sheet music store in New York City, will close on Friday at 5pm.
With a pencil tucked behind her ear, Heidi Rogers, the 63-year-old shopkeeper, puttered around the store, retrieving scores from the shelves piled high with music from the classics – Beethoven, Chopin, Stravinsky – to the arcane. She paused occasionally to look around at the spartan office, tucked away on the 10th floor of a midtown Manhattan building, as if keen not to forget the position of a single score.
Rogers indulged every customer – new and old – at the checkout line. With the faithful patrons who had shopped there for years, she reminisced. With the first-timers, she joked, taking digs at the “freebie” culture that brought about the store’s demise, and guessing their musical forte.
“Jazz?” she asked one young man.
“How’d you know?” he asked, impressed.
Rogers smiled. “I’ve been doing this awhile.”
|80 Years in Business - Now Gone |
Frank Music store owner Heidi Rogers searches the shelves
for sheet music at her store on West 54th in New York, on 5 March 2015.
Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images
The store was founded in 1937 by Frank Marx. Rogers first came in with her father, composer Milton Rogers, a longtime client of Frank Music. When she and her father learned that Marx intended to sell the store, Rogers said she insisted he sell it to her, but Marx was reluctant. A combination of persistence and tears eventually won the stubborn shopkeeper over, Rogers said, and in 1978, at the age of 26, she became the store’s owner.
Frank Music has struggled in the internet age, as more musicians turn to Amazon or other online sellers that sell scores for less than their brick-and-mortar counterparts charge. It has also had to compete with free downloads, found on websites such as IMSLP, a virtual music library that allows users to download scores at no cost.
“To be replaced by something so inferior – it’s such an insult,” Rogers said. “But if you appeal to people’s lowest instincts, like we’re going to give you this score for nothing, it’s basically saying it has no value.”
Until the very end, Frank Music resisted the creeping digitization of the internet age. The store’s vast inventory, methodically organized by composer, is registered only in Rogers’s brain. She almost never takes credit cards; she prints handwritten receipts; and she records her sales with a pencil on a piece of loose-leaf paper.
“The way other stores bought was very different than the way I bought,” Rogers said. “They would buy 20 copies of one thing that they knew they would sell 20 copies of. I would buy one copy of 20 things they didn’t want to be bothered with.”
The store’s stock boasts, in Rogers’s estimation, hundreds of thousands of scores. The massive, and unique, inventory is what Rogers believes set the store apart. It’s also what attracted an impressive array of celebrity clients, including pianist Emanuel Ax, viola player Lawrence Dutton, violinist Pamela Frank and cellist David Finckel.
“This was the place where there was one of everything. The depth of inventory here is colossal,” said Aaron Van Heyningen, who worked his last shift at Frank Music on Thursday after eight years.
The Future of American Workers
The moronic politicians and TV talking heads blunder forward thinking the future will look like the past, and they talk about new jobs and economic recovery.
Those of us still able to think for ourselves see the writing on the wall. Technology, robotics, the Internet and outsourcing are permanently abolishing jobs by the millions. At some point the consumer economy will collapse as people with jobs to buy products simply vanish.
The successful political party of the future will run on a "Jobs for Humans" platform. It will be a return of the Luddites as millions of people permanently made unemployable by machines demand help just to live.