California senator Kamala Harris is the second black woman ever elected to the US Senate, a huge policy nerd, an unabashed proponent of dropping f-bombs, and, as luck would have it, a huge X-Men fan. So when she was asked recently about the future of the American job market, she saw an opportunity to use Logan as a teachable moment.
This was during a recent live taping of Crooked Media’s Pod Save America, where Harris shared her love for the X-Men before being asked about the job market. One of the hard truths that many people can’t accept about the future, Harris explained, is the fact that certain jobs that have been a part of their families for generations — like trucking — are simply disappearing.
Harris then pointed to Logan‘s near-future depiction of America as a glimpse into what’s to come — a world that’s generally recognisable to us now, save for a few key changes that will change certain employment options drastically.
Rendering of driverless trucks seen in Logan, courtesy of Nick Pugh/20th Century Fox.
“If you look closely [in Logan], you will notice that there are a bunch of trucks on the freeway and none of them have a cab,” Harris said of one of the movie’s car chase scenes. “[The movie] takes place in like 2029 and so it’s just that. Driverless cars. That is truth.”
(To be fair, Logan is employed as a limo driver when the movie begins, but his money problems and chosen residence indicate, he’s likely one of the last employees of the industry.)
It’s going to happen and there are people who’ve had jobs for generations around driving a car or a truck that in some relatively short period of time won’t have those jobs any more. What we have to do in terms of the economic message is to one, speak the truth, and then two, have a plan for transitioning them into the jobs that will be there.
Harris went on to insist that the key to ensuring job security in the future is beginning to shift focus away from industries (like trucking!) that are destined to be overtaken by automation in favour of new industries (like wind turbines!) that are sorely in need of more workers.
If the idea of working a “green job” turns you off, hopefully we’ll get those sentinel factories fired up and ready to go quickly enough to goose the economy.