Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Another job automated away

About 50 years ago, I had to call or visit a stock broker to buy or sell stocks. I would place the call.  A few hours later the broker would call me back with the results of the transaction.  The charge could be $50 or more.

About 30 years ago online trading began.  Place an order and some time later the order would be processed.  The charge was about $25 regardless of the size of the order.

About 20 years ago, the time lapse was shorter and the charge was $14.99.

About 15 years ago, many trades were “instantaneous”.  Place the order and it would be filled.  The charges also dropped down to $9.99.

Today, I was informed that the charge would be $6.99 next week.

Consider that many of these trades are untouched by human hands.  Instead of a local broker calling a New York broker who would pass the order to broker on the exchange floor, each buy-sell order goes to a set of computers which fill the orders within seconds, and with only fractions of cents difference in the offer and sale.

Now if we could only automate CEO jobs.  Think of the billions that could be saved across the economy by replacing these over-paid men and women.  The savings could be passed on to the people who do the real work.