I came across a conversation with the leader of the American wing of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness where he (Sri Prabhupada) talks about this very thing. According to him, as you will read below, taking jobs away from people is something that very poor societal leaders (he calls them rascals) facilitate and support. In fact, Sri Prabhupada makes the point of stating the importance of employment whether or not that employment is even necessary or logical in terms of business success or not. Wow! Do we need to re-evaluate the very basic tenets of capitalism in order to regain a healthy perspective on the importance of jobs in society? Do we need to recognize and criticize any impulse of profit through automation over employment? Here’s what Sri Prabhupada had to say about this:
Nityānanda: Without a machine how can you make sugar from the cane?
Prabhupāda: Hand machine.
Nityānanda: Hand machine?
Prabhupāda: Yes, they manufacture, hand, hand … in the sugar cane, two men. Even we can prepare hand machine by cutting the wood. They do that. We are not against machine. You can utilize machine. But we should not allow others unemployed and use machine. This should be [the] point. You can use. Use machine, that’s good, but not at the risk of keeping others unemployed. This should be noted. First thing is that everyone should be employed. If you have got many men, then why should you engage machine? These rascals, they do not know. They’re taking machine and keeping so many men unemployed. And the welfare department is paying them. They do not know how to organize society. And therefore hippies are coming out. Crime, criminals are coming out. (indistinct) The government is paying for becoming criminals and hippies and prostitutes. And how you can be happy, a society full of prostitutes, hippies, and criminals?
[An excerpt from a room conversation with devotees in New Orleans, August 1, 1975] http://tinyurl.com/qh2mwor