Nice reference. Except... doesn't John Henry die in the end? I mean... Human strength of spirit won out in the end, when presented with a singularly strong figure of indomitable strength. But ultimately, in that story, we the people, sacrificed that person to win one battle against "the system" or "the machine" and gain the people . A battle which didn't stop the progression of mechanized advancement.
But then again, perhaps that story is apt. As many strong spirited and vocal individuals will rise up against this, win some battles, some sacrificing their lives in the effort. But ultimately, the mechanization will still win out in the end. And the masses of people who cheered so loudly for those few strong individuals will cheer for the cheaper power that mechanization brings.
Getting people out of harms way is a GoodThing(tm). Why aren't people focusing on transitioning the workforce to another related field where they can continue to be gainfully employed and retain their pride? No, it's not an easy thing... but it's something that needs to be done. Just because the market changes doesn't mean that people should be left behind.
I suppose that's the lesson to be learned from John Henry... that advancement should not be at the expense of human lives and human livelihood.