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  1. #1
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Default The future of work in America

    [http://static1.businessinsider.com/image/4f86aef76bb3f7b504000024/chart.png[/img]

    img]Technology and the Web are destroying far more jobs than they create. We will need to develop a "Third Way" based on community rather than the Market or the State to adapt to this reality.

    What better day to ponder the future of work than Labor Day? Long-time correspondent Robert Z. recently shared an essay on just this topic entitledUnderstanding the 'New' Economy.

    The underlying political and financial assumption of the Status Quo is that technology will ultimately create more jobs than it destroys. Bob's insightful essay disputes that assumption:

    Over the past 15 years, the global economy has experienced structural changes to a degree not seen in nearly 150 years. Put simply, the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s has given way to a post-industrial economy. In this post-industrial economy, technology has now evolved to the point where it destroys more jobs than it creates.

    Still, most people are Luddites to some extent. Human nature is to resist dramatic change, either actively or passively, until we have no other choice. If you don’t believe that, just listen to our presidential candidates.

    Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will give us happy talk about maintaining entitlement benefits (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid) that cannot possibly be sustained. They will talk about energy self-sufficiency. They will talk about creating jobs. They will tell us that we can somehow ‘grow’ our way out of our economic distress. But neither candidate will admit that technology now destroys more jobs than it creates, because to do so would be to commit political suicide. The fact is that none of the happy talk will ever come true. Instead, the Federal Government, with the tacit approval of both major political parties, continues to run trillion-dollar-plus deficits year after year in a futile attempt to spend our way out of our economic problems and to sustain an economic model that cannot be sustained.


    Ok, so what do you guys think of this? It seems to me like the political debate in the US is largely irrelevant in part because it is not dealing with issues like this. Are we evolving into a society that just quite frankly doesn't need as many people and so there will continue to be further and further pressure on the individual until... ?

    Is this just fantasy? Are we avoiding thinking about it because it is just too scary? What is your instinct?
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  2. #2
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I think it completely ignores the labor practices and regressive tax system that help contribute to the problems, at least in the US. A lot of people are not being paid a reasonable wage despite many companies having the financial ability to do so. And instead of hiring an adequate number of workers, many companies work the employees they have ragged. It doesn't have to be that way. We have a lot of legal tax evasion and a lot of government subsidies, etc going to companies that do not need them and that are not working towards innovation, etc in a way that greatly benefits our society. I think it would be a good idea to address that.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  3. #3
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    I believe his argument is that because this is a global phenomenon it is not sustainable because of economic factors beyond our borders that we have no control over.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    We have more control over it than almost any other group of people in the world. America is still the world's largest economy and not by a small margin.

    American companies could choose to insist on good wage, labor, and environmental practices in countries where our goods are manufactured. The improved standard of living would allow people to spend more on goods and services. While individual processes might require less labor, demand volume would be higher.

    There are a lot of places in the world with poor infrastructure -- building that is labor intensive. Infrastructure must be maintained. Some of our food production practices are labor saving, but unsustainable, we could change those practices. There are plenty of places that could use more healthcare personelle, more teachers, etc.

    I think the demand is there to employ a lot more people but the resources to do so are in the hands of a few and they are not being motivated to invest in humanity in a meaningful way.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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