Question by Bill Hicks ©: Technological Unemployment?
Our entire economical system is based on labor… your selling your labor as a commodity in the open market. What will happen to the economy and more importantly the people, when automated systems (ATM’s), robots (car manufacturing), Machines (agriculture) etc, control the majority of the manufacturing labor force.
Production continues to rise while jobs are still lost:
Agriculture: In 1860, 60% of Americans worked in Agriculture
In 2002, less than 3% remained
Manufacturing: From 1982 – 2002 Steel production rose from 77million tons to 120 million tons. Yet jobs declined from 289k to 74k
Monetary Economics: From 1995 to 2002: 31 million manufacturing jobs lost while production rose by 30%
Source: Summarized quotes from “The Zeitgeist Movement” documentary. Knock the source if you want but the figures are true.
Answer by Spotty J
No one disputes that technology innovations cause employment in certain sectors to fall. But that’s actually a good thing. It’s called economic productivity, and it makes us all richer. That is why we are far richer than our ancestors of 100 years ago — who lived in a condition of what we’d consider abject poverty.
Would you WANT to live in a country where 60% of workers are farmers? In case you can’t think through the implications, that would mean you spent all your money just buying your food each month. And not only could you not afford things like computers, iPods, cell phones, and TVs, but they wouldn’t even exist, because their potential inventors spent their lives hoeing beans instead of inventing technology.
Would you WANT a phone system based on female operators taking your call and then plugging your line into a plug board to connect you to who you’re calling? In such a society you can forget about using the phone much — it’s too expensive — and you can certainly forget about cell phones and the Internet, which couldn’t exist. Yet during the time that female phone operators went extinct, women entered the workforce doing other things and have become a majority of the work force. Society has put the underutilized female half of labor to work doing new things even as technology eliminated many of the jobs the few women workers used to do.
What technological innovation does, is free up labor to do something new. As consumers we still have what we had before (groceries), but in addition we have new things too, all the fruits of technology. So we are better off. The economy produces new and more stuff to be distributed to us.
New technology means new jobs and new industries that were previously undreamed of, and that’s what people will do. That is hardly a controversial statement, all you have to do is look around for the proof. You are using Yahoo — a company, an industry, a medium, that didn’t exist 100 years ago, and that no one then could have even imagined — but which today employs many many well-paid people.
What do you think? Answer below!