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Recession, tech kill middle-class jobs


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Globalization is overarching factor, I'd say. Globalization great for powerful corporations and workers in poor countries, but for the vast majority us in developed countries, it's poison, and we need to reject it, like now.

It's clear that developed countries need to re-introduce national industrial policies, like postwar Japan did, and a form of neo-mercantilism with strict tariffs...policies that us rich in the first place.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

“I have never seen a period where computers demonstrated as many skills and abilities as they have over the past seven years.” Well, duh. The whole study and article is an absolute waste of research, time, effort, bytes and web space. But by making it the principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has ensured that he wouldn't be joining the ranks of the unemployed for a while.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Very depressing story. I fear my job will go this year, too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The effect of (technology) on white-collar jobs is huge, but it’s not obvious,” says MIT’s McAfee. Companies “don’t put out a press release saying we’re not hiring again because of machines.

Press has relased we're not hiring again. MIT engineering graduates will join the unemployment army sooner than later. Some robots can code software neater and better than human. Only Congress, High court and President jobs have security. They can not outsource to oversea or replace with robots.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

In america the growing sector is the parasite class, those who live off the taxes paid by the private sector taxpayers. Federal employees and other government employees. Even private sector employees are on the dole if they make less than $35000 per year since they pay no federal taxes and receive thousands from the "unearned income credit" Makes sense, the President has been in the parasite class since birth! By adding nearly 320,000 new parasites on the federal payroll in only his first two years he has guaranteed his reelection.

This drag on the economy has made innovation to reduce labor costs a matter of economic survival for all companies. The continuous increasing costs of each employee that makes enough to actually pay taxes means there will be less of them. Eventually this means there will be not enough taxes to support the parasites, no problem, just print the money or destroy the capitalist system. Perhaps that is the plan.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

They’re being obliterated by technology.

So said the Luddites back in the dawn of the industrial revolution. The argument was false then, and it's false today.

You wanna know why jobs are disappearing? Look to crony capitalism and fat fingered governments.

If domestic companies weren't forced to pay obscene wages because of unions, and offer obscene benefits due to health care regulations, and offer obscene job security due to more regulations, they'd hire plenty of domestic workers.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )


You forgot the biggest parasites of all, the super rich, they are the ones causing the most misery

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Surely, loosing work is sad but with new things there is always room for improvements where we haven't explored yet. As for the bankers that got away with giving us this hardship...hang em high, oh they got away.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Computers will replace office workers just like robots replaced factory workers. Worst thing is our education system is not helping the masses to realize this "Teach children how to use technology, you give him a job, teach children how to invent technology you give him power to create jobs".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Workers need to start to organize, press countries for efforts to help assure jobs and prevent the slide into poverty of the middle classes. We need to use our spending power to support labor friendly companies and punish those who are not. How we spend can drive how companies behave, it is time we used that to our advantage.

Technology is fine and yet it will restructure the work place, but the key here is also a culture of companies who do not care about society and who are draining the planet of wealth and concentrating it in a small number of people. This needs to stop. And we can do so by fighting back politically and using our labor, our spending and our voices to fight back.

There is only one choice here people. Fight back now or face the loss of the global middle class. It is up to you. And yes I do mean you reading this post.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Politicians love to tell their constituents things like, "in the future, we will need more skilled, tech-savvy workers." That's because it makes them look effective, while telling people the truth -- that US, Canada, etc are set to become a nation of underemployed taxi drivers, waiters and janitors -- won't ever get them elected.

The problem is that that the immigration wonks have responded to the myth of the "skilled labor gap," and have thus ramped up immigration numbers. I really fear the eventual outcome. Canada is already famous for having qualified engineers and researchers working as taxi drivers. It'll only get worse.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yep, and now Japan has Abenomics to make sure the middle class in Japan supports the coffers of the bureaucrats and the deputy PM telling the old people to hurry up and die, and the bobbsy twins, Ishihara and Hashimoto pulling imperialistic strings the future for Japan is bleak!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

.... and so we are supposed to sit in panic of this horrific future where work-drudgery is gone? It is only those who see the capitalist system as our crowning achievement towards societal equity who would believe so. Perhaps this is a chance to move humankind towards a more equitable division of resources? A resource-based economy rather than a monetary-based (and hence illusory debt-based) one. Why not free as many people as possible from lives of drudgery with guaranteed minimum resources (food, shelter, health, education) and free all that humanity to study and pursue greater things? The arts, science, philosophy? An end to work! sounds like a great thing to strive for!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is time to end the form of Capitalism that we have before it destroys us. It has abused the environment to the point of collapse, starved countless people to death and now threatens the very core of those who make Capitalism work.

Once in a while we stand at the edge of a cliff and need to make choices about the future of humanity. This is one of those times. The enemy of working people is Capitalism in its current form. The enemy of a moral and balance society are the people who put profit over society and people. And the enemy of the world is unbridled greed.

Time to change people, even if that change is profound and painful.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

as long as those dang nabbed computers can't teach eikaiwya, I am safe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Make your time

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Going to be a revoluuuution, ehhh, y'know....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good, people should be doing the things machines aren't good at. Things that require thinking and innovation. There's a long list of those: more efficient transport systems, more efficient ways of generating electricity, better preventative health care, less invasive surgical procedures etc. We need people to come up with better ideas than what we have, not sitting around doing a repetitive action.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Karl Polanyi tried to warn us in 1944 when his powerful critique of market liberalism, "The Great Transformation", was published.

“Ultimately that is why the control of the economic system by the market is of overwhelming consequence to the whole organization of society: it means no less than the running of society as an adjunct to the market. Instead of economy being embedded in social relations, social relations are embedded in the economic system.”

“Our thesis is that the idea of a self-adjusting market implied a stark utopia. Such an institution could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society; it would have physically destroyed man and transformed his surroundings into a wilderness."

Unfortunately, his warnings were ignored and a great fuss was made over Hayek`s "The Road to Serfdom" instead.

"As you make your bed, so must you lie in it"

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Many people on this site have argued with me that we need more women in the workforce but as more and more evidence shows there are a lack of good jobs or those already in the job market. However the problem is not the tech, it is the system that allows poverty wages while high ups and shareholders in a company become millionaires. I have been saying this for a long time but was called a foil hat wearer and other names. When people realise they may end living on peanuts and wake up it is too late,

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Just want to show you how things are different here.

1)FEDEX has just made an announcement of 1.3 billion operation spending cut and many MBA will lose jobs within 3 years. Everything is more aggressively computerized and automated for tracking.

2) My city utility dept completed all automated meter reading systems, and all meter reading guys got laid off permanently.

3) USPS has given me a postage machine, so I weigh my mails and packages at home. I call them and they come and pick them up.

4) I do my online grocery shopping every two weeks, and they deliver them at free of charge to my door if I spend more than $50.

5) I do online banking with no hassles.

6) Most government documentations are now self service application systems, so I can click and complete them online.

7) There will be more and more fast food chains adopting automated voice activated order systems for drive through order.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@globalwatcher Yes, you are 100% correct that everything has changed in our surroundings. Myself included, I've noticed how transactions for everything in my life has changed to automatic. I spend less and less time in stores because of this. Where do we go from here? Is that the million dollar question?

1 ( +1 / -0 )


"In America the growing sector is the parasite class, those who live off the taxes paid by the private sector taxpayers. Federal employees and other government employees. Even private sector employees are on the dole if they make less than $35000 per year since they pay no federal taxes and receive thousands from the 'unearned income credit'"

I mainly agree. Remember that many of these have voted Republican, though. Also remember that many of the 1% depend heavily on the government too (although this is unknown to many). The CEO of Haliburton benefits from the US armed forces paid for by many taxpayers. The corporation itself need the US government to make it charter. CEOs of many of the large agribusinesses execs depend on the farming subsidies lavishly handed out (at taxpayer expense). I can go on...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Did not make it to the end of the article - it was repetitive and rather long-winded. Technology causes unemployment, we know that, but only on a temporary basis - not for ever.

The typing pools that offices used to employ disappreared at about the end of the 80s when the PC became common, yet we never hear that ex-typists stay out of the pool. The US and Japan have relatively low unemployment, caused by macroeconomic factors, not new technologies.

Labour is being freed from repetitive tasks and can be put to better use in more productive fields and society has shown time and time again that it efficiently absorbs the fresh labour from obsolete jobs and puts it to better use. Yet time and time again, the same Luddite arguments come out.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As Aldous Huxley wrote: "Machines are going to do the work now. Man has got to learn to live." Unless we can extricate ourselves from the fantastically flawed logic of unrestrained free market capitalism while avoiding the equally fallacious nature of extreme communism, we are in for severe social upheaval.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The most vulnerable workers are doing repetitive tasks that programmers can write software for — an accountant checking a list of numbers, an office manager filing forms, a paralegal reviewing documents for key words to help in a case. As software becomes even more sophisticated, victims are expected to include those who juggle tasks, such as supervisors and managers — workers who thought they were protected by a college degree.

Sorry, but this is so true. Fortunately, and this is not about Japan, a lot of programmers are hopeless too. Their code is buggy and they lack imagination. (I write software for the general public and I know what I'm talking about) As for "managers", they're like cockroaches in Western countries, much worse than Japan (though this will blow some of your fuses, you're convinced yourself that anything Japanese must be the worst in the world). I would say that 80% of "management" does nothing but attend meetings and write reports. Hmm, managers reporting to managers. Yeah, that makes sense.

Here's a clue, don't hire people from mangagement school unless they have significant experience doing a real job sometime in their life. Listen to your staff and differentiate between the habitual whiners and those who really want to improve things. They exist in every company I've seen.

University degrees - yeah, they used to mean something. But now they don't (usually). Before you wave them in my face, let's have a look at how relevant they are to what work you do or want to do. As an employer, I want troubleshooters. Don't care about anything else but results. If you can deliver them, surf the internet all day if you want as long as the work gets done. Money in the bank - everything else is decoration. Not a capitalist, just being real.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It comes back to the problem of a economic system built on the creation of surplus value.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As an employer, I want troubleshooters.

Short and sweet I agree.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There should be a government strategy to get people who are out of work.. back on the farms.. I think a lot of small towns would love to get free labor.. for room and food.. people can live on farms or small towns can make communal living which is better than a lot of peoples lives living in the big city, wearing monkey suits at some job that is not fun, spiritually rewarding or that has any real impact to support the nation. Organic farmers need help.. and it does not have to be the job of immigrants.. retired people might like to get back on the land.. I have a 25 acre ranch in Hawaii and not enough people on the island to work the land.. so I am going to make it a solar farm and sell electricity.. but with people it could grow food, dry fish, harvest honey... bananas, papaya, guava, mango.. coconut water.. work the land.. stop importing things you can grow and make in Japan.. heal the soul.. care for the land and the land will care for everyone.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Stop focusing on tech and get back to farming. Lots of opportunity there if you want to work. Ahh, but there is the key phrase, "if you want to work". I don't think any of these 20 somethings or younger are taught to work. they just expect stuff. They go to school forever and learn no skills of practical value to restarting a country's industrial capacity. I call them the self-entitled generation.

With that said companies are not patriotic and use globalization as an excuse to dump and run instead of helping shape the workforce for the country that supported and birthed it. Yet, the government that regulates and overtaxes these corporations are part of the problem, too. Companies need an easier way to operate and thrive, while workers need to understand that they can't be making 100k just for installing doorhandles.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Craftsmanship of any kind is always appreciated. Whether it may be photoshop operator, a baker or wood/metal craftsman there will always be a demand as long as you stand out amoungst you peers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

industrial revolution was only capital machines - economic growth. computers are only fun - economic downturn.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i can sell my manly body and make millions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is so tiring to hear some blowhards refer to people who get government help as parasites. It is the rare, very rare, person who at some point in their life does not get some help from the government. Babies get free milk or vaccines based on government funded research, most of us go to public schools, and then some form of government support for college loans. Then most of us work for 40 years and pay back a lot of it, the get government assistance again.

So many of these blowhards who consider themselves parasite hosts take advantage of the benefits of a stable and free society that cooperates to protect their property rights; then scream when they have to pay a little of it back.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"jobs are... being obliterated by technology"

Darn technology!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe my dream of getting my families land back and farming it is a good one. My descendants will at least have food and maybe a small income.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The West made its choice when it outsourced it's manufacturing sectors. Japan and Germany are the only modern nations with a manufacturing infrastructure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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