Tag Archives | Working

Stop Saying Robots Are Destroying Jobs—They Aren’t

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.     ~Isaac Asimov

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
~Isaac Asimov

Change and the unknown may be the commonest fears, along with public speaking. All of which hold the potential of limiting progress. Perhaps some adhere to a notion of singularity, maybe ignorance, perhaps others are prone to the narratives passed down from parents. I don’t know, and I accept that. What I do know is that we all have the power to educate ourselves, and to choose. For the sake of balance I offer you this.

via MIT Technology Review

Many experts would have us believe that robots and other technologies are behind the job drought. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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Nearly Half Of American Jobs Are Likely To Be Eliminated By Computers Over The Next Two Decades

american jobs

Humanity is nearly obsolete. MIT Technology Review writes:

Rapid advances in technology have long represented a serious potential threat to many jobs ordinarily performed by people.

A recent report from the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology concludes that 45 percent of American jobs are at high risk of being taken by computers within the next two decades.

The authors believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage.

Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such engineering. This “technological plateau” will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk.

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Future of Work: Finding Value in the Rejects of the Job Economy


Nick Meador outlines a project called Funding My Existence, intended to enable creative visionaries to act as stewards of our society’s future, on h+ Magazine:

Unless one is capable of staying in what our society has deemed a “normal” state of consciousness for 20-40 hours per week, week after week, one cannot “make a living.” I for one agree with [Bucky] Fuller’s argument that no one should have to make a living. If the time and energy required to pay bills and feed ourselves prevents us from actually making the changes and progress that we envision in the world, then we are in trouble and we have also lost our link with America’s founding mission statement to guarantee “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” to all.

At the very least, FME could be an information hub and support network for those pigeonholed into various subordinate groups, such as people on the autism spectrum, people undergoing spiritual emergencies, and more.

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Has A Bachelor’s Degree Lost Its Value?

Writes Lee Lawrence on the Christian Science Monitor:
The children of white middle-class, college-educated parents, Hugh Green and Turner Jenkins are just the kind of kids everyone would expect to be stepping out into the world one sunny June day, bachelor's degrees in hand. But they both veered from the traditional American educational route. One decided that a bachelor's was never going to be enough, while the other concluded it was unnecessary. Mr. Green enrolled in an accelerated program that will keep him at Emory University in Atlanta for a fifth year and earn him a master's degree. Mr. Jenkins is immersed in a culinary training program in Gaithersburg, Md., that he hopes will launch his career as a chef. Once the hallmark of an educated and readily employable adult, the bachelor's degree is losing its edge. Quicker, cheaper programs offer attractive career route alternatives while the more prestigious master's is trumping it, making it a mere steppingstone...
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Europeans Decide Greece Is the Laziest, Most Incompetent Nation in the EU (Greece Disagrees!)

We invented Democracy (with a capital "D"). Writes Derek Thompson in the Atlantic:
Greece is the hardest-working country in the EU! According to Greece. And only Greece. According to Britain, Germany, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic, it's the laziest country in Europe. Meanwhile, Germany is the most respected EU country, according to the Pew Global report, European Unity on the Rocks. And Greece appears to be living in a bizarro universe where 78% of its respondents held negative views of Germany. Three in five Greeks said their country had Europe's hardest working citizens. Half of the rest of the respondents from the other seven nations said Greece had the laziest workforce in Europe...
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How Government and Corporations Loot the Poor

Capitalist Flag

Illustration: Hhemken (CC)

Barbara Ehrenreich writes at TomDispatch:

Individually the poor are not too tempting to thieves, for obvious reasons. Mug a banker and you might score a wallet containing a month’s rent. Mug a janitor and you will be lucky to get away with bus fare to flee the crime scene. But as Business Week helpfully pointed out in 2007, the poor in aggregate provide a juicy target for anyone depraved enough to make a business of stealing from them.

The trick is to rob them in ways that are systematic, impersonal, and almost impossible to trace to individual perpetrators. Employers, for example, can simply program their computers to shave a few dollars off each paycheck, or they can require workers to show up 30 minutes or more before the time clock starts ticking.

Lenders, including major credit companies as well as payday lenders, have taken over the traditional role of the street-corner loan shark, charging the poor insanely high rates of interest.

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Who Creates Jobs (and Other Critical Questions)

Help WantedTom Matlack writes on The Good Men Project:

The web is abuzz with TED’s decision not to let a former Amazon.com investor make his case for middle-class job creation. Meanwhile Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gets ready to watch his $20 or so billion become liquid when his company opens trading this morning. The French and Greeks have elected liberal leaders who campaigned against austerity as the answer to the Euro debt crisis. And here in the United States the general election is kicking into high gear with the Romney campaign releasing this ad yesterday in key swing states.

Let’s try to get a few things straight here before resorting to mud slinging.

1) Any way you slice it we have a debt problem threatening to kill us.

Government spending here in the United States and across much of the developed world is completely out of control. As of March 2012, debt held by the public was $10.85 trillion or approximately 70% GDP, while the intragovernmental debt was $4.74 trillion or approximately 30% GDP.… Read the rest

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Why Are You Working So Hard?

WorkingAnnie-Rose Strasser writes at Think Progress:

The 99 Percent Movement is bringing May Day, the worldwide annual celebration of labor, to the United States today with protests in over 135 cities. The theme of the protests is “A Day Without the 99 Percent,” and occupiers are encouraging people to spend the day outside of the U.S. economy. According to the May Day organizing site for New York, “It’s a day to recognize the value of our work, and the power we have to collectively change our working conditions and our world.”

It’s true that the 99 percent make up the majority of workers in all the industries for which America is known. Farming, manufacturing, and transportation, to name just a few, wouldn’t survive without the working people who carry the burden of productivity in those fields. Manufacturing alone makes up 20.3 percent of the labor force. But rewarding those workers is a different question.

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Thirty-Five-Hour Work-Week Recommended for Parents

ParentingRaising children isn’t considered work, of course. Via ScienceDaily:

Swedish mothers of small children work a lot more now than in the 1970s. This is an important reason why so many parents feel extremely pressured for time. One way to handle the stress is to take advantage of the right for Swedish parents to work half time, according to a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg. The author of the thesis Jörgen Larsson suggests shorter workweeks for parents.

Jörgen Larsson’s doctoral thesis is based on the observation that parents of small children are in the middle of the most hectic part of their lives. One major reason behind the time pressure is that parents work more hours than in the past. The total paid work time for mothers and fathers of small children has increased by an average of 10 hours per week since the 1970s.

The study, which is based on statistical analysis of 20,000 parents and interviews with 19 fathers, explores parents’ temporal welfare.

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One In Two College Graduates Are Jobless Or Underemployed

Graduation Thinker

Illustration: lumaxart (CC)

Reports the AP via the Huffington Post:

The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.

A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.

Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs – waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example – and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.

An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor’s degrees. While there’s strong demand in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities flounder. Median wages for those with bachelor’s degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers.

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