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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:02 PM

"AP IMPACT: Recession, tech kill middle-class jobs" at Yahoo

AP IMPACT: Recession, tech kill middle-class jobs

at Yahoo

By BERNARD CONDON and PAUL WISEMAN | Associated Press

http://news.yahoo.com/ap-impact-recession-tech-kill-middle-class-jobs-051306434--finance.html

"SNIP..............................................



Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market. What's more, these jobs aren't just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren't just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers.

They're being obliterated by technology.

Year after year, the software that runs computers and an array of other machines and devices becomes more sophisticated and powerful and capable of doing more efficiently tasks that humans have always done. For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that the future has arrived.

___

EDITOR'S NOTE: First in a three-part series on the loss of middle-class jobs in the wake of the Great Recession, and the role of technology.


............................................SNIP"

22 replies, 1489 views

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Reply "AP IMPACT: Recession, tech kill middle-class jobs" at Yahoo (Original post)
applegrove Jan 2013 OP
maggiesfarmer Jan 2013 #1
BeyondGeography Jan 2013 #2
maggiesfarmer Jan 2013 #3
applegrove Jan 2013 #4
maggiesfarmer Jan 2013 #7
applegrove Jan 2013 #9
coalition_unwilling Jan 2013 #21
applegrove Jan 2013 #22
snooper2 Jan 2013 #15
alcibiades_mystery Jan 2013 #5
BeyondGeography Jan 2013 #6
alcibiades_mystery Jan 2013 #8
leveymg Jan 2013 #12
RedCappedBandit Jan 2013 #10
Generic Other Jan 2013 #11
maggiesfarmer Jan 2013 #13
RedCappedBandit Jan 2013 #14
Generic Other Jan 2013 #16
duffyduff Jan 2013 #17
fujiyama Jan 2013 #18
Scuba Jan 2013 #19
pampango Jan 2013 #20

Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:25 PM

1. this is interesting, and probably right.

take away: engineering is a really good choice for college majors

Interesting to see where DU conversation on this topic goes

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:27 PM

2. A must read

Technology is not expanding opportunity, and human nature and science (Moore's Law) mean the same kind of exponential changes we've seen will only compound. Intuitive jobs will not be a hell of a lot safer than repetitive jobs soon enough. I don't know what the answer is.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:36 PM

3. If you accept the premise of the article, I think the natural question to ask is

Given the current state of technology and population, are there 200M jobs in the US? are there 4B in the world? or can all the goods and services provided with far less?

this assumes that for a job to exist, it economically "makes sense".

I think another factor is economy of scale. As the population grows, the amount of labor needed to provide those goods and servies doesn't grow at the same rate.

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Response to maggiesfarmer (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:39 PM

4. and if the good and services can be provided to all with fewer people and more machines how

are you going to distribute the wealth?

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Response to applegrove (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:56 PM

7. I think that's the next question after mine, actually.

The problem, as noted by the authors, is that the middle class is shrinking.

fair warning, i'm not an economist, but i like pretending. assume that 50M American workers can supply all the goods and services that American's consume, leaving 150M unemployed who could be. assume for purposes of this a net zero trade balance.

- supply and demand suggests that eventually, the cost of labor drops below the price of automation and this represents the "bottom". I suspect this is part of the model, but not the whole story.
- however, this results in an increasing larger of percent of the population unemployed as we find this bottom.
- some will devise new creative services that cater to the rich, but I doubt that has enough potential to offset the jobs lost to technology
- without significant reform to our current economic model, or break my assumption and find a US export which drives jobs as well as revenue (and pushes the problem onto another country), I don't see any way to avoid this. I'm sure the socialist leaning members of DU like this conclusion but I'm interested in opinions of those who have rationale counter points. I'm really interested in hearing from any members with an econ background.

In the meanwhile, change your major to engineering. or finance.

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Response to maggiesfarmer (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:00 PM

9. Fact is unless the middle class can participate in the economy in great numbers the rich will

not be as rich. I'm not a socialist but I am an occupier. I'm very interested in reducing inequality.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #9)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:43 AM

21. Um, if you are an Occupier, you are a Socialist (at least based on what I observed

 

at Occupy Los Angeles from Oct 1-Nov. 30, 2011).

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #21)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 01:45 PM

22. Nope. Over 50% of Americans supported Occupy. They are not all socialists.

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Response to maggiesfarmer (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:03 PM

15. We have an opening for a VoIP engineer..

Not a whole lot of good resumes yet though...

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:45 PM

5. A post-work, post-scarcity economy was once the dream of anarchists and leftists

Only capitalism fools leftists into believing in the "dignity of labor." Today, many leftists are even fooled into pining nostalgically for factory work, which was of course the very form of labor most hated by everyone forced to engage in it for long periods! We want manufacturing back, they scream, forgetting the fights of their forebears in the class struggle, who hated the factories with all their might. The goal is indeed to reduce labor, but that also means that you need to remove profit and move towards post-scarcity sharing. The point is not to make more work (dig holes to fill them in again), but to disentangle human welfare from work as such.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:58 PM

8. Right around the time of the big Lordstown wildcat strikes

Now people pass the Lordstown assembly plant and thank goodness that there's still manufacturing in Ohio. Back then, the young guys looking at thirty years on the line and nothing but speed ups coming down from the main office wanted no part of that. What many on the left don't want to acknowledge today: the class struggle meant fighting against factory work as such, against its boredom, its lack of control over work process, its grinding redundancy. It is precisely the struggle they are now waging in the new factory centers of the periphery.

http://www.prole.info/texts/heartofheart.html

During 1971 the situation became serious for GM at Lordstown. Absenteeism, already high, increased greatly, and many workers began letting cars go by on the line without doing their jobs. There were also cases of active sabotage. The repair lots quickly filled with Vegas, and the "Car of Year" (according to Motor Trend magazine) became rapidly known to buyers as a repair-prone vehicle. Sales sagged badly and the Vega not only failed to overtake Datsun and Toyota but lagged behind Ford's Pinto. GM decided to get tough with the plant and in September, 1971, they announced that the entire plant was to be placed under the management of the General Motors Assembly Division (GMAD), a special team of managers, the following month.


From the giant Mirafiore Fiat plants in the northern industrial valleys of Italy, to the hilly stretches of northeast Ohio, the verdict was the same: fuck work, fuck factory work, fuck the collusion of the unions with management and the politicians. Fuck their manufacturing and fuck their wars. This was the class struggle. The fact that we now pine for "manufacturing" is a symbol of how badly the reactionaries have defeated us for 40 years.

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:41 PM

12. What the utopian socialists believed was possible was a post-industrial economy where profits

were socialized and people did whatever kind of work they were most suited by their talents, and all were decently provided for.

A 21st Century service-based economy would suit most people just fine if only there were genuine social security, but that would require a more democratic allocation of the proceeds of banks and corporations - which would probably also require a restructuring of them into smaller, competing entities.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:09 PM

10. Gotta love it

Technology enables us to produce more with less work, and yet only a tiny fraction of the population reaps (and hoards) the benefits.

Ah capitalism.

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Response to RedCappedBandit (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:23 PM

11. They reap what benefit?

How do you earn profits from unemployed people? Robots don't buy soap.

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:46 PM

13. we may get to that point someday, but clearly the profits are still there today

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:01 PM

14. Really?

You don't think the uber wealthy are hoarding wealth? You don't think they're benefiting from said wealth?

I honestly have nothing to say to that.

Please note that I, in no way, implied that their free market model is in any way sustainable or ethical / good for humanity as a whole.

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Response to RedCappedBandit (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:25 PM

16. I was imagining this futuristic world where robots replace workers

And it occurred to me that workers are also consumers. Robots are not. So the whole capitalistic system seems anachronistic in such a world.

As for the hoarders? The hoarders are not the spenders. If you have no one to consume, there are no profits. At some point they will need to hire people to dig holes and fill them in again, so Walmart can sell cheap robot made goods to someone who wants them.

It seems this is a natural limitation of the capitalist system and the key to its ultimate demise.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:46 PM

17. It's so obvious what is going on here.

It is a LIE that technology is the reason the jobs are gone. After all, we who are old enough remember this song-and-dance for decades.

Just like it is a LIE that workers don't have the "skills" for the jobs that remain.

I can't believe anybody swallows this neoliberal bullshit.

It's anything to divert attention and the blame for what and who are responsible for the shitty economy.

Look no further than D.C. politicians and the financial elites they serve.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:10 AM

18. Technological progress can't be stopped and neither can an employer's desire for more efficiency

Mechanization changed the way agriculture was practiced, and what was once a much more agricultural society (and world for that matter) shifted ways to urbanization.

Automation will give way to other new and exciting industries. Someone will have to design and engineer better robots. Someone will also have to build them (or at least build the robots/tooling needed to build them). Someone will have to service and maintain them. Someone will have to sell them.

There's a lot of possibilities out there. I'm wondering what's up with all the recent gloom and doom, "the robots are stealing our jobs" articles out there recently. It's like the "Luddites Strike Back". It's sort of amusing.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:05 AM

19. I'd like to see a study that compares jobs lost to cheap labor to jobs lost to automation...

Without the comparative data, it strikes me that this is a red herring to get Americans to quit focusing on the corporations that are shipping our jobs overseas where slave labor is available.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #19)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:38 AM

20. It would be useful to get comparative data. Manufacturing employment is declining everywhere, even

in China, due to automation, so it is at least a significant factor just about everywhere. But how the relative impact of automation compared to that of outsourcing in terms of manufacturing employment in the US would be a good study to see the results of. Of course and findings coming out of such an investigation would likely be rejected by conservatives if it did not not fit their worldview. (Facts having a liberal bias, as we all know.)

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