Sunday, August 21, 2016
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Many who blame job loss to foreign imports do not understand the massive job changes brought about by technology. Robots and machines have replaced far more U.S. workers than Mexicans or Chinese. Today, U.S. factories produce twice as much stuff as they did in1984, but with one-third fewer workers. Manufacturing as a share of GDP is virtually unchanged from 1960.
This academic analysis re the impact to Canada of the the potential loss of free trade deals makes the point I've been making in on this website since 2008, "That manufacturing job loss is not due to offshore manufacturing but due to job theft by technology."
As i've argued on this site, the real problem re job loss is that no compensating downward adjustments in worker full-week hours been made 1) To let workers share in the benefits of technology, and 2) To maintain sufficient employment levels to insure adequate middle class consumption necessary for a viable economy.
A reader (business owner) responded to this item as follows---"Wayne D.-- So with one third less workers should they make a 13 hr work week and bring back the other 2/3rd of work force and pay them all good full time wages (typical 40 hour work week ) to work 13 hours /week. Serious question.
And so I responded---Without debating the figures you use Wayne, let me give you a serious answer...."The benefits of technology must be shared with workers through reduced work hours with sufficient compensating hires to keep up prior employment levels.
Pay should be tied to increased productivity resulting from technology rather than hours worked.
Presently all the benefits of technology are pocketed by employers, resulting in record profits (shown by record executive salaries, record stock market highs, record dividends, record levels of dead cash in corporate accounts, and an obscene concentration of wealth in the hands of a few).
Presently, workers are paying all the costs of technology implementation through job losses with all short-term benefits accruing to employers.
Every job loss leads to less consumption which will in the end result in a downward spiral of fewer jobs and less consumption with fewer and fewer people frequenting businesses like yours, Wayne, which will result in widespread bankruptcies as technology steals most jobs leaving few workers and little consumption in the economy.
Both businesses and workers lose in the longer term through employer’s shortsighted greed.
And by the way Wayne, the full full work week has not been reduced from 37.5 hours per week for the last 60 years. Now that we have computerized technology to do most of the work, don't you think it's about time we adjusted work week hours?