Jack Saturday

Monday, November 28, 2011

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 739-741

While factories continue to make more stuff in the United States than ever before, employment in them has collapsed.

Computers have hurt workers outside factories too. Picture the advertising agency in “Mad Men,” and think about the abundance of people who were hired to do jobs that are now handled electronically by small machines. Countless secretaries were replaced by word processing, voice mail, e-mail and scheduling software; accounting staff by Excel; people in the art department by desktop design programs. This is also true of trades like plumbing and carpentry, in which new technologies replaced a bunch of people who most likely stood around helping measure things and making sure everything worked correctly.

…there’s… a pretty good chance that by some point in the next few years, your boss will find that some new technology or some worker overseas can replace you.
The Dwindling Power of a College Degree
New York Times
Published: November 23, 2011

For the first time since the 1960s, when women entering the workforce led to a big increase in youth employment, a majority of young people are out of work. The story is the same around the world….  … the question of why we’re doing so little about it remains.

However, the current jobless recovery, and the concurrent failure to create enough new jobs, is breeding a new and growing surplus pool. And some in this pool are in danger of becoming superfluous, likely never to work again.

In the old days — before Social Security, welfare and Medicaid — poverty-caused illnesses killed off or incapacitated some of the people who could not find jobs. Even earlier, some nations sold their surplus workers as slaves, while the European countries could send them to the colonies.

In addition, wars were once labor-intensive enterprises that absorbed the surplus temporarily, and sufficient numbers of those serving in the infantry and on warships were killed or seriously enough injured so that they could not add to the peacetime labor surplus.

The old ways of reducing surplus labor are, however, disappearing.

Meanwhile, new ways of increasing surplus labor have appeared. One is the continued outsourcing of jobs to low-wage countries; the other is the continuing computerization and mechanization of manufacturing.

In fact, if modern capitalism continues to eliminate as many jobs as it creates — or more jobs than it creates — future recoveries will not only add to the amount of surplus labor but will turn a growing proportion of workers into superfluous ones.

Policies that are now seemingly utopian will have to be tried as well….
The Age of the Superfluous Worker
New York Times
Published: November 24, 2011


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