Jack Saturday

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 915-917

I think the person who takes a job in order to live - that is to say, for the money - has turned himself into a slave.
Joseph Campbell

Productivity growth slowed in the 1970s but revved up again in the 1990s and has stayed strong most years since. But ... productivity growth and employment growth started to become decoupled from each other at the end of that decade. Bernstein calls the gap that’s opened up “the jaws of the snake.” They show no signs of closing.
Wages as a share of G.D.P. are now at an all-time low, even as corporate profits are at an all-time high. The implicit bargain that gave workers a steady share of the productivity gains has unraveled.
As digital devices like computers and robots get more capable thanks to Moore’s Law (the proposition that the number of transistors on a semiconductor can be inexpensively doubled about every two years), they can do more of the work that people used to do. Digital labor, in short, substitutes for human labor. This happens first with more routine tasks, which is a big part of the reason why less-educated workers have seen their wages fall the most as we moved deeper into the computer age.
Digital labor will become cheaper than human labor not only in the United States and other rich countries, but also in places like China and India. Off-shoring is only a way station on the road to automation.
Second, technologies are going to continue to become more powerful, and to acquire more advanced skills and abilities. They can already drive cars, understand and produce natural human speech, write clean prose, and beat the best human Jeopardy! players. Digital progress has surprised a lot of people, and we ain’t seen nothing yet.
The Great Decoupling is not going to reverse course, for the simple reason that advances in digital technologies are not about to stop. In fact, we’re convinced that they are accelerating. And this should be great news for society. Digital progress lowers prices, improves quality, and brings us into a world where abundance becomes the norm.

Jobs, Productivity and the Great Decoupling
New York Times
Published: December 11, 2012

(emphasis JS)

About the robots: there’s no question that in some high-profile industries, technology is displacing workers of all, or almost all, kinds. For example, one of the reasons some high-technology manufacturing has lately been moving back to the United States is that these days the most valuable piece of a computer, the motherboard, is basically made by robots, so cheap Asian labor is no longer a reason to produce them abroad.

In a recent book, “Race Against the Machine,” M.I.T.’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argue that similar stories are playing out in many fields, including services like translation and legal research. What’s striking about their examples is that many of the jobs being displaced are high-skill and high-wage; the downside of technology isn’t limited to menial workers.
Robots and Robber Barons
New York Times
Published: December 9, 2012

(Emphasis JS)


Post a Comment

<< Home