Saturday, February 11, 2012

Did we receive those benefits of Technology?

"Three principal mechanisms are generating the financial troubles of the great majority of Americans. One is the technology that I had hoped would help them. In addition to eliminating many simple, repetitive jobs, e.g., many on assembly lines, sophisticated technology also eliminated many fairly high level jobs requiring knowledge and judgment, for example, in the control of complex, continuous processes such as those in a steel or paper mill. Word processors greatly reduced the need for skilled typists.
The second mechanism is the phasing out of factories in the US, with American companies setting up facilities in low-wage countries, or contracting out production of their products to overseas producers [Unger-3]. By far the most popular country for this outsourcing is China. Related to this is the export of work such as telephone help, and the interpretation of medical-rays.
The third mechanism that has made it difficult for many Americans to get decent jobs is the import of workers, mostly from low-wage countries [Unger-2]. Legal immigration is currently at an annual rate of about a million. There are also various "guest worker" programs that bring in hundreds of thousands annually, ranging from farm workers to nurses and computer programmers. In addition, there are roughly 11 million illegal immigrants now here, with varying (depending on economic conditions) numbers, of the order of a half million, arriving annually."

The things I remember while growing up is that technology would give us more leisure time, not more unemployment.  Live and learn eh?

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