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SOSC 1520 (8)

Reading notes The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin.docx

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Social Science
SOSC 1520
John Hutcheson

The End of Work by Jeremy RifkinWhat I wrote on the Canadian unemployment rate websiteMark is correct Unemployment rates are only based on people who are on unemployment insurance Only about 50 of unemployed workers today are eligible for unemployment insurance in Canada and that rate is decreasing with higher requirements set by the government To prove that you are looking for work people are generally required to go to unemployment offices to prove that they had gone to interviews with companies by providing contact information with their human resource departments Alfred it would be very difficult to measure the number of people who are not employed For example there are students homeless and rich people who do not need jobs or cannot find jobs who are not counted as unemployedif anyone would like more information about unemployment a good book to read would be the end of work by Jeremy Rifkin which can find that a local library in this book Rifkin argues that as technology progresses and replaces laborers in both bluecollar and whitecollar workforces unemployment will follow for example today manufacturing jobs even in China are being replaced by machines bank tellers are being replaced by ATMs data entry jobs are being replaced by programsand especially middlemanagement jobs are being replaced by corporate restructuring A solution tested by unions and even used in France today was to lower the workweek to 3530 hours a week this was so that more people can be employed and money could circulate more freely to keep up with the increase in productivity from machines Its better to employ two people four hours a day then one person eight hours a day so that governments will not have to pay as much in unemployment insurance This also makes companies happy because then they could schedule work around peak hours more efficiently which is a highly valued strategy to stay competitive in a globalized economy todayGlobal unemployment has become a serious issue US statistics in chronological order 1994 66 2000 4 2003 6 European Union average of 79 Global statistics 1995 800 million 2001 over 1 billion US prison population 1980 half a million 2000 2 million equal to 18 of the adult male workforces in prisonPermanent Job Loss RecoveryThere has been a significant amount of job cuts and job losses Economists have been recommending that the unemployed increase their skills for more sophisticated hightech jobs of the future however 44 of the longterm unemployed in 2002 were educated beyond high school And statistics have shown that within 2003 theres been an increase in the US GDP in all sectors However the unemployment continues to remain highProductivity ConundrumSome critics blame the increase in unemployment on cheap labor and cheaper imports from abroad and rail against American companies for relocating production and services South of the border and overseas Well there is been some truth to the claim the deeper cause of the spreading unemployment in America and around the world lies with dramatic boost in productivity xviiAs technology progresses companies can now produce more with less workers every year thousands of manufacturing jobs are being replaced by advances in productivity in the form of cheaper more efficient technologies and better methods for organizing work This is not limited to bluecollar jobs but also whitecollar jobs which are now being replaced by intelligent technologies such as voice recognition technologies used by telecom companies and automatic transaction machines by banks The global economy now is being supported by a massive consumer debt because people are taking loans without jobs Traditionally politics would protect workers by increasing wages and benefit requirements from companies Workers would strike with their unions however globalization has allowed management to move capital and plants elsewhere creating a race to the bottomThe result is that the productivity gains rather than being shared with the workers in the form of increased wages and benefits mainly accrue to the benefit of shareholders in the form of increased dividends as well as bloated salaries for senior management Of course in the end the whole system suffers when the paychecks of working people shrink or disappear altogether xxisome economists put forth the argument that even though workers wages and benefits are shrinking increases in productivity are making goods and services cheaper and therefore allowing working people to buy more with less income If that were the case working people would not be going deeper and deeper into debt to survive xxiits estimated that only 5 of the adult population will be required to manage and operate traditional industry in the year 2050 Of course the coming era will bring with it all sorts of new goods and services that in turn will require new occupational skills especially in the more sophisticated knowledge Arena However these new jobs by their nature are elite and restricted in numbers We will never again see thousands of workers stream out of the factory gates and service centers as we did in the 20th century xxiiCreating Millions of Jobs in the New Hydrogen AgeElectricity is needed in South Africa the three people from survival based societies into productive industrial societies The idea is to introduce hydrogenbased energy infrastructures into the poorest countries by infusing investment capital Another way to bring investment capital into poor countries and the Third World is the privatization of real estate which is estimated at 9 trillionA shortened work week in the industrialized nations means more people can be kept on the employment rolls This was experimented on in France in 2000 with a workweek reduced to 35 hours a week France experienced an increase in productivity and overall enjoyment 2002 French workers produced 4185 of output per hour or 302 per hour more than American workersIn the competitive globalized markets government needed to compensate companies by freeing them of payroll or whether corporate taxes in direct proportion to the expenses incurred in shortening the workweek Governments will lose revenue at the front end but they will pick it up at the back end Were people working means fewer people on welfare more paychecks more consumption increase personal savings and investment and more employed people paying both personal income and sales tax all increasing the governments revenue base xxixxxxthe third sector also known as nonprofit organizations have significantly increased total employment growth creating millions of jobs Is been found that up to 50 of nonprofit is funded by fees for services and products dispelling the myth that nonprofit sectors are dependent on government or private charity to sustain themselvesSerious consideration has been given to using tech shifting arrangements to shift the burden of tax from personal income to polluters or those that use natural resources The increase in tax on natural resources such as gasoline home heating electricity and automobile use has influenced people and industries to be more efficient and conservativeA new concept has occurred called the kind of social currency between people stored in time banks Every hours Someone contributes to social society is equivalent to one time dollar no matter the expertise one dollar equals one hour The idea creating reciprocal obligations among equals is a far superior form of engagement than just volunteering ones services to others in need The latter often creates an unequal relationship of dependency the feeling that one is being given charity because it does not allow the person in need a way to reciprocate Social dollars reinforces the idea of mutual aid that is bringing together many more people into cooperative relationships with one another xxxix This system has been tested in health maintenance organizations and has been effective in transforming patients from passive recipients to act the providers of health careMan and machine have had an interesting relationship At first machines replaced farmers and to have reduce the farming population to about 3 after machines have taken the worker farmers They created new jobs in manufacturing but even today manufacturing jobs are being cut by new technologies But again technology has offered new possibilities for employment in service sectors such as teaching nursing mates babysitting government officials file clerks and salesman etc Now computers are threatening the service sector and were not sure what new employment may be emerging to absorb the mass of unemployed workers The only new sector emerging as the knowledge sector made up of small elite of entrepreneurs scientists technicians computer programmers professional educators and consultants While the sectors growing is not expected absorb more than a fraction of the hundreds of millions will be eliminated in the next several decades in the wake of revolutionary advances in the information and communication sciences xlviiPart One The Two Faces of TechnologyThe End of WorkIntelligent machines are replacing human workers in countless tasks forcing millions of blue and white collar workers into unemployment lines 3 The young are beginning to vent their frustration and arrange in increasingly antisocial behavior workers between a prosperous past
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