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charlize burstein

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Debate: Technology will eliminate the need for human employees, and the unemployment rate will increase.

Technology is an easier and faster way to get a job done. It is obvious that technology increases the profitability of companies throughout the world. So why would I hire a human rather than purchasing the technology when the costs of them are the same?

Discuss the situation where you are going to choose one of them with equal conditions (conditions means the costs and several types of expenses).


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    Nov 23 2012: It's interesting how all commenters generally agree that automation is increasing, but still a line is drawn between those who are optimistic about the future and those who are pessimistic. In fact, the same division can be seen in the TED talks themselves:


      • Nov 23 2012: Agreed, but people often ask "how?"
        Should we say, "We are working on it"..?
        In effect, zillions of people including factory workers lose their jobs all over the world.
        I wouldn't say it's all because of Technology, but it seems like the people in charge of their employment keep saying, “We wish we could help, but for now, our hands are tied.”

        I'm also the one who tries to look on the bright side of this issue, however, I happen to have the opinion that there has to be at least a certain way out of this problem.

        We'll find a solution, someday maybe. But for now, it's quite vague. Any suggestions?
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          Nov 23 2012: the labour market is just another market, with the same principles as any other market, namely supply and demand. if we have overproduction of shoes, it is a meaningful question to ask why we produce more shoes than people willing to buy? the same question should be asked about labour. why do we have less demand than supply? changes in the shoe production does not change the fact that the market finds its equilibrium. so changes in the productivity of a person should not change the total demand for labor. then what happened?

          what happened is we don't have a free labor market anymore. high taxes, high administration costs, minimum wage, employee "protection" laws, state granted benefits all move the labour market in the direction of reduced demand.
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          Nov 23 2012: True. The inability to see the "unseen" on this particular market, however, wrecks havoc in the whole of the economy like nothing else.
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      Nov 23 2012: This line of optimistic and pessimistic views about the future of human employees seems to rise from the given uncertainty of how and if we will rearrange our econmy to compensate for it.

      At the moment, if you are an highly educated and experience specialist at the age of 20 you could not care less about this debate, as it will take years to effect you personally.

      On the 'lower end' of unlearned and poorly educated worker the given technology level already is a real threat, and if not technology is the cause, then low income countries are instead.

      And even if we would 'produce' only highly educated workers from now on, the question remains if there are enough jobs left for all of them.

      As the development in technology will not put itself 'on hold' societies have do re-invent themselves as well to cope with the problems of a high-tech future.

      At present I don't really see any effort made on this transformation process, on the contrary, all there is to see is 'protection of vested rights' of an old-fashioned and well nursed, established system. The 'bail out' phenomena of todays history ...
    • Nov 23 2012: I don't think people are blaming technology, they're blaming the way our society and economy deal with automation. If properly utilized automation is a blessing, if not properly utilized it will lead to massive unemployment, or many, many people scrubbing the toilets of rich people with toothbrushes for very, very low wages.
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        Nov 23 2012: I think it's just misplaced class envy. Rich people are only rich if there are employed people spending money on there products and services. The wealthier the middle class is, the more money the upper class makes. No one wants high unemployment, or actively works to cause it.
        • Steve C

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          Nov 23 2012: I think this paradigm, (if that's the right word), has been bypassed by the fiat currency system.
          Now there is no need for working-class people to make any money at all to funnel up to the rich. Money is now electronically zapped-into the wallets of the rich, & then they spend it buying-up the world's resources. Any "money" earned by the poor are buried by the next avalanche of currency.
          "Inflation is a result of legalized counterfeiting." ~Chris Bridges
        • Nov 30 2012: "Rich people are only rich if there are employed people spending money on there products and services."

          This is true today but many rich people don't believe in it and even if they do it wouldn't stop them from not caring about unemployment: if a millionaire can increase his net worth by 50% though increasing unemployment he won't really be bothered by the fact that he and all the other millionaires lose a bit of purchasing power per unit of currency (a 50% increase in net worth more than makes up for it), maybe that will eventually come back to bite his great grand kids in the ass, but that's not his problem when he's long dead.

          There may also come a day when the rich don't need middle class consumers anymore. Imagine 1% of the population owning huge automated facilities and massive numbers of robotic drones that mine/harvest 90% of the Earth's natural resources and turn it into toys for their rich masters, people within this 1% will still trade with one another. Meanwhile the other 99% live off the remaining 10% of the Earth's natural resources as subsistence level. The top 1% would then be at 90% of the maximum possible wealth level (after all, you can't consume more than 100% of the Earth's natural resources) and the emergence of a middle class among the remaining 99% would actually make the top 1% less rich (because any middle class would be able to consume more than 10% of the Earth's natural resources with their wages since those wages have to be higher than subsistence level for there to be a middle class).

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