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Is Web based automation keeping unemployment at a higher level?

The World Wide Web is certainly a useful tool.
But I think the use of the web to automate tasks has resulted in the unfortunate result of decreasing the numbers of jobs that were available before the advent of the web. It is also causing unemployment rates to remain at higher levels than any time before in history.
Email is reducing the need for postal workers, electronic toll collection devices have reduced the number of toll collection jobs, and help desk jobs are shrinking because such tasks have been automated as well.
Is the web creating higher rates of unemployment?

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    Apr 6 2014: No, I don't believe the Web is keeping unemployment high. Just look at the vast number of people Google, eBay and Amazon are employing inside the USA and outside. Many of these companies have offices in South Africa, and elsewhere in the East. So there is more likely a balance of people who were temporarily displaced to the new job opportunities created.

    An economist may be in a better position to answer this with accurate estimates. Another consideration should be the very large number of self employed people who make money from websites either through blogging, affiliate marketing or selling goods online through eBay and similar auction websites. They would have been unemployed otherwise.
  • Mar 18 2014: A new tech will give a bussines only a temporary advantage:
    Because the bussines will fire people, who will become unemployed,
    who will not have money to spend on his bussines
    So the price goes down, there is also the concorrency copiying the tech
    And with time everything gets balanced again

    Except for the case where to balanced the things, there is less jobs, that pays better

    In this case, Research, Jornalism, Art, Music, Entretainment (circus, video games, tv) or even Crime industry will end up adressing these people

    Until everything explodes or balances one way or another

    Those kind of Jobs might seem for some like second class jobs, but with time people will see that this kind of job adress profound topics by itself that can be usefull for everyone in general and even be usefull for bussines like in marketing
    • Mar 24 2014: Things will get balanced, but at a higher level of unemployment.

      If unemployment keep stabilizing at higher and higher rates, people will not be able to feed themselves and their families. Crime and violence will increase.
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    Mar 10 2014: That technology displaces labor doing the tasks that can be done more efficiently by machine is discussed often here.

    While decreasing the demand for people to do some tasks, technologies can also increase the demand for people with skills related to the design or uses of those technologies.

    The displacement of people doing rote tasks is one reason there is so much conversation about the need to continue to retool education and training to build the sorts of skills and attitudes that are going to be of increasing value in the years to come. These include skills in critical thinking, resourcefulness and flexibility, and technology-related skills that have become such a big part of programming over the last decade or more.

    Separately, as technologies of various kinds improve health and longevity, more adults are available for work, which increases the denominator of the unemployment rate.
    • Mar 12 2014: I understand that technologies have been replacing human beings in the workforce for a long time.
      My concern is that web based automation is replacing more jobs than other technologies have done in the past.
      As far as “the demand for people with skills related to the design or uses of those technologies” is concerned, I think that the creation of such jobs lags far behind the numbers of jobs that are lost to technological advances. That is probably why unemployment will remain at higher levels in the future.
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        Mar 12 2014: It is not only aggregate numbers. Those who lose jobs to technology or outsourcing are seldom the ones who can retrain quickly for the new jobs technology demands. For this reason there can simultaneously be many unemployed people and unfilled openings.
  • Mar 8 2014: We can legislate against unemployment. In the European Union we have a law that limits the amount of time at work. When a new wave of labour saving devices such as the internet comes along we can redistribute employment by reducing the lawful amount of time at work.
    • Mar 10 2014: Do workers get paid more for working the legislated lower "amount of time at work"?

      Otherwise how can they pay their bills, eat, and buy a house and a car, . . . ?
  • Mar 6 2014: You should read the idea a bit more. Everything that is in high supply is really cheap, and there is incentive to produce them. This is NOT communism, it is just fixing the money game using system theory and technology.
    • Mar 7 2014: If, as you say, “Everything that is in high supply is really cheap, and there is incentive to produce them,” why are so many people still working hard every day?
      Who should I talk to get a big house to live in without having to work every day or pay taxes and eat gourmet food every day without having to pay for anything, including healthcare? Where do I sign up to lead a life of luxury by working just a couple of days a year?
      • Mar 7 2014: Luxury is relative. In this system it is those things that are not yet in high abundance (think owning your own plane vs using a plane ticket). Where do you sign up? When the registry starts to take off after I've collected enough data to validate the theory. I have to build the software first to. Playing the social networking game I'm making will help.

        Does everyone get a big house? Not yet (until we can have more automation in the construction industry), but they don't have to live on the street with the technology we have today.
        • Mar 7 2014: I think we have enough resources. It is the unequal distribution of such resources that is a problem. I really am not interested in a life of luxury, but many people are.
          How are you going to make people less greedy?
      • Mar 7 2014: Exactly, which this new monetary system will hopefully solve. This doesn't get rid of greedy people. Greed if human nature. We just make it so that if your greedy, and ambitious, to get the things that you want you have to contribute your time towards producing more things for more people, not just decide what the value ofthings are. Have you ever heard of investors saying "if you charge more you'll get more money". It should be the other way around. The more people that are satisfied, the more money you make. By setting your own price, you're deciding what your time is worth to society. I talk about this on my wiki, you should read it before asking more questions. See the Q&A.
  • Mar 6 2014: Why do we work in the first place? To get money to buy the things we want and need. But if we have such great automation providing all these utilities, why are things still so expensive? What if we had so much automation that you would only need to work a few days a week/month/year?
    You may want to read my idea
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/23062/direct_democracy_implementatio.html
    • Mar 6 2014: You said in your conversation:
      “3.1 Provide a high abundance of quality goods and services for everyone”.
      Who is going to produce and provide such goods and services? In the US we already have an abundance of goods and services, but not everyone has equal access to such goods and se4rvices and not everyone can afford to pay for them.
      If we live in a utopian society where all our needs are taken care of, then we do not have to work at all. But I do not want to live in a communist society.
      Our income will be limited if we only work for a few days or a limited number of days during our lifetimes.
      How can we live a decent life with limited income? Only those who control the means of automation will become wealthy. Others will remain poor and continue to live on the fringes of society.
      • Mar 7 2014: Those who work in the industry that has all this automation will be wealthy yes, because we want people to work there. But remember paid = max (1, D/S) T, and cost = DT/S. What happens when S > D? Those things in high supply are cheap to purchase but the people making them get paid the same as if supply = demand.
        • Mar 12 2014: Is what you are saying being practiced anywhere at this point in time?
          Human beings will always try to take advantage of whatever system is put in place.
      • Mar 12 2014: I'm working on building a social networking game to simulate it, with a means of winning including trying to take advantage of the system to try and find obvious holes.
        • Mar 12 2014: That will be a good start.

          But a game is still a game, and what people do in a game may be different from what they will do in real life.
      • Mar 12 2014: It's not going to be perfect, and neither is or existing system. How many crooks are in jail today because they have broken our financial laws? The same goes with this implementation of a monetary system. Thanks for reading about my idea.
        • Mar 12 2014: I hope you are able to implement your ideas in real life. Let me know when it happens. Wish you all the best.