Little companies...meaning ones with very few employees. 

“Here’s a current example of the challenge we face,” Jaron Lanier writes in the prelude to his new book, Who Owns The Future: “At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?” (source)

Lanier argues there are many parallel examples of high tech and the Internet killing not just a few, but vast numbers of well-paying jobs, replacing them with a miniscule number of high tech drones, or with software that totally replaces what used to be jobs that fed families.

Why is it that we blame The Gap for sending garment making jobs to Bangladesh but not Craigslist, which runs nearly on autopilot, for ending 10's of thousands of jobs in newspaper classified ad departments, or online news for putting newspapers and professional journalism on the skids?

Tags: Internet, middle-class, unemployment

Views: 578

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I guess it may be true, but I wouldn't use it to stop technology growth. Remember that we had the exact same problem during the Industrial Revolution, where machines replaced human labor; now computers and software are replacing humans again. I guess we will have to find an economic solution where new jobs are created.

And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?”

The wealth is still there.  Hundreds of millions of people can take and widely share photographs essentially for free, whereas before it was limited and costly.  Their quality of life has gone up while their costs have gone down. 

It's only going to continue with more robotic manufacturing and the proliferation of 3-D printing/milling machines.  Labor as an engine for manufacturing is increasingly unnecessary. 

In a lot of ways, that's a good thing.  More people can have more stuff for less effort.  Quality of life improves.  The remaining jobs in custom/specialty manufacturing and service/intellectual fields should be more stimulating and fulfilling.

The problem is that it's awfully disruptive in the short term.  Probably as disruptive as the move from farming to manufacture, if not more. 

What do you think about creating scarcity of labor through switching to a 30-hour work week? 

The wealth is still there.  Hundreds of millions of people can take and widely share photographs essentially for free, whereas before it was limited and costly.  Their quality of life has gone up while their costs have gone down. 

On the backs of people many of whom are facilitating those improvements by being unemployed or underemployed. Thumbs up! right?

The problem is that it's awfully disruptive in the short term.  Probably as disruptive as the move from farming to manufacture, if not more. 

You make it sound temporary, which we can wish for, but it doesn't seem to be the trend.

What do you think about creating scarcity of labor through switching to a 30-hour work week? 

Just like the recession has, wouldn't that simply impel companies to devise even less labor-intensive and more efficient ways of serving the dwindling body of people who can afford anything?

The problem is our belief in the sanctity of property and ownership. When someone who owns a company develops a new, labor-saving idea, i.e. technology, they assume complete control over the capitol that was the value of the labor. This can only serve to condense wealth. 

On the backs of people many of whom are facilitating those improvements by being unemployed or underemployed. Thumbs up! right?

Yes, thumbs up!  Increasing the wealth of the whole society over protecting the wealth of the few in an outdated industry?  Absolutely.

You make it sound temporary, which we can wish for, but it doesn't seem to be the trend.

I didn't mean to make it sound temporary.  Those farm jobs are gone forever.  So are those jobs in film production and processing.  In fact, the loss of farm jobs has resulted in dying towns across middle America, which is driving the Tea Party/apocalyptic Christian movement in the U.S.   Down the road, the loss of low-skill manufacturing jobs will leave some places behind and probably generate a similar sort of movement.

Most people (well, younger people) will find other things to do, but just as manufacturing required changes in where people lived and in the skills they needed compared with farming, the same thing will happen again. 

Just like the recession has, wouldn't that simply impel companies to devise even less labor-intensive and more efficient ways of serving the dwindling body of people who can afford anything?

The recession just accelerated a trend that was already there.

One way to increase demand for labor is to reduce supply.  If the supply is limited to 30 hours weekly, then there will necessarily be more demand.

That in no way changes the fact that businesses will continue to try to improve efficiency.  Nor should it.

That does to some extent affect wealth distribution as more people would become employed, but it doesn't address the underlying structural problems of overcompensated executives and bank gambling.

The printing press is destroying the jobs of all those hardworking scribes! And tractors are destroying the jobs of all those hardworking farmers!

The difference is that the printing press created industries which actually created jobs. Ditto for tractors (more efficient production opened up export markets). However, Craigslist and Amazon are destroying jobs and are contributing to the phenomenon that the middle class is shrinking while the ranks of the un- or under-employed are constantly growing. They are impoverishing us.

At the same time many big companies are outsourcing our middle class jobs to other countries.

@Unseen : I'm sorry, but that simply isn't true. New information age innovations like Amazon.com are enriching the world, not impoverishing it. These new internet services provide things to the poor that never would have been possible previously. If you want detailed information about exactly how that's happening and why, you can go read The World is Flat, by Thomas L. Friedman.


http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/bookshelf/the-world-is-flat

(The title is a metaphor -- it's not a flat-earther book.)

American companies like Craigslist or Amazon benefiting the Portuguese, Bolivians, or Nigerians isn't what I'm talking about. They are a net drain on American jobs and clearly contribute to the fact that the middle class is dwindling with some going into the upper class but most drifting into the lower class. Do you have proof otherwise?

You talk about all the jobs these new innovations replace, but you ignore all the jobs they create. And yes, there is plenty of proof that these companies do in fact help poor people all over the globe, including poor people in the United States. Read that book I linked in my previous reply and then come back. ;)

Craigslist or Amazon benefiting the Portuguese, Bolivians, or Nigerians isn't what I'm talking about. They are a net drain on American jobs

So you are a racist? We live in a global world... America isn't the only place we should care about. I agree that America's middle class is shrinking, with most of it changing to lower class. Innovation and technology is not necessarily the problem.

RSS

  

Blog Posts

People

Posted by ɐuɐz ǝllǝıuɐp on July 28, 2014 at 10:27pm 4 Comments

Services we love

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

In need a of a professional web site? Check out the good folks at Clear Space Media

© 2014   Created by Dan.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service