The Corporation Giveth, and the Corporation Taketh Away
Who is really “stealing jobs”? Immigrants? Or automation? And why are so many people focussed on immigrants rather than automation if they are fearful for their job security and livelihoods? The “tech-revolution” is forecast to eliminate an estimated 47 to 60% of all job categories, and yet most people are focussed on immigrants or minorities supposedly stealing jobs. That’s not sane. Both immigrants and non-immigrants are competing with each other for scarce, secure jobs against engineers and robots. It’s even anticipated — which is frightening to think — that journalists will be replaced by artificial intelligences.
Automation is already biting into the social and economic fabric and structure of society, and, as is usual, a “jobless recovery” has been underway since the Great Recession of 2008, when corporations took the opportunity from the downturn to automate tasks and jobs formerly performed by humans. It almost seems deliberately conspiratorial that so much attention is being deflected onto immigration rather than the automation wave. You hear virtually nothing about this from government or the corporations (except, of course, how wonderful it will be). It seems to suit the purposes of both to allow, for the time being at least, the scapegoating of immigrants and minority groups rather than have too much public attention focussed on the serious social problems of automation.
Any proper social policy “planning” for wide-spread automation has been, so far, completely incoherent — more or less symbolic gestures of concern and to give the impression that policy planners are on top of things: proposals such as a basic universal guaranteed annual income, or pointless job retraining schemes, or (worse) superstitions about leaving it up to the “Invisible Hand” of the universal “free market” to sort things out.
What ya goin’ to do when they come for you? The robots, that is, and you’re carrying a mountain of private and public debt, a mortgage, or carrying a student loan against the prospects of a future career that will already be obsolete by the time you graduate? I haven’t heard much about how an automated society is going to handle that at all.