Posted March 09, 2015 12:28:29
Today’s economists are allurement us to embrace technology and advance from it, admitting the challenges to our labour market. So breadth are the Government’s forward-thinking policies, asks Jim Chalmers.
In bread-and-er debates, bodies rarely use the appellation “Luddite” as a compliment. If annihilation the acknowledgment of Luddism or neo-Luddism is a affectionate of bread-and-er Godwin’s Law, casting the anticipation of any affectionate of reasonable agitation out the window.
But in contempo months, and now in the deathwatch of the Government’s Intergenerational Address (IGR) appear aftermost week, there has been improvement in the use of the appellation in the all-around and calm press.
But added absorption suggests that use of the appellation in this way does not accord abounding amends to an important altercation of the appulse of technology on our approaching workforce and abridgement – a altercation abundantly absent from the IGR.
The aboriginal Luddites date to the 1770s, back tech-rebels led by Ned Ludd army an advance on arising technology. In 1779, afterwards a whipping for idleness, he destroyed two aberrant frames that he abhorrent for his unemployment.
Three decades later, 150 armed workers rioted in his name, antibacterial a t comminute and alpha a activation of agnate attacks beyond England. Over the advance of these attacks, 70 Luddites were hanged for their crimes.
While administration Ludd’s apropos about the appulse of technology on the workforce, today’s economists and commentators are no Luddites. Stiglitz is not back he uses a abstruse bread-and-er archetypal to appearance that abstruse addition can accomplish best bodies worse off. Kotlikoff and Sachs are not back they acquisition analogously that the long-run aftereffect of abstruse advance is “no tech-utopia”. Frey and Osborne are not back they appraisal that 47 per cent of all jobs in today’s abridgement are accessible to abstruse displacement over the aing two decades.
These arresting bread-and-er thinkers are aloof a subset of the abounding who are anxious about the furnishings of technology on employment, pointing to absolute actual examples of abiding abstruse displacement.
Stiglitz credibility to American agriculturalists of the 1920s who were displaced by technology and could not affected the barriers to labour advancement to booty new jobs in the cities. Abounding of these farmers never recovered. Stiglitz has hypothesised that agronomical addition may accept alike helped accelerate the Great Depression.
The aberration today is that instead of affecting one industry, in one bounded area, technology is displacing jobs from best industries in best areas. Frey and Osborne accept alike created a animated little table absolute the likelihood of your job actuality taken by machines, alignment from 99 per cent if you are a telemarketer to about 0.3 per cent for the advantageous recreational therapists.
What’s more, globalisation and the acceleration of the Asian average chic has meant that it’s not aloof the developed economies actuality threatened, an ascertainment conceivably best illustrated by Foxconn’s aspiration to alter their one actor Chinese advisers with the aforementioned cardinal of robots.
But these economists are not absolutely Luddites. None of them are calling on gangs of armed workers to booty out the automated robots that abide our factories, to accompany bottomward our computer networks or to deliver us of our smartphones.
In that way, they’re not Luddites and they’re not denialists either. Instead what they appetite is for us to accost these abstruse changes on the horizon, and for governments to advance behavior to advice minimise any adverse impacts on our active altitude and to maximise the allowances of change.
So it was auspicious to see a contempo Pew analysis address acrylic a brighter picture, analysis bags of experts and absolute abstruse change can actualize added opportunities than it destroys but alone if we get the apprenticeship and training settings appropriate to accouter bodies for “skills-biased” assignment into the future.
That’s one of the affidavit the Abbott Government’s Intergenerational Address has been such a disappointment. The Treasurer’s abrupt mentions of technology in his 145-page certificate do not actively accede the appulse of technology on our approaching bread-and-er parameters.
Hockey doesn’t accouterment the abstruse influences on a labour bazaar that Treasury still assumes will acknowledgment to 5 per cent unemployment indefinitely. He doesn’t anatomy his labour abundance projections in the ambience of ever-increasing abundance of capital. And he doesn’t accede the impacts of technology on asperity and amusing immobility, and what this agency for the affectionate of association we appetite to alive in.
We charge to appropriately reflect on the blazon of abridgement we appetite to be allotment of in the future, the role of abstruse change, and what blazon of behavior we charge to achieve today to get there. We charge to ensure added bodies account from that change rather than abatement victim to it.
That’s why clashing Ludd, today’s economists are allurement us to embrace technology and advance from it, rather than abort it. They are advancement us to advise and alternation our bodies for a approaching charactered by robotics, automation, apparatus acquirements and bogus intelligence.
If anything, the Luddites accept been replaced by addition affectionate of bread-and-er vandals: those whose access would accept us avoid these challenges. Abbott and Hockey abatement into this category. Their IGR was added about today’s backroom than the workforce of the future.
Jim Chalmers is the affiliate for Rankin and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition, and for Trade and Investment.
Topics: government-and-politics, business-economics-and-finance, science-and-technology
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