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, Research Paper

Technology and the Future of Work

Every society creates an idealized image of the hereafter & # 8211 ; a vision that serves as

a beacon to direct the imaginativeness and energy of its people. The Ancient Jewish

state prayed for rescue to a promised land of milk and honey. Subsequently,

Christian churchmans held out the promise of ageless redemption in the heavenly

land. In the modern age, the thought of a future technological Utopia has served

as the steering visible radiation of industrial society. For more than a century Utopian

dreamers and work forces and adult females of scientific discipline and letters have looked for a future universe

where machines would replace human labor, making a close workerless society of

copiousness and leisure. ( J Rifkin 1995 p.42 )

This paper will see developments in engineering, robotics, electronic

miniaturization, digitization and information engineering with its societal

deductions for human values and the hereafter of work. It will reason that we have

entered station modernness or station Fordism, a new age technological revolution,

which deeply effects societal construction and values. Some issues that will be

addressed are: riddance of work in the traditional sense, length of service, early

retirement, the riddance of hard currency, the restructuring of instruction, industry

and a motion to planetary political relations, economic sciences and universe authorities.

In peculiar this paper will propose that the Christian Judao work moral principle with

society & # 8217 ; s ends of full employment in the traditional sense is no longer

appropriate, necessary or even possible in the close hereafter, and that the

definition of work demands to be far more broad. It argues that as a station market

epoch attacks, that both authorities and society will necessitate to recognize the

effects of new engineering on societal construction and re-distribute resources, there

will necessitate to be rapid development of policies to help appropriate societal

accommodations if utmost societal agitation, unfairness, injury and possible civil

break is to be avoided.

Yonedji Masuda ( 1983 ) suggests we are traveling from an industrial society to an

information society and maintains that a societal revolution is taking topographic point. He

suggests that we have two picks? Computopia & # 8217 ; or an? Automated State & # 8217 ; , a

controlled society. He believes that if we choose the former, the door to a

society filled with boundless possibilities will open ; but if the latter, our

future society will go a ban and a atrocious age. He optimistically

predicts our new future society will be? computopia & # 8217 ; which he describes as

exhibiting information values where persons will develop their cognitive

originative abilities and citizens and communities will take part voluntarily in

shared ends and thoughts.

Barry Jones ( 1990 ) says we are go throughing through a post-service revolution into a

post- service society & # 8211 ; which could be a aureate age of leisure and personal

development based on the concerted usage of resources.

Jeremy Rifkin ( 1995 ) uses the term? The Third Industrial Revolution & # 8217 ; which he

believes is now get downing to hold a important impact on the manner society

organises its economic activity. He describes it as the 3rd and concluding phase

of a great displacement in economic paradigm, and a passage to a close workless

information society, marked by the passage from renewable to non-renewable

beginnings of energy and from biological to mechanical beginnings of power.

In contrast to Masuda, Jones and Rifkin, Rosenbrock et Al. ( 1981 ) delved into

the history of the British Industrial Revolution, and they concluded steadfastly that

we are non witnessing a societal revolution of tantamount magnitude, because the

new information engineering is non conveying about new ways of life. They

predicted that we are non come ining an epoch when work becomes mostly unneeded,

there will be no interruption with the past, but will be seeing the consequence of new

engineering in the following 20 old ages as an intensification of bing inclinations,

and their extension to new countries.

I suggest that Rosenbrock may come to a different decision with the benefit

of hindsight of altering life styles, 15 old ages subsequently, such as the persistent rise

in unemployment and an ageing society.

Population is aging particularly in developed states and will add significantly

to a possible future life style of leisure. Most states will see a

farther rapid addition in the proportion of their population 65 old ages and older

by 2025. This is due to a combination of the station war babe roar and the progresss

in medical specialty, wellness and hygiene engineering with the handiness and spread of

this information. Governments are promoting delayed retirement whereas

concerns are seeking to cut down the size of their older work force. The

engagement rates of older work forces has declined quickly over the past 40 old ages

with the development of national retirement programmes. In many developed

states the figure of work forces 65 and older who remain in the work force has fallen

below 10 per centum. Due in portion to technological progresss there are more older

people and they are go forthing the work force earlier. Thus this organic structure of people will

contribute to the turning Numberss of people with more leisure clip. ( Clerk 1993 )

Professor Nickolas Negroponte ( 1996 ) of the MIT Media Lab, points out that in

per centum per capita it is those people under 17 old ages of age and over

50 five who are the greatest users of the Internet, and that the Internet

and other information engineerings encourage democracy and planetary equalitarianism.

Furthermore he envisions a new coevals of computing machines so human and intelligent

that they are thought of more as comrades and co-workers instead than

mechanical AIDSs.

Jones ( 1990 ) points out a figure of elements associating to the acceptance of new

engineering that have no case in point in economic history and suggests that there is

a compelling instance for the rapid development of policies to help appropriate

societal accommodations. He points out that fabrication has declined as the

dominant employer and that there has been a passage to a? service & # 8217 ; or post

industrial economic system in which far more workers are employed in bring forthing touchable

and intangible services than in fabricating goods. The cost of engineering has

fallen dramatically comparative to the cost of human labor. Miniaturization has

destroyed the historic relationship between the cost of labor and the cost of

engineering, leting exponential growing with undistinguished labor input, which

is taking to the decrease of labor in all high volume procedure work. Sargent

( 1994 ) points out that in Australia during the last decennary, the rich have

go richer and the hapless poorer: the top 20 per cent of families received 44

per cent of national incomes in 1982, and by 1990 this had risen to 47 per cent.

But the top 1 per cent received 11 per cent of incomes in 1982, and this rose to

21 per cent in 1990. Meanwhile unemployment continued to increase.

Jones ( 1990 ) further points out that the new engineering has far greater

dependability, capacity and scope than any which proceeded it. Microprocessors can

be directed to make about anything from be aftering a school course of study and conducting

psychotherapeutics to stomping out metal and cutting fabric. It is cheaper to replace

electronic faculties than to mend them and the new engineering is executing many

maps at one time and bring forthing small heat or waste and will work twenty four

hours a twenty-four hours. The devising and service of much preciseness equipment which required

a big skilled labor force has been replaced by electronic systems that

necessitate fewer workers.

The relationship between telecommunications and computing machines multiplies the power

of both, the power for blink of an eye, cosmopolitan communications is unprecedented,

accordingly the influence of any single economic system to command its ain fate

is reduced. All advanced capitalist states and many 3rd universe and Communist

blocks are now mostly mutualist, this has led to an international division

of labor and the growing of the transnational corporations. The planetary economic system

is quickly taking over from single states.

The acceptance of each new coevals of engineering is increasing and is quickly

going cheaper than its predecessor. Technologies developed in the sixtiess have

seen rapid rates of development, acceptance and airing. Less developed

states can now get the new engineerings due to the rapid lessening in cost,

and the combination of their low rewards and the latest engineering make them

formidable rivals in the planetary market. Almost every country of information

based employment, touchable services and fabrication is being deeply

influenced by new engineering.

Jones ( 1990 ) notes that few economic experts have addressed the many societal

deductions that stem from the development of scientific discipline and engineering. Most

economic experts & # 8217 ; thought is shaped by the Industrial Revolution and they are unable

to see the possibility of a extremist alteration from the yesteryear, they give no intimation

that Australia has passed a monolithic passage from a goods based economic system to a

service base. Attempts to use old redresss to new state of affairss are merely ineffectual.

Jenkins ( 1985 ) disagrees with Jones and argues on behalf of the traditional

economic theoretical account proposing that it will go on to work good in the new epoch and

the facts do non back up any causal relationship between mechanization, higher

productiveness, and unemployment. He claims that it can non be emphasised excessively

strongly that unemployment does non stem from the installing of new engineering.

He says it is the failure to automatize that hazards occupations and the debut of

new engineering will increase the entire figure of occupations. Further, he suggests

that the primary ground for presenting new engineering such as computing machine

controlled automatons is to cut down costs and to better merchandise quality and that

lower costs mean lower monetary values. This consequences in increased demands for goods and

services, which in bend generates higher end product and employment and net incomes. He

suggests that higher net incomes induce higher investing and research and

development outgo whilst the domestic manufacturers of robotics and

microelectronic based equipment addition end product and employment. He sees the

greatest job merely in the demand for occupational restructure of employment,

as the demand for package experts, computing machine coders, technicians and

applied scientists are likely to aggressively lift.

Rifkin ( 1995 ) like Jones believes that the old economic theoretical accounts are

inappropriate in the? Third Industrial Revolution & # 8217 ; and depict positions similar

to Jenkin & # 8217 ; s as & # 8220 ; ? century old conventional economic wisdom & # 8221 ; and & # 8221 ; ? a logic

taking to unprecedented degrees of proficient unemployment, a hasty diminution

in buying power, and the apparition of a worldwide depression. & # 8221 ;

It is questioned whether Jenkins & # 8217 ; solution of re-training will be able to

replace all displaced workers. Educator Jonathon Kazol ( 1985 ) points out that

instruction for all but a few domestic occupations starts at the 9th class degree. And

for those, the hope of being retrained or schooled for a new occupation in the elite

cognition sector is without uncertainty out of range. Even if re-training and re-

instruction on a mass graduated table were undertaken, the huge Numberss of disjointed

workers could non be absorbed as at that place will non be adequate hi-tech occupations

available in the machine-controlled economic system of the 21st century.

A British Government backed survey by Brady and Liff ( 1983 ) clearly supported

this position. They concluded that occupations may be created through new engineering, but

it will be a really long clip before the additions could countervail the losingss from

traditional industries.

Even the neo-classical economic experts continue to subscribe to traditional economic

solutions, yet they have been met with stiff resistance over the old ages. In Das

Kapital, Marx ( McLelland 1977 ) predicted in 1867 that increasing the mechanization

of production would extinguish the worker wholly, and believed the

capitalists were delving their ain Gravess as there would be fewer and fewer

consumers with the buying power to purchase the merchandises.

Many Orthodox economic experts agreed with Marx & # 8217 ; s position in many respects, but unlike

Marx, supported the impression of? dribble down economic sciences & # 8217 ; and said that by?

let go ofing & # 8217 ; workers, the capitalists were supplying a inexpensive labor pool that

could be taken up by new industries that in bend would utilize the excess labor to

increase their net incomes that would in bend be invested in new labour economy

engineering which would one time once more displace labor, making an upward rhythm of

prosperity and economic growing.

Such a point of view may hold some cogency in the short-run but one must see

the longer term effects of such a rhythm, it is questionable whether it could be


Another of import inquiry is whether consumerism will go on unabated,

whether it is a normal human status to see felicity and redemption in the

acquisition of goods and services. The word & # 8220 ; ingestion & # 8221 ; until the present

century was steeped in force. In its original signifier the term, which has both

Gallic and English roots, meant to repress, to destruct, to plunder. Compared

with the mid 1940s the mean American is devouring twice every bit much now. The mass

ingestion phenomena was non the inevitable consequence of an insatiate homo

nature or a phenomenon that occurred spontaneously, quite the contrary. Business

leaders realised rather early that they needed to make the? dissatisfied

client & # 8217 ; , and to do people? want & # 8217 ; things that they had non antecedently desired

( Rifkin 1996 ) . States throughout the universe are get downing to understand the ailment

effects that production has on the? natural & # 8217 ; environment, and the acquisition of

goods and services on the mind. With more people with less money, and a tendency

towards a life style that emphasises quality instead than measure, it is

questionable whether consumerism will, or is desirable, to go on.

Science and engineering & # 8217 ; s profile grew to such an extent in the early portion of

this century in the United States that the protagonists and advocates of

technocracy were prepared to abandon democracy, and favoured? regulation by scientific discipline & # 8217 ;

instead than? regulation by worlds & # 8217 ; and advocated the constitution of a national organic structure,

a technate, that would be given the power to piece the state & # 8217 ; s resources and

brand determinations regulating production

and distribution of goods and services.

The image of engineering as the complete and unbeatable reply, has slightly

tarnished in recent old ages with the figure of technological accidents such as

those which occurred in atomic power Stationss at Chernobl and Three Mile

Island, and menaces of atomic war and environmental debasement increasing and

coming to the bow. Yet the dream that scientific discipline and engineering will liberate humanity

from a life of plodding continues to stay alive and vivacious, particularly among

the younger coevals.

During the 1930s, authorities functionaries, trade union members, economic experts and

concern leaders were concerned that the consequence of labor salvaging devices, lifting

productiveness and efficiency, was declining the economic predicament of every

industrial state. Organised labour wished to portion the additions by concern, such

as increased net incomes and fewer workers required. They joined together, to battle

unemployment by contending to cut downing the working hebdomad and better rewards, therefore

sharing the work and net incomes amongst the workers and supplying more leisure

clip. By using more people at fewer hours, labour leaders hoped to cut down

unemployment brought on by labor-saving engineering, excite buying power

and resuscitate the economic system. Clearly brotherhoods saw the jobs ensuing from

technological alteration to lie partially, in increased leisure clip ( Rifkin 1996 ) .

Unemployment is steadily lifting, planetary unemployment has now reached its highest

degree since the great depression of the 1930s. More than 800 million people are

now underemployed or are unemployed in the universe, while the rich are going

richer and the hapless acquiring poorer. Unemployment rates among school departers in

South Australia is every bit high as 20 five per cent and nine per cent for the

remainder of the community, which leads one to oppugn whether the traditional

economic theoretical account is working.

Trade brotherhoods have pursued their response to unemployment throughout the old ages

with rewards and wages turning and the working hebdomad reduced, for illustration in

the UK the working hebdomad has reduced from eighty four hours in 1820 down to

30 eight hours in 1996 ( Jones 1990 ) .

Typical authorities response to unemployment has been to incite public plants

programmes and to pull strings buying power by revenue enhancement policies that stimulate

the economic system and lower revenue enhancement on ingestion. It can been seen in Australia that

authoritiess no longer see this as the reply, in fact there is an opposite

attack with a strong motion for a goods and services revenue enhancement, to redistribute

wealth, as proposed by the defeated Liberal Party of Andrew Peacock in 1992, and

now being re-introduced. Many occupation creative activity strategies and retraining programmes are

being abandoned by the new Australian Broad Government of John Howard.

However the power of the workers and brotherhoods in 1996 is badly restricted. The

brotherhoods have lost the support of workers as reflected in their falling rank,

and no longer can utilize the menace of direct action with occupations vanishing fast.

The Broad Government passed statute law to restrict corporate bargaining, with

brotherhoods power of direct action going even more scoured and uneffective because

of planetary competition and division of labor, and mechanization gave companies

many options. Unions have been left with no option but to back up re-

preparation, whether they believe it is the reply to unemployment or non.

Today, it seems far less likely that the populace sector, the brotherhoods or the

market place will one time once more be able to deliver the economic system from increasing

technological unemployment. The technological optimists continue to propose that

new services and merchandises ensuing from the technological revolution will

generate extra employment. While this is true, the new merchandises and

services require less workers to bring forth and run, and surely will non

counteract those made redundant through disused trades and professions. Direct

planetary selling by manner of the? Superhighway & # 8217 ; the? Internet & # 8217 ; and other signifiers of

instant telecommunications is doing 1000s of in-between selling employees

obsolete. For illustration the SA bank introduced phone banking some while ago, they

now are the first bank in South Australia to merchandise on the Internet

( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) , and many rural Bankss are shuting. Besides, it has merely

been announced by the electoral committee that vote by telephone will be

trialed following twelvemonth, with tremendous possible occupation loss.

The widely publicised information expressway brings a scope of merchandises,

information and services direct to the consumer, short-circuiting traditional channels

of distribution and transit. The Numberss of new proficient occupations created

will non compare with the 1000000s whose occupations will go irrelevant and

redundant in the retail sectors.

Jones ( 1990 ) notes that there is a demure reserve from those who believe that

societal construction and economic sciences will go on as in the yesteryear, to place the

cryptic new labor absorbing industry that will originate in the hereafter to

prevent monolithic unemployment. Jones believes that industry? X & # 8217 ; if it does

appear, will non be based on conventional economic wisdom but is likely to be in

countries where engineering will hold small application, he suggests it may be in

service based countries such as instruction, place based industry, leisure and touristry.

Despite Barry Jones anticipations, most service industries are really much affected

by new engineering. Education is fast going resource based with pupils in

primary, secondary, proficient and third degrees expected to make their ain

research and undertakings independent of category instructors with schools being networked

and learning through picture conferencing. The conventional instructor is fast

going disused, with the figure of lasting instructors cut downing,

There are legion illustrations of workers in service industries being displaced by

engineering. Shop foreparts such as banking, existent estate, travel and many more, are

vanishing. Small retail nutrient mercantile establishments continue to fall in, with the growing

of supermarkets and nutrient ironss organised around computing machine engineering, and on-

line shopping from place. Interior designers of all types are being superseded by CAD

computing machine design package. Even wholly automated place computerised services

such as a hardware and package bundle called & # 8220 ; Jeeves & # 8221 ; is now available.

Business direction and company managers are happening voice activated lap top

computing machine secretaries far more dependable and efficient than the human signifier.

The New Zealand Minister for Information and Technology, Hon. Maurice

Williamson MP, wrote the preface for the paper? How Information Technology

will alter New Zealand & # 8217 ; :

On the threshold of the 20 first century we are come ining a period of alteration

as far making as any we have of all time seen.

Since the industrial revolution people have had to turn up themselves in big

Centres where they could work with others, but now new engineerings are

rendering distance unimportant. The accomplishments that are needed in tomorrow & # 8217 ; s society

will be those associated with information and cognition instead than the

industrial accomplishments of the 19th and 20th centuries. Changing engineering

will impact about every facet of our lives: how we do our occupations ; how we educate

our kids ; how we communicate with each other and how we are entertained.

As Williamson points out, with the detonation of engineerings, it is easy to

lose sight of the larger forms that underlie them. If we look at the

cardinal ways people live, learn and work, we may derive penetrations about

mundane life. These penetrations are the footing for new engineerings and new

merchandises that are doing an tremendous difference in people & # 8217 ; s lives.

Steping back from the daily research for new electronic devices, life can

be seen as being basically transformed. There is development of a networked

society ; a form of digital connexions that is planetary, unprecedented, critical,

and exciting in the manner that it propels the chances for wholly new

markets and leisure. As people make digital engineering an built-in portion of the

manner they live, learn, work and drama, they are fall ining a planetary electronic

web that has the potency for reshaping many of our lives in the coming


In the hereafter, engineerings will play an even greater function in altering the manner

people live, learn, work and drama, making a planetary society where we live more

comfortably ; with cellular phones and other contraptions that obey voice bids ;

energy-efficient, economical and safe place environments monitored by digital

detectors. There will be & # 8220 ; Smart & # 8221 ; contraptions and vehicles that anticipate our demands

and present service immediately. We are seeing portable communications devices

that work without wires ; package intelligent agents that kind and synthesise

information in a personally trim format ; new engineerings that provide

increased safety and protect our freedom, runing from infra-red devices that

light the dark to micro-cook devices that improve radio detection and ranging and communications.

Peoples are besides larning more expeditiously, with synergistic picture schoolrooms

that enable one-on-one attending and larning systems that remember each

pupil & # 8217 ; s strengths and seamster lesson programs consequently. There are lap-top

computing machines and desktop picture cartridge holders that bring in-depth background on current

events with instant entree to worldwide libraries and mention books with full

gesture images.

Peoples are working more fruitfully, with & # 8220 ; practical offices & # 8221 ; made possible by

portable communications engineerings and package that allows enterprise-wide

concern solutions at a fraction of the usual cost and in a shorter length of

clip with monolithic memory available at the desktop and lap-top degrees. There are

& # 8220 ; Intelligent & # 8221 ; photocopiers that duplicate a papers and route it to a file and

coincident desktop video-conferencing from multiple locations, directing voice

and informations at the same time over the same communications channel.

With the detonation of leisure activities available, people play more expansively.

There are 100s of films available on demand at place, virtual-reality games,

a growing in the figure of channels delivered by direct orbiter telecasting,

videophones that link faces with voices, synergistic telecasting for audience

engagement, instant entree to worldwide amusement and travel information

and synergistic telegaming with international spouses ( Texas Instruments 1996 ) .

This paper has considered developments in electronic miniaturization, robotics,

digitization and information engineering with its societal deductions for homo

values and the hereafter of work. It has argued that we have come ining a post-modern

period and are come ining a post-market epoch in which life will no longer be

structured around work in the traditional sense, there will be greater freedom

and independent life, paid employment will be de-emphasised and our life style

will be leisure orientated.

I have argued that the societal end of full employment in the traditional sense

is no longer appropriate, necessary or even possible, that both authorities and

society will necessitate to recognize the effects of engineering on societal construction and

re-organise resources to be distributed more every bit if utmost societal agitation,

unfairness, injury and possible civil break is to be avoided.

I foresee a scenario of a sustainable incorporate planetary community in which

there will be some signifier of swap but hard currency will be mostly eliminated, money

will be? practical & # 8217 ; . A minimum sum of people will be involved and bask some

signifiers of high tech activity, while the huge bulk will hold a career that

is basically originative and gratifying possibly affecting the humanistic disciplines and music with

a spiritualty that involves deep regard and attention for the natural universe with

new signifiers of single and group interaction. There will be minimum signifiers of

universe cardinal democratic authorities. Huge signifiers of substructure will no longer

be required as citizens will mostly be technologically independent. Most

communicating and interaction will be instant and conducted from place, office or

public terminus. There will be new signifiers and ways of life, new household

constructions that may dwell of larger and smaller groups. A comfy,

enjoyable and leisure based life style in which all the necessities and wants

will be automatically provided through the procedures of the mostly self-

sustaining and ego germinating engineering.

Rifkin ( 1995 ) has a similar position, and concludes that he believes the route to a

near-workerless economic system is within sight and that route could head for a safe

haven or a awful abysm, it all depends on how well civilization prepares

for the post-market epoch. He excessively is optimistic and suggests that the terminal of work

could signal the beginning of a great societal transmutation, a metempsychosis in the

human spirit.


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