A two-part Al Jazeera documentary examines how technology is hollowing out former mid-range skill, middle income jobs, and how that process is set to intensify over the coming decade. My brother and sister-in-law, who are both in outsourcing, say the studies they’ve seen on the number of jobs expected to be displaced come up with mind-bogglingly high estimates.
The documentary acknowledges that Luddites in the past have worried about workers being threatened by the march of technology when in fact growth has led to more jobs. But things aren’t that simple. The first two generations of the Industrial Revolution led to lower standards of large swathes of the population. And the prognosis for lower and even many higher skilled workers now is grim, with experts saying that they see the potential for substitution of workers as far greater than in other periods of technological advances.
Needless to say, these forecasts explain the reluctance of the top wealthy to continue to support public education. They don’t anticipate needing as many skilled workers. Moreover, well educated under-employed citizens would make for a more effective opposition.