from this speech
disscus the so called job crisis, the automation of work and human tasks, is on the most profound level a war against people. What happened, i hold, is that war has been transposed into another key?
can some one answer this it is from speech" peace, technology, and the role of ordinary people by ursula franklin
5 Answers | Add Yours
I'm not sure exactly what you mean here, but I'll tell you how I interpret this quote. She appears to be using the metaphor of war to describe the damage being done by the job crisis--including jobs lost both by the economic crisis and the automation of human tasks.
When humans are no longer needed for the production of goods and services, whether through diminished demand or automation, they are the casualties of a consumer war.
First, the consumer isn't buying, so demand is down. This is a casualty for those who need more than they have as well as for those who have lost their jobs.
Second, the consumer is demanding cheaper goods, forcing producers to cut costs by removing the human element. The casualty here is not the consumer, as goods are cheaper; however, jobs are lost and workers are the casualty.
A war metaphor will have to do with casualties, weapons, enemies, and causes. A "real war" is played, if you will, in a major key and the consequences are brutal and deadly, even if the cause is worthy. This metaphorical war has all of those elements but is played in a minor key, as the consequences may be sever but aren't deadly.
I'll be interested in seeing what others have to say!
I do not know this speech, either, but I'll add to auntlori's thoughts by saying that both issues unevenly affect the poorest members of society. The types of jobs that are lost to automation are the lower skilled jobs, at least at first. And historically, poorer people make up the bulk of the military, particularly those on the front lines. I would like to see this speech, as the analogy seems to be apt.
The automation of tasks and skills, resulting in job loss, is part of the progress of capitalism. I disagree that a capitalist economy "owes" it to citizens to hold back progress in order to preserve jobs. However, the democratic republic does owe it to the citizenry to ensure that opportunity is available for retraining for those who lose jobs to this type of progress.
The capitalist economy also makes it possible to create jobs via entrepreneurship. There is nothing holding back those who lose jobs from getting training in how to exploit the new opportunities. For example, if someone is "downsourced" from customer service because it is less expensive to hire CS agents in India, what is preventing the American person from getting a laptop, setting up an e-company, and bidding on those jobs via the internet, then outsourcing them to CS agents in India?
I agree largely with #4: "the automation of work and tasks" can't be interpreted solely as a "war against people" - we do not have the right to hold up technology and become Luddites, ignoring better ways of working, but we do have the responsibility as a society to ensure that we equip, re-train and find meaningful employment for all members of our society. I also have my doubts about technology doing people out of a job - since I was young the promised technology that would make our lives easier seem to have merely made them more complicated, busier and given us more work. Or is that just me?!
I think if you use the automobile industry as an example and see how it has evolved over the years you can have an understanding on technology and automation on a work force. When Henry Ford started the assembly line every part was put on by human hands. Now, through automation, many parts are put on without the help of the human touch.
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