Degrees and Dollars
This article, pointedly, argues why the issues in Wisconsin are not only relevant to middle-class union workers…but also to you college educated seemingly insulated white collar workers who feel that unions have lost their way and their value. I know a few of these guys/gals. Too busy protecting themselves by degrading those who seem to be beneath them not understanding that their protection lies in defending their neighbors and fellow citizens. When you ask these people if their employer would let them go if it made sense monetarily and the profit motive were strong enough, they will tell you “yes”. You would think that these reasonable people would, by extension, understand that they are not special and could be out of work at the whim of their employer. But they rarely make that connection. Maybe they are not as smart as they give themselves credit. Instead of practicing this sort of isolationism that our culture seems ti trumpet, we all need to realize that our strength lies in our community. We are all in this together. Until we understand this, they will be coming after you next, and in a lot of ways, they already have.
It’s corporate power vs the people.
Who’s side are you on……?
The belief that education is becoming ever more important rests on the plausible-sounding notion that advances in technology increase job opportunities for those who work with information — loosely speaking, that computers help those who work with their minds, while hurting those who work with their hands.
Some years ago, however, the economists David Autor, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argued that this was the wrong way to think about it. Computers, they pointed out, excel at routine tasks, “cognitive and manual tasks that can be accomplished by following explicit rules.” Therefore, any routine task — a category that includes many white-collar, nonmanual jobs — is in the firing line. Conversely, jobs that can’t be carried out by following explicit rules — a category that includes many kinds of manual labor, from truck drivers to janitors — will tend to grow even in the face of technological progress.
And here’s the thing: Most of the manual labor still being done in our economy seems to be of the kind that’s hard to automate. Notably, with production workers in manufacturing down to about 6 percent of U.S. employment, there aren’t many assembly-line jobs left to lose. Meanwhile, quite a lot of white-collar work currently carried out by well-educated, relatively well-paid workers may soon be computerized. Roombas are cute, but robot janitors are a long way off; computerized legal research and computer-aided medical diagnosis are already here.
And then there’s globalization. Once, only manufacturing workers needed to worry about competition from overseas, but the combination of computers and telecommunications has made it possible to provide many services at long range. And research by my Princeton colleagues Alan Blinder and Alan Krueger suggests that high-wage jobs performed by highly educated workers are, if anything, more “offshorable” than jobs done by low-paid, less-educated workers. If they’re right, growing international trade in services will further hollow out the U.S. job market. – Paul Krugman
This entry was posted on March 9, 2011 by ablackmanjr5. It was filed under Are you paying attention!?..., Economics, The TRUTH is the light (As Granny would say...) and was tagged with Alan Blinder, Blue-collar worker, corporations, Employment, Frank Lévy, Manual labour, Paul Krugman, Richard Murnane, Unions, White-collar worker, Wisconsin.