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Freakazoid_
Jul 4, 2013


It is becoming apparent that automation has begun pushing out humans in the workforce. A combination of cheap and better technology is creating a workforce that is about to take over a number of jobs previously feasible only by humans.

This is a study from Oxford Martin that's been passed around in the media for a while. 47% of total employment in the US is now at risk for automation. While historically automation has only affected routine tasks, advances in pattern recognition are allowing automation of non-routine cognitive tasks. Transportation, logistics, office and administrative support, and even service jobs are all subject to automation within the next 20 years. Most of this automation will focus on low wage jobs.

It is essential that we recognize this movement in the labor force as a real thing and respond to it. It is the goal of this thread to debate how we should approach the issue.

I believe we should embrace this movement. Allowing machines to work gives us the means to allow the average worker (now unemployed) to be free to pursue other things. We would need to implement a guaranteed minimum income, so that those who are replaced can continue to participate in the economy.

The study I mentioned heavily hinted at funneling everyone into higher education as a way to push low wage earners into middle and high wages, allowing the low wage jobs to be automated unhindered. Given the current state of college education in the US, this may not be feasible. The kind of changes necessary would eventually look like a guaranteed minimum income anyway, with college admittance being the means test.

I am definitely against going full Luddite, but given the attitudes of the average US worker, this may end up gaining traction. The idea that one must earn their place in life through toil is heavily ingrained into US culture. That the possibility exists of having a comfortable life without earning it is an existential crisis they aren't ready to handle. It also goes against a significant racial undertone (minorities getting a free ride off the government has never sat well with some Americans), which makes the issue that much more difficult to convince others.

If anyone has any more information about automation and the workforce, please post it.

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Sephiroth_IRA
Mar 31, 2010


Buy capital while you can my friend.

Also, what happens when it becomes painfully obvious to even the most conservative people that there aren't enough jobs for everyone? Won't we simply be forced to raise taxes and progressively spread the wealth as automation grows?

Hambilderberglar
Dec 2, 2004
I'm a neckbearded faggot living on mommies paycheck



Orange_Lazarus posted:

Won't we simply be forced to raise taxes and progressively spread the wealth as automation grows?
That sounds like socialism. It'll be much more expedient to simply get rid of the people that are surplus to the requirements of capitalism.

Iron Crowned
May 6, 2003

Stained sweatpants. Bad facial hair. Shrill voice. Spergin rules knowledge. Casino dice. CHECK. Games Day, here I come!


Hambilderberglar posted:

That sounds like socialism. It'll be much more expedient to simply get rid of the people that are surplus to the requirements of capitalism.

Watch out for Riot Control in the Soylent lines.

VitalSigns
Sep 3, 2011

I can feel you tremble when we touch...

Orange_Lazarus posted:

Also, what happens when it becomes painfully obvious to even the most conservative people that there aren't enough jobs for everyone?

As long as that conservative has a job, he will shrug off any level of unemployment no matter how high because if he found a job in this economy, then anyone can do the same with hard work and commitment.

Drone_Fragger
May 9, 2007



"Good news Captain of industry! Because of automation, low wages and the depression, no one can afford to buy the products that make you money any more. The Repo men will be here on Saturday"

In 20 years this will happen to a bunch of companies and they will blame the government for it despite lobbying to reduce minimum wages and the like.

spoon0042
Dec 13, 2006
welp

I can see Luddites becoming a thing. It seems to me that at some point (barring GMI or something, like hell that would happen in this country though) sabotage would become a cost factor. How many people taking a baseball bat to a robot burger flipper, or releasing a couple rats into the restaurant would it take to throw a wrench in the works? () You don't even have to go that far really, simple theft has been enough for one supermarket chain here to remove self-checkouts from a few stores.

Count Roland
Oct 6, 2013



I also think Luddites will come back in force. And not just because robots will be taking (more) of people's jobs. We'll see robots in police situations like we see them now in the military. Other technologies like genetic modification of food, or especially of human beings is a big deal. Prosthetics and other more overt forms of cyborgs are coming along. If a mind-machine interface comes along, that would be bigger than all of this.

I think the politics of the coming decades will be heavily influenced by opinions on technology. I have no idea where it will go, but it isn't a bad bet that a very small portion of the population will benefit disproportionately from these advances, which is bound to cause trouble.

I also think it will generate more jobs than it creates, but not necessarily in the short term.

Nuclearmonkee
Jun 10, 2009



I'm sure in this bright automated future we will no longer require that people have progressively more scarce menial jobs in order to survive. Instead, we will all enjoy the ability to focus upon the better things in life and devote more of our energy towards environmentalism and sustainable living instead of scrambling just to make a quick buck .

Haha I jest of course. We will just continue to marginalize the increasingly large surplus labor pool while outsourcing as many of the remaining jobs as we can to the lowest bidder. Those who own everything will continue to extract all of the wealth from the system. Race to the bottom motherfuckers.

Nuclearmonkee fucked around with this message at Feb 3, 2014 around 16:04

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

robot whores
come before
a cure for
cancer




If some kind of minimum income situation where people will be able to subsist in reasonable comfort without a job existed, I think this would be a positive; I do not think such a situation exists, and I don't see a way for it to happen in the near term. Things could change, and I'd never say never - but not in the next four or six years.

Funneling everyone into higher education to 'get them high wage jobs' will probably just lead to high wage jobs becoming low wage jobs, for the most part, due to over-supply of trained workers. The educational experience is probably worth it for improvement of the individual if there's general public support. There isn't, really, now, except being able to borrow money.

enbot
Jun 7, 2013


quote:

The study I mentioned heavily hinted at funneling everyone into higher education as a way to push low wage earners into middle and high wages, allowing the low wage jobs to be automated unhindered. Given the current state of college education in the US, this may not be feasible. The kind of changes necessary would eventually look like a guaranteed minimum income anyway, with college admittance being the means test.

I don't even think it has much to do with college, the divide happens much earlier. By the time you get into college the people that succeed in high tech fields have (for the most part) already taken a couple calc classes and are way ahead of the pack. I'm not sure how someone can argue funneling even more people into college is the answer, you can take a couple looks and see how that's working (it's not). It's like supply side economics, just because there's a lot of people with college educations doesn't mean there's any demand for their particular skillset.

Tezzor
Jul 29, 2013
Probation
Can't post for 4 days!


I've been thinking about this at length and really the only means of society handling this long-term is a complete reorganization of the systems of capital and labor. We're looking at a future where 50% of the able-bodied population is unemployed, that number forever increasing, and either using state expenditures or personal credit to train vast numbers of them into high-skilled robot technicians and coders is economically pointless. We should look at this as a good thing rather than a bad thing. The biggest change I see coming is from self-driving technology. I don't think people have thought enough about how it is going to impact farming. Robots could till the soil, plant the crops, pick the crops, package the product, process the food, and then deliver it directly to your home, all with minimal human intervention. Aside from the home delivery, that technology already largely exists, we simply with current technology find it cheaper to pay wage slaves insignificant amounts of money instead. We can imagine a world where everyone can have their needs attended to without the necessity of labor, with those who do the still-necessary labor are paid lavishly and granted social status and respect by everyone.

Forums Terrorist
Dec 8, 2011


Everyone talking about Soylent Green or genociding the poor are bonkers. We're overdue a good war, we've had one around this time of the century for three centuries.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

robot whores
come before
a cure for
cancer




Tezzor posted:

I've been thinking about this at length and really the only means of society handling this long-term is a complete reorganization of the systems of capital and labor. We're looking at a future where 50% of the able-bodied population is unemployed, that number forever increasing, and either using state expenditures or personal credit to train vast numbers of them into high-skilled robot technicians and coders is economically pointless. We should look at this as a good thing rather than a bad thing. The biggest change I see coming is from self-driving technology. I don't think people have thought enough about how it is going to impact farming. Robots could till the soil, plant the crops, pick the crops, package the product, process the food, and then deliver it directly to your home, all with minimal human intervention. Aside from the home delivery, that technology already largely exists, we simply with current technology find it cheaper to pay wage slaves insignificant amounts of money instead. We can imagine a world where everyone can have their needs attended to without the necessity of labor, with those who do the still-necessary labor are paid lavishly and granted social status and respect by everyone.
But if nobody's actively suffering, my wealth and status loses some of its savor!

Nuclearmonkee
Jun 10, 2009



Forums Terrorist posted:

Everyone talking about Soylent Green or genociding the poor are bonkers. We're overdue a good war, we've had one around this time of the century for three centuries.

You don't throw huge armies of guys at eachother anymore though so that isn't going to get rid of significant amounts of population. Only the host country of said war gets hosed these days and post MAD no one is going to go invading any developed nation.

There aren't even any good proxy wars these days. Globalization and interconnected markets greatly reduce the appeal of such adventures. Unless you are in some underdeveloped country or a pariah state war is bad for business.

Kobayashi
Aug 13, 2004

Freedom is about authority.

This hit home for me a few months ago when that store about automated coffee kiosks made the rounds. When all the service jobs are automated, we're well and truly hosed.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

robot whores
come before
a cure for
cancer




Kobayashi posted:

This hit home for me a few months ago when that store about automated coffee kiosks made the rounds. When all the service jobs are automated, we're well and truly hosed.
I have some hope that in the mid to long term, people will realize you need to at least have some liquid money swirling around the underclass or you won't be able to make any money on coffee kiosks and such. Then again it seems more likely they will just invent new waves of financialization. But what happens when FINANCIALIZATION becomes automated too?!

Nuclearmonkee
Jun 10, 2009



Nessus posted:

I have some hope that in the mid to long term, people will realize you need to at least have some liquid money swirling around the underclass or you won't be able to make any money on coffee kiosks and such. Then again it seems more likely they will just invent new waves of financialization. But what happens when FINANCIALIZATION becomes automated too?!

Already happening. More and more of the nuts and bolts of finance are heavily computerized and automated.

Count Roland
Oct 6, 2013



Nuclearmonkee posted:

You don't throw huge armies of guys at eachother anymore though so that isn't going to get rid of significant amounts of population. Only the host country of said war gets hosed these days and post MAD no one is going to go invading any developed nation.

There aren't even any good proxy wars these days. Globalization and interconnected markets greatly reduce the appeal of such adventures. Unless you are in some underdeveloped country or a pariah state war is bad for business.

Syria is very much a proxy war.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

robot whores
come before
a cure for
cancer




Nuclearmonkee posted:

Already happening. More and more of the nuts and bolts of finance are heavily computerized and automated.
So what happens to the financiers once they're completely superfluous? I suppose now I'm seeing where my uncle comes from when he occasionally makes comments like 'my long term worry is that our financial computers decide it's more efficient to not have a breathable atmosphere'.

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Capitalist societies in Europe and South America have been able to operate for long periods of time with a very large underclass that barely participates in the formal sectors of the economy. Its true that in the last fifty years the American economy has relied heavily on middle class consumer spending but that isn't the only way possible to set up and run a capitalist economy. You could still have profitable corporations selling luxury goods to the owners of the robots, providing security, cleaning up the side effects of climate change and transporting goods.

Of course one limitation on the process of full automation could end up being the scarcity of key resources. You can't build robots and microchips out of anything, you need very specific resources (plus some kind of fuel to power them) so even in cases where you might in theory be able to automate a job and have a robot do it better there will still be cost reasons to employ human labour.

The big effect of automation probably won't be to altogether replace humans in the near or mid term. The labour force will shrink and the remaining labourers will have a less secure bargaining position but I bet a lot of hard jobs like janitorial work, transportation etc. will still have a lot of human labour involved for some time.

Deki
May 12, 2008

You cannot do it. You cannot kiss the girl.


Back in my undergrad ethics class, I wrote my final essay on how systems I design that reduce workload/time/resources needed to do something could and probably would eventually result with many of the people who worked in that area getting laid off. I got a good grade on the paper, but my professor couldn't understand that the issue was a problem. He thought the companies involved will just up their workload or that the workers could just go find a newer, better job. He was a pretty worldly guy in all other respects, but I was shocked that someone could look at this trend and not think that the average worker is going to get screwed hard.

Nuclearmonkee
Jun 10, 2009



Count Roland posted:

Syria is very much a proxy war.

I guess kind of, but it's not even comparable to old style Cold War proxy wars like the Soviet war in Afghanistan or the US war in Vietnam. None of the major powers really give enough of a poo poo to do much beyond arming their favored sides and no one is interested in fully committing their own military to the effort.

Atoramos
Aug 31, 2003

Jim's now a Blind Cave Salamander!


All advances of technology will bring with them advances of entertainment, so while jobs may be failing left and right, a massive push against technology in general would surprise me.

Also I'd bet 47% of jobs at risk is a lowball. I would bet further advancements over 20 years mean the jobs that computers can fill will only grow. Labor is a dying currency, and I doubt we'll make a clean transition to a 'laborless' society. Meanwhile this issue will become a global problem, as human labor will not outpace cheaper automation.

Schiavona
Oct 8, 2008



So this might be a stupid question, but if more and more low-wage jobs are automated, and therefore no longer subject to payroll taxes, where is the money for a GMI coming from?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

robot whores
come before
a cure for
cancer




Schiavona posted:

So this might be a stupid question, but if more and more low-wage jobs are automated, and therefore no longer subject to payroll taxes, where is the money for a GMI coming from?
The nice thing to say is that it will be taken out by taxes from the capital-having folks, who will still come out ahead because of all the money coming in from their hamburger machines.

Presumably this value is not leaving the system somehow, it is just accruing to the people who can afford to own an auto-McDonald's.

enbot
Jun 7, 2013


Deki posted:

Back in my undergrad ethics class, I wrote my final essay on how systems I design that reduce workload/time/resources needed to do something could and probably would eventually result with many of the people who worked in that area getting laid off. I got a good grade on the paper, but my professor couldn't understand that the issue was a problem. He thought the companies involved will just up their workload or that the workers could just go find a newer, better job. He was a pretty worldly guy in all other respects, but I was shocked that someone could look at this trend and not think that the average worker is going to get screwed hard.

Probably part of it is a "cry wolf" thing- people have been saying similar things since before the industrial revolution and for the most part (in the past) old jobs were replaced by new jobs with different technologies. Of course it's simply not true anymore, because in part productivity gains have been enormous and you are killing 10 old jobs and replacing it with 1 new one.

e:

Schiavona posted:

So this might be a stupid question, but if more and more low-wage jobs are automated, and therefore no longer subject to payroll taxes, where is the money for a GMI coming from?

Wealth taxes in dream world.

enbot fucked around with this message at Feb 3, 2014 around 16:59

spoon0042
Dec 13, 2006
welp

Could always just "print" money.

It would be... interesting... to see what happens if the fed or whoever just declared everyone has an account with $10k in it.

LeJackal
Apr 4, 2011
a gun allows a woman to equalize the capacity of violence so they are on par with a man and his penis


A guy named Marshall Brain wrote a novella about just this, called Manna which is at once terrifying and hopeful. Some excerpts.

Manna, Chapter 1 posted:

Depending on how you want to think about it, it was funny or inevitable or symbolic that the robotic takeover did not start at MIT, NASA, Microsoft or Ford. It started at a Burger-G restaurant in Cary, NC on May 17. It seemed like such a simple thing at the time, but May 17 marked a pivotal moment in human history.
....
The "robot" installed at this first Burger-G restaurant looked nothing like the robots of popular culture. It was not hominid like C-3PO or futuristic like R2-D2 or industrial like an assembly line robot. Instead it was simply a PC sitting in the back corner of the restaurant running a piece of software. The software was called "Manna", version 1.0*.
....
Manna was connected to the cash registers, so it knew how many people were flowing through the restaurant. The software could therefore predict with uncanny accuracy when the trash cans would fill up, the toilets would get dirty and the tables needed wiping down. The software was also attached to the time clock, so it knew who was working in the restaurant.

At any given moment Manna had a list of things that it needed to do. There were orders coming in from the cash registers, so Manna directed employees to prepare those meals. There were also toilets to be scrubbed on a regular basis, floors to mop, tables to wipe, sidewalks to sweep, buns to defrost, inventory to rotate, windows to wash and so on. Manna kept track of the hundreds of tasks that needed to get done, and assigned each task to an employee one at a time.

Manna told employees what to do simply by talking to them. Employees each put on a headset when they punched in. Manna had a voice synthesizer, and with its synthesized voice Manna told everyone exactly what to do through their headsets. Constantly. Manna micro-managed minimum wage employees to create perfect performance.

Manna posted:

As these communication networks between all the different Manna systems built up, things started to get uncomfortable for every worker. For example, the Manna software in each store knew about employee performance in microscopic detail -- how often the employee was on time or early, how quickly the employee did tasks, how quickly the employee answered the phone and responded to email, how the customers rated the employee and so on. When an employee left a store and tried to get a new job somewhere else, any other Manna system could request the employee's performance record. If an employee had "issues" -- late, slow, disorganized, unkempt -- it became nearly impossible for that employee to get another job. Nearly every company with minimum wage employees used Manna software or something similar, and performance records on employees were a major commodity freely exchanged between corporations. A marginal employee got blacklisted in the system very quickly.

That ability to blacklist employees is where things got ugly, because it gave Manna far too much power. Manna was everywhere, and it was managing about a half of the workers in the United States through headsets, cell phones and email. Manna moved in and took over a big chunk of the government as well. There came a point where tens of millions of humans did nothing at work unless told to do so by a Manna system.

You can imagine what would happen. Manna fires you because you don't show up for work a couple times. Now you try to go get a job somewhere else. No other Manna system is going to hire you. There had always been an implicit threat in the American economy -- "if you do not have a job, you cannot make any money and you will therefore become homeless." Manna simply took that threat and turned the screws. If you did not do what Manna told you to, it would fire you. Then you would not be able to get a job anywhere else. It gave Manna huge leverage.

For example, Manna could call in reinforcements as it needed them. You would get a call from Manna and it would say, "Your Burger-G restaurant is experiencing unexpected customer volume. Can you help?" The word "help" meant, "Can you be here in less than 10 minutes?" You could say yes or no. The problem was that if you said "no" too many times, you got fired. And when you got fired, it meant you were blacklisted in the system.

Once you figured that out, you were pretty much forced to say "yes". That meant that the printed schedules started to become pretty much irrelevant. Manna would call you when it wanted to call you. Then it started calling you to other restaurants. If things got slow in the restaurant, Manna would send you home, then call you back in later if things got busy again. You really could not say "no" very often, meaning that Manna could interrupt your life at any time.

Manna posted:

America was no different from a third world nation. With the arrival of robots, tens of millions of people lost their minimum wage jobs and the wealth concentrated so quickly. The rich controlled America's bureaucracy, military, businesses and natural resources, and the unemployed masses lived in terrafoam, cut off from any opportunity to change their situation. There was the facade of "free elections," but only candidates supported by the rich could ever get on the ballot. The government was completely controlled by the rich, as were the robotic security forces, the military and the intelligence organizations. American democracy had morphed into a third world dictatorship ruled by the wealthy elite.

Ultimately, you would expect that there would be riots across America. But the people could not riot. The terrorist scares at the beginning of the century had caused a number of important changes. Eventually, there were video security cameras and microphones covering and recording nearly every square inch of public space in America. There were taps on all phone conversations and Internet messages sniffing for terrorist clues. If anyone thought about starting a protest rally or a riot, or discussed any form of civil disobedience with anyone else, he was branded a terrorist and preemptively put in jail. Combine that with robotic security forces, and riots are impossible.

The only solution for most people, as they became unemployed, was government handouts. Terrafoam housing was what the government handed out.

Manna informed me on Friday afternoon that I was to be fired. But the Manna network also knew that my bank account was close to zero and there was no way I would be able to make the next rent payment. The Manna network also knew that there were no job prospects for me, since it knew the employment status of everyone. Like most people, nearly everything I owned was leased. I wouldn't be able to make the payments on any of that either. I was unmarried and all of my relatives were in Terrafoam already. Manna knew that. No one I knew in the city had offered to take me on as a guest, so that was out and Manna knew it.

So Manna put it all together and took the liberty to unplug me. As I finished the dismissal interview and left the building, I had two robotic escorts. The robot on my right addressed me as a robotic bus pulled up. The bus looked to be about half full.

"Jacob Lewis105, you are now unemployed. Do you have other means of employment?"

Of course it knew the answer, but this formality could not be avoided. "No."

"Do you have guest status with any resident?" The robot asked.

"No."

"Do you have means of support unknown to me?"

I suppose I could have stashed a cache of gold under my mattress, and this question allowed me to declare it. Such a cache would, of course, be grounds for arrest, so I was screwed either way. "No." I was without any means of support.

"In accordance with ordinance 605.12b, you have been assigned room 140352 in building 16, resident quant C. This assignment provides you with suitable housing and nourishment to sustain your life. Please board the bus."

That was how you ended up in Terrafoam. The system knew you had no means of support, so it "gave" you one. You could leave terrafoam once you regained a means of support, but there really was no way to do that unless Manna gave it to you.

Terrifying, isn't it?

dorkasaurus_rex
Jun 10, 2005

gawrsh do you think any women will be there


This seems relevant to post:

http://www.epi.org/publication/tech...ame-the-robots/

quote:

Many economists contend that technology is the primary driver of the increase in wage inequality since the late 1970s, as technology-induced job skill requirements have outpaced the growing education levels of the workforce. The influential “skill-biased technological change” (SBTC) explanation claims that technology raises demand for educated workers, thus allowing them to command higher wages—which in turn increases wage inequality. A more recent SBTC explanation focuses on computerization’s role in increasing employment in both higher-wage and lower-wage occupations, resulting in “job polarization.” This paper contends that current SBTC models—such as the education-focused “canonical model” and the more recent “tasks framework” or “job polarization” approach mentioned above—do not adequately account for key wage patterns (namely, rising wage inequality) over the last three decades. Principal findings include:
1. Technological and skill deficiency explanations of wage inequality have failed to explain key wage patterns over the last three decades, including the 2000s.

The early version of the “skill-biased technological change” (SBTC) explanation of wage inequality posited a race between technology and education where education levels failed to keep up with technology-driven increases in skill requirements, resulting in relatively higher wages for more educated groups, which in turn fueled wage inequality (Katz and Murphy 1992; Autor, Katz, and Krueger 1998; and Goldin and Katz 2010). However, the scholars associated with this early, and still widely discussed, explanation highlight that it has failed to explain wage trends in the 1990s and 2000s, particularly the stability of the 50/10 wage gap (the wage gap between low- and middle-wage earners) and the deceleration of the growth of the college wage premium since the early 1990s (Autor, Katz, and Kearney 2006; Acemoglu and Autor 2012). This motivated a new technology-based explanation (formally called the “tasks framework”) focused on computerization’s impact on occupational employment trends and the resulting “job polarization”: the claim that occupational employment grew relatively strongly at the top and bottom of the wage scale but eroded in the middle (Autor, Levy, and Murnane 2003; Autor, Katz, and Kearney 2006; Acemoglu and Autor 2012; Autor 2010). We demonstrate that this newer version—the task framework, or job polarization analysis—fails to explain the key wage patterns in the 1990s it intended to explain, and provides no insights into wage patterns in the 2000s. We conclude that there is no currently available technology-based story that can adequately explain the wage trends of the last three decades.
2. History shows that middle-wage occupations have shrunk and higher-wage occupations have expanded since the 1950s. This has not driven any changed pattern of wage trends.

We demonstrate that key aspects of “job polarization” have been taking place since at least 1950. We label this “occupational upgrading” since it primarily consists of shrinkage in relative employment in middle-wage occupations and a corresponding expansion of employment in higher-wage occupations. Lower-wage occupations have remained a small (less than 15 percent) and relatively stable share of total employment since the 1950s, though they have grown in importance in the 2000s. Occupational upgrading has occurred in decades with both rising and falling wage inequality and in decades with both rising and falling median wages, indicating that occupational employment patterns, by themselves, cannot explain the salient wage trends.
3. Evidence for job polarization is weak.

We use the Current Population Survey to replicate existing findings on job polarization, which are all based on decennial census data. Job polarization is said to exist when there is a U-shaped plot in changes in occupational employment against the initial occupational wage level, indicating employment expansion among high- and low-wage occupations relative to middle-wage occupations. As shown in Figure E (explained later in the paper but introduced here), in important cases, these plots do not take the posited U-shape. More importantly, in all cases the lines traced out fit the data very poorly, obscuring large variations in employment growth across occupational wage levels.
4. There was no occupational job polarization in the 2000s.

In the 2000s, relative employment expanded in lower-wage occupations, but was flat at both the middle and the top of the occupational wage distribution. The lack of overall job polarization in the 2000s is a phenomenon visible in both the analyses of decennial census/American Community Survey data provided by proponents of the tasks framework/job polarization perspective (Autor 2010; Acemoglu and Autor 2012) and in our analysis of the Current Population Survey. Thus, the standard techniques applied to the data for the 2000s do not establish even a prima facie case for the existence of overall job polarization in the most recent decade. This leaves the job polarization story, at best, as an account of wage inequality in the 1990s. It certainly calls into question whether it should be a description of current labor market trends and the basis of current policy decisions.
5. Occupational employment trends do not drive wage patterns or wage inequality.

We demonstrate that the evidence does not support the key causal links between technology-driven changes in tasks and occupational employment patterns and wage inequality that are at the core of the tasks framework and job polarization story. Proponents of job polarization as a determinant of wage polarization have, for the most part, only provided circumstantial evidence: both trends occurred at the same time. The causal story of the tasks framework is that technology (i.e., computerization) drives changes in the demand for tasks (increasing demand at the top and bottom relative to the middle), producing corresponding changes in occupational employment (increasing relative employment in high- and low-wage occupations relative to middle-wage occupations). These changes in occupational employment patterns are said to drive changes in overall wage patterns, raising wages at the top and bottom relative to the middle. However, the intermediate step in this story must be that occupational employment trends change the occupational wage structure, raising relative wages for occupations with expanding employment shares and vice-versa. We demonstrate that there is little or no connection between decadal changes in occupational employment shares and occupational wage growth, and little or no connection between decadal changes in occupational wages and overall wages. Changes within occupations greatly dominate changes across occupations so that the much-focused-on occupational trends, by themselves, provide few insights.
6. Occupations have become less, not more, important determinants of wage patterns.

The tasks framework suggests that differences in returns to occupations are an increasingly important determinant of wage dispersion. Using the CPS, we do not find this to be the case. We find that a large and increasing share of the rise in wage inequality in recent decades (as measured by the increase in the variance of wages) occurred within detailed occupations. Furthermore, using DiNardo, Fortin, and Lemieux’s reweighting procedure, we do not find that occupations consistently explain a rising share of the change in upper tail and lower tail inequality for either men or women.
7. An expanded demand for low-wage service occupations is not a key driver of wage trends.

We are skeptical of the recent efforts of Autor and Dorn (2013) that ask the low-wage “service occupations” to carry much or all of the weight of the tasks framework. First, the small size and the slow, relatively steady growth of the service occupations suggest significant limitations of a technology-driven expansion of service occupations to be able to explain the large and contradictory changes in wage growth at the bottom of the distribution (i.e., between middle and low wages, the 50/10 wage differential), let alone movements at the middle or higher up the wage distribution. The service occupations remain a relatively small share of total employment; in 2007, they accounted for less than 13 percent of total employment, and just over half of employment in the bottom quintile of occupations ranked by wages. Moreover, these occupations have expanded only modestly in recent decades, increasing their employment share by 2.1 percentage points between 1979 and 2007, with most of the gain in the 2000s. Relative employment in all low-wage occupations, taken together, has been stable for the last three decades, representing a 21.1 percent share of total employment in 1979, 19.7 percent in 1999, and 20.0 percent in 2007.

Second, the expansion of service occupation employment has not driven their wage levels and therefore has not driven overall wage patterns. The timing of the most important changes in employment shares and wage levels in the service occupations is not compatible with conventional interpretations of the tasks framework. Essentially all of the wage growth in the service occupations over the last few decades occurred in the second half of the 1990s, when the employment share in these occupations was flat. The observed wage increases preceded almost all of the total growth in service occupations over the 1979–2007 period, which took place in the 2000s, when service occupation wages were falling (another trend that contradicts the overall claim of the explanatory power of service occupation employment trends).
8. Occupational employment trends provide only limited insights into the main dynamics of the labor market, particularly wage trends.

A more general point can and should be drawn from our findings: Occupational employment trends do not, by themselves, provide much of a read into key labor market trends because changes within occupations are dominant. Recent research and journalistic treatment of the labor market has highlighted the pattern of occupational employment growth to assess the extent of structural unemployment, the disproportionate increase in low-wage jobs, and the “coming of robots”—changes in workplace technology and the consequent impact on wage inequality. The recent academic literature on wage inequality has highlighted the role of changes in the occupational distribution of employment as the key factor. In particular, occupational employment trends have become increasingly used as indicators of job skill requirement changes, reflecting the outcome of changes in the nature of jobs and the way we produce goods and services. Our findings indicate, however, that occupational employment trends give only limited insight and leave little imprint on the evolution of the occupational wage structure, and certainly do not drive changes in the overall wage structure. We therefore urge extreme caution in drawing strong conclusions about overall labor market trends based on occupational employment trends by themselves.

In short: things are bad, and things ARE changing, but it's because of economic trends, not technological ones. Don't blame the robots.

Tesla Was Robbed
Oct 4, 2002
I AM A LIAR

Nessus posted:

I have some hope that in the mid to long term, people will realize you need to at least have some liquid money swirling around the underclass or you won't be able to make any money on coffee kiosks and such. Then again it seems more likely they will just invent new waves of financialization. But what happens when FINANCIALIZATION becomes automated too?!

Or, increase prisons, officers and police. You'll have need for more white collar intelligence types, blue collar field personnel, management and a very effective funnel of public dollars to wealthy owners and a logistics pipeline for equipment passdown from the military.

This will open up space for the poors to be housed, fed and controlled while providing a very visible reminder of why the rest of everyone must play the game according to the rules. It fixes a large number of problems in the short term while screwing practically everyone in the long term. It's perfect for America!

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

robot whores
come before
a cure for
cancer




dorkasaurus_rex posted:

This seems relevant to post:

http://www.epi.org/publication/tech...ame-the-robots/


In short: things are bad, and things ARE changing, but it's because of economic trends, not technological ones. Don't blame the robots.
Alternately: Blame the robots, not the owners! Yes, proles, destroy the robot! Fwa ha, etc.

Honestly it would probably take very little rhetorical shift to move the current 'anti-undocumented' rage turn into anti-automat rage, and probably with the same results (nothing). At least the auto-burger doesn't have feelings or a family!

LEGIT WAR CRIMINAL
Aug 29, 2008

by XyloJW


Drone_Fragger posted:

"Good news Captain of industry! Because of automation, low wages and the depression, no one can afford to buy the products that make you money any more. The Repo men will be here on Saturday"

In 20 years this will happen to a bunch of companies and they will blame the government for it despite lobbying to reduce minimum wages and the like.

Not necessarily so:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/03/b...s-world.html?hp

It may just shift so that the majority of consumption expenditures come from higher income individuals.

Count Roland
Oct 6, 2013



enbot posted:

Probably part of it is a "cry wolf" thing- people have been saying similar things since before the industrial revolution and for the most part (in the past) old jobs were replaced by new jobs with different technologies. Of course it's simply not true anymore, because in part productivity gains have been enormous and you are killing 10 old jobs and replacing it with 1 new one.

I'm not at all convinced it is different this time. Advances in technology going back to the original mechanical looms put humans out of the job. The machine is faster, more efficient, more accurate etc. That the jobs being affected this time include the service industry I don't think proves that things are different this time. In all the past instances, even though people were being replaced by machines, the new way of doing things opened up more jobs, indeed more than had been there in the first place. There was a time lag, and a lot of turmoil brought benefits to the factory workers themselves. But in the end replacing jobs via industrialization resulted in a richer and more prosperous country for all*.

I think advances in technology are going to give us social upheaval the likes of which we've never seen before, and we've seen a lot. But I do think that over time it will have the result of creating jobs and prosperity rather than causing them to vanish into thin air.

LEGIT WAR CRIMINAL
Aug 29, 2008

by XyloJW


Count Roland posted:

I'm not at all convinced it is different this time.

I am. During the industrial revolution it was possible to envision where low-skill labor could shift to after being put out of a job - services. But as services employees demand increasing wages (and use artificial means - politics - to acquire them), those employees become increasingly less desirable. I can't see where those people will go this time other than some fringe jobs like "robot oil replacer".

GuyDudeBroMan
Jun 3, 2013

gotta go faster...

We had the same problem 200 years ago with the weavers guild and the invention of the power loom. That single piece of technology put thousands of highly skilled (and unionized) workers out of business, practically overnight. These were high paying jobs too. Their response was to riot, storm the factories, and smash the looms. I think a similar response today is not unreasonable. The more machinery we destroy, the more jobs we will create.

LEGIT WAR CRIMINAL
Aug 29, 2008

by XyloJW


GuyDudeBroMan posted:

The more machinery we destroy, the more jobs we will create.

Yes, let's destroy pretty much the only thing that can permanently increase economic welfare. Defiance of basic economic theory at it's best.

Count Roland
Oct 6, 2013



LEGIT WAR CRIMINAL posted:

I am. During the industrial revolution it was possible to envision where low-skill labor could shift to after being put out of a job - services. But as services employees demand increasing wages (and use artificial means - politics - to acquire them), those employees become increasingly less desirable. I can't see where those people will go this time other than some fringe jobs like "robot oil replacer".

Did people actually envision a huge service-sector economy before the first industrial revolution? I find that difficult to believe, especially because so many of the jobs didn't previously exist.

I mean, the Luddites were a thing exactly because they couldn't envision anything other than themselves getting hosed. They saw their own jobs being replaced, not the spin-off jobs that were created a few years later as a result. In either case they didn't posses the skills for these new jobs and were probably without work regardless.

LeJackal
Apr 4, 2011
a gun allows a woman to equalize the capacity of violence so they are on par with a man and his penis


LEGIT WAR CRIMINAL posted:

Yes, let's destroy pretty much the only thing that can permanently increase economic welfare. Defiance of basic economic theory at it's best.

Does it matter if it can when it won't? This automation technology will be used to further concentrate wealth in the hands of the few.

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

robot whores
come before
a cure for
cancer




LeJackal posted:

Does it matter if it can when it won't? This automation technology will be used to further concentrate wealth in the hands of the few.
Unless we seize the robots ourselves!!

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