Much To Do About Nothing


A screen capture of Maveric Media's production, "Will Work For Free", on YouTube. The video and image is copyright of Maveric Media and those involved
A screen capture of Sam Vallely’s production, “Will Work For Free”, on YouTube. The video and image is copyright of Sam Vallely and those involved

Happy New Year!

I just finished watching a fascinating YouTube video about technological unemployment, called Will Work For Free. It was created by Sam Vallely. The topic of technological unemployment is nothing new to most of you. From the introduction of mass production in manufacturing to the impact of the personal computer in the workplace, we have seen how jobs disappear and people are rendered unemployed whenever a new way of doing business arrives on the scene. In my case, the events that led to my unemployment 4 years ago was outsourcing I.T. into the hands of another company. Outsourcing became possible due to reliable and affordable high speed telecommunication networks.

What has not been as greatly discussed is what to do with those people who find themselves out of work because technology has rendered their jobs obsolete. In past workplace upheavals, the economy was strong enough to handle the transition process for those unemployed to find new jobs. Not so in the post-2008 economic working world: not only has technology offered a faster and cheaper way of doing business, it has given the “We must do more with less! Downsize! Downsize!” advocates a way of doing business with far fewer people as well.

So what do we do with all these people who have lost their means to earn an income? The career coaches tell them to go back to school for career retraining but universities and trade schools are expensive and governments are cutting back on funding for career transition programs. The callously ignorant tell them to get off their self-centred entitlement trip and start applying for work outside of their past career paths, yet companies are taking away entry level positions and stopped “on-the-job” training and mentoring programs for new hires. The employment centre specialists tell them to take more volunteer work to reduce the gaps on their resume and to improve their chances of landing a job, but since volunteer positions only exist because agencies and corporations have no money to pay salaries, it’s those same unemployed who end up investing their time and expenses for, in most cases, nothing in return.

Simply put, we end up with a massive amount of people that society has no clue what to do with.

I’m not saying we should halt technological advances that threaten employment. It’s the base nature of humanity to progress forward for a better way of life. I’m just suggesting that more time should be spent considering what to do with those people who will be affected when their jobs disappear. I’ve said this before in my videos on YouTube and in past blog posts, but if you end up with people who have nothing to do, they in turn are not giving anything back to society.

Thanks for reading!

David.

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