According to Roey Tzezana, a future studies researcher at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, technology will continue to advance, and therefore, so will automation. As this happens, the gap between the wealthy and the poor will increase as the middle class fades into nonexistence.
According to Haaretz, this is the grim reality Tzezana sees for our future: one without jobs or purpose. He argues that the jobs that will survive automation will be lower-paying, unskilled laboring jobs. And since machines won’t need to be paid, companies can profit without having the overhead costs of labor. But what most of the futurists fail to mention, is that without jobs and some sort of income, people won’t have the money to help corporations profit anymore. It’s a double-edged sword, but worth mentioning.
Recently the Boston Consulting Group released a report on global trends in future jobs and found that the jobs of the future are ones such as waiting on tables, cleaning, child care, and nursing care – and the groups of job skills with the highest rate of growth after digital skills is social services and education. –Haaretz
“This figure is the end of the world for the average people,” Tzezana said, speaking about the growing gap between labor productivity and wages.
“It reflects a rather depressing picture: The state and the economy are advancing by storm – but the workers are almost not benefitting from this progress and are left behind. It is almost a catastrophe.”
This will all happen faster than we think too, says Tzezana.
“The deeper and more interesting questions are not whether new jobs will be created, but what is the pace that old jobs disappear and new jobs open up, or what is the pace at which the tasks the jobs require change and create a demand for new expertise, specializations, and skills. The speed of closing tasks and opening new tasks is changing, and it is overwhelming,” he says.
“All the reports of the McKinsey consulting firm talk about technological progress requiring ‘up skills’ and the ability to adapt; a view that is possible to develop, learn and grow and a way of thinking of an entrepreneur – all the time looking for opportunities. All these are wonderful slogans that the large international consulting companies spread and there is a reason for it – the profile of the employees in these organizations is that of young workers who learn all the time,” says Tzezana.
Tzezana added that currently, we are seeing people moving from the middle class, for example manufacturing workers whose factories closed down because the work moved to China.
“It doesn’t match the ideas of democracy because democracy is based on the middle class,” Tzezana told Haaretz.
“It is harder for workers from the lower class to vote in an intelligent manner and make intelligent decisions. It is a situation that over time does not enable the continuation of democracy as we know it.”
Now factories are returning to the United States, and this doesn’t help anyone because those jobs are not back; they are now automated, he says.
“This is not the problem of just one or two people,” Tzezana continued.
“When a lot of people experience this drop, we are talking about an economic crisis: It is not just a problem only for those who can’t pay their mortgages — 60% of the sales of most companies are to the general public and if the public can’t afford to buy a new computer, the entire economy enters a crisis.”