The employment disruption caused by technology

Does emerging technology cost some employees their jobs? Yes. Nevertheless new tech also makes the world a better place. This is the dilemma explored by a recent story in the Economist. Their take on it? No country is prepared for the huge changes that technology will offer to the world of work. It is the job of governments around the world to make sure that today’s workers are prepared for the tech evolution.

Goodbye jobs

As the Economist story says, new technology has always brought about a loss of jobs. This has been true from the dawn of time. The Economist’s example? A century ago, one out of three U.S. workers toiled on a farm. These days? Less than 2 percent of U.S. workers do any work on a farm.

More efficient

But as a result of technology, farms in the United States are more productive than ever, according to the Economist story. Farms today produce a lot more food than they did when so many more U.S. residents worked on them. Concurrently, the laborers who left farm life found, as a result of technology, different jobs.

The key

The worry today, though — one expressed in the Economist story — is that this isn’t happening. Technology is eliminating a lot of jobs. But it’s not creating enough new ones to replace these losses. The Economist says that it’s up to the U.S. government to make new education opportunities for displaced workers so that these workers can nab the creative jobs which will make up the new economy. Will this happen? That’s the big question.

Posted on: 03.14.14