The article Automation v. Immigrants (Jobs Fake-Out) of Opes published on March 16, 2017 questions that the loss of jobs for the citizens of the United States is not a result of automation and immigration. According to Opes, entrepreneurs want to plant this idea of automation and immigrants as causes of job loss in the United States in the minds of people like the elitist and intellectuals. Opes defends the thesis that perhaps the cause of the unemployment problem does not result primarily from automation or immigration, but from the wave of regulations and rules of wages and hours of work over the years that almost wiped out manufacturers and factories in the United States. He asks how to grow jobs in the private sector and restore the spirit of American know-how?
Opes suggests that jobs for all skill levels in the United States should be the top priority that means: 1) Jobs for all levels of education; 2) jobs for all capacities (including people with disabilities); 3) Jobs for all abilities; 4) No-Tech Works; 5) Low-tech jobs; 6) White-collar work; 7) Blue collar jobs. Opes says the premise is that automation will continue to shift jobs to an increasing number of people in the United States in a variety of employment sectors. But is this really the problem? The solution for this problem is to at least temporarily suspend labor regulations and salary rules. In addition, if jobs are the number 1 priority should be relaxed taxes on wages as well.
There is no doubt that the problem of unemployment in the United States results, on the one hand, from the automation of the productive activities of the country and, on the other, from the transfer of Americans factories to countries with low labor costs like China, India and Mexico , among others. The solution proposed by Opes would not be able to cope with the advance of automation and prevent large US companies from failing to invest in other countries in the world where they would earn greater profits. The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos reports that "automation will encompass both intelligent machines and the computerization of complex tasks in organizations. Its adhesion by the companies will bring advantages due to the incapacity of the human workers in some tasks, as well as reduction of costs and labor rights (the machine does not receive salary).
For human workers it will be necessary to create new forms of work to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe of enormous proportions. The scale is massive: almost half (47%) of all jobs in the United States and 35% in Britain will be susceptible to automation by technology over the next two decades according to The Economist and researchers at Oxford University". McKinsey Consulting reported that 140 million workers could be replaced by automated by technology by 2025. The factory of the future features a full robot installation and a high degree of automation, as well as being properly organized around the technology, the computer, which integrates, through specially developed software, practically all activities.
It is possible to imagine that factories of the future will count less and less with the presence of human beings in the production line. Automated and robotized factories mean industries with fewer and fewer people. In three decades, 6 million industrial jobs in the United States were eliminated, making factory employment reach the 1940s level. Jobs involving repetitive jobs will disappear rapidly in the coming years. In rich countries, it is estimated that 25% of all functions in industry are to be replaced by automation technologies by 2025. Worldwide, an estimated 60 million factory jobs will be eliminated. The big challenge for economic growth in the coming years is how to develop new jobs for a larger population than we have today, and especially not a large decline in the middle class, since with a weak middle class, the general consumption decreases, and the economy collapses as it does in the United States. It is hard to believe that the projections of Davos, Oxford and McKinsey are completely wrong.
Technological progress will inevitably have three consequences: 1) the decline in consumption or general demand for goods and services due to the increase in unemployment and the reduction of the purchasing power of the working population; (2) the decline of the middle class with major political implications since it acts as an ally of the bourgeoisie; And (3) the weakening of the struggle of the unions for the benefit of the workers and of the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The political consequences of the end of employment thanks to technological advances are quite serious because the population needs to work to survive. This situation may pave the way for a social revolution with unpredictable consequences, unless a new model of society inspired by Scandinavian social democracy (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland) is implanted in the United States and in worldwide as an alternative to neoliberalism which is ruining most countries in the world.
The Nordic or Scandinavian model of social democracy could best be described as a kind of middle ground between capitalism and socialism. It is neither wholly capitalist nor wholly socialist, being the attempt to fuse the most desirable elements of both into a "hybrid" system. In 2013, The Economist magazine stated that the Nordic countries are probably the most well-governed in the world. The UN World Happiness Report 2013 shows that the happiest nations are concentrated in Northern Europe, with Denmark at the top of the list. The Nordics have the highest ranking in real GDP per capita, the highest healthy life expectancy, the greater freedom to make choices in life and the greatest generosity. Without changing the model of society prevailing today in the United States, the neoliberalism, the problems of unemployment will not be overcome.
* Fernando Alcoforado, member of the Bahia Academy of Education, engineer and doctor of Territorial Planning and Regional Development from the University of Barcelona, a university professor and consultant in strategic planning, business planning, regional planning and planning of energy systems.