People are becoming too expensive to employ; bring on the technology!

A new industrial revolution is on the way!

With the ever tighter squeeze on company profits from the ever increasing raise in wages, UK businesses are replacing more and more operations with technology or a cheap ‘hidden’ imported workforce.

This is actually happening all over the world, slowly in some places and quickly in others. Lets focus on the UK for the moment.

After the second world war, our country created a benevolent society; where the needy are supposed to be supported.  The concept being that the taxes collected from the parts of society that were working, contributed to supporting those that could not work – for reasons of health or other situation.

At the beginning, it worked. For example, our health service improved and could be provided to all – free at point of delivery.

More recently we see many examples of a part of our society that cannot make ends meet – many of those actually classed as working poor (in work, but not enough income to support a basic lifestyle). There are people who have reasonable jobs who still need to receive top-up benefits, just to break even. Some don’t and struggle to heat their homes or put food on the table. I’m not going to get into the debate here about those who appear to be getting more than their fair share of benefits or the amount of fraudulent claims.

With the gap between the very wealthy and the less well off becoming ever wider, maybe now is the time to start thinking of how everyone can make a decent living in our society.

In a BBC article about 2017 tech trends: ‘A major bank will fail’, By Matthew Wall, there is a section on the ‘automation’ of the workplace.

‘…automation continues its takeover of manufacturing, the big question is what new jobs there will be for all these redundant workers.

We’ve already seen how the effects of globalisation and automation have stirred up voters in the US and potentially across Europe this year. [and UK with Brexit]

Could there be a new Luddite revolution brewing? After all, who benefits most from cheaper production? It’s certainly not the poor.

“We’re going to start confronting some hard truths about technology and the labour force,” says Tien Tzuo, founder of subscription technology platform Zuora.

“We’re going to have to figure out how to create jobs for people in this new economy, and if there literally are going to be fewer jobs, then we’ll need to establish some sort of living standard or basic income for people.”

So 2017 could also be the year the world is forced to deal – finally – with the tangible impacts of technology upon human society.’

We cannot continue to just increase wages, not many businesses can afford it. Also, not many business owners are receiving the rewards that the media portrays.

I believe we need to start looking at how we will ensure that all of our people have a valued and valuable life. One of the key aspects for the well-being of the human soul, is hope – for without hope, what is there?

I feel that our world is creating a ‘celebrity status’, where people are held in high regard for being famous, not necessarily for what they contribute; at a cost to our world as a whole. At what point will we say, enough is enough.

The fundamental problem is that our nation is not receiving as much income, to provide our ideal of supporting everyone, as we choose.

Unless we have some changes as to how we run our nation, we are going to see more cuts.

There is an argument that there is sufficient money, but that it is distributed unfairly. This is a difficult one – Why should we despise a banker for getting a massive salary yet be happy for a football player to earn more in the first week of the year than the average person earns in a whole year?

Apart from our possibly skewed values on how much certain people are worth, it seems that we have a culture of ‘I’m alright jack’ rather than the supportive communities we used to have.

Whatever we decide, we cannot bury our heads in the sand anymore.

Ask yourself, are we going to continue to bumble on, oblivious of the impact of deprivation caused to a strata of our society?

Maybe the ‘real world’ debates need to focus on the legacy we are leaving for future generations?

Whilst there is still plenty of employment at certain levels, those jobs replaced by machines have left a UK generation feeling that they don’t have much opportunity.

Great Britain is still one of the world leaders in innovation, so let’s see what we can come up with for our society.

Finland has already started looking at this problem.

Come on Great Britain, let’s work out how every able UK citizen will actively contribute to the benefit of the nation.

About Alex Petty

Blogger, runner, mentor
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