What’s behind the slowdown in wages and the loss of high-paying jobs? Ask around in the office or at Happy Hour and you’ll get answers ranging from conspiracy theories to political rants, but many economists would boil it down to just two words: automation and globalization.
Their thinking is that American corporations can throw jobs to lower-priced overseas workers and robots, leaving American workers high and dry, or at least unemployed.
Corporations benefit, consumers get cheap but possibly poor-quality and even unsafe goods, and overseas workers, the argument goes, are exploited.
Not everyone agrees. Automation, the counter-argument goes, takes over tedious and dangerous tasks while providing new jobs that pay more and are more satisfying for human workers. Meanwhile, new technologies allow entrepreneurs to create new jobs for minimal investments compared with corporate job creation of the past.
Globalization encourages international trade not only of imports and exports but of new ideas and technologies as well. Collaboration among people from different nations leads to exciting innovations, and increased trade raises wages around the world, creating new consumer markets and new job opportunities that we can’t even imagine right now.
One reason that this difference of opinion exists is that some jobs are disappearing: routine jobs, repetitive jobs, unskilled jobs. Other jobs, the jobs that only human beings can do, the jobs that require creativity and critical thinking and education — these are the jobs that are blooming.
Will some people be left behind? Possibly. But history suggests that increasing technology and greater automation actually improve people’s lives. We’re optimistic.
In the meantime, as we wait to see what adventures are on the other side of the 4th Industrial Revolution, give us a call if you need support with your Rexroth electric motion control, new or legacy. We have the expertise and the largest supply of emergency replacement units in the nation.