Unemployment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Era

JN Lai *

Unemployment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Era

Industrial revolutions and market economy have structured social system, government, and education accordingly. Then, the role of money and banking have created a coercion for the world to be part of the consumerism and labor force.

Ultimately, the coercion makes us all work behind the bar of goods and services. In such environment, employee should work under a fixed format prescribed by employer wherein freedom and dignity are usually compromised with pay.

Pressure and tension become routine as the employer’s desires and objectives are materialized under their hierarchical power. Thus employment paradigm has become of mere a paid slavery system. The independent and autonomous taste of live has vanished all over; creativity, time for family and friends, and relaxation are getting way far off the reach.

In order to earn money, if an adult is not able to get a job in a sector of goods and services, the person is seen as unemployed. Many view that social setting, economic condition and mental attitude are the key contributions to the existing unemployment scenario.

We may look at a different situation of employment and unemployment. In a perspective; some people eke out their livelihood independently running small family business and farming. In the so called third world and developing countries, many people are independently working with the least tension. Even though they undergo some amount of poverty and cannot afford modern-luxurious items, they live without knowing homelessness and unemployment.

But crucial reality is the ever growing force of the globalization that storms their feet out pushing them into the domain of modern slavery. Small farmers are diminished as their products fail to get into the market controlled and designed by the corporate powers. Millions of farmers fail to survive the cruel monopoly of agro-based production and market. In agrarian country like India, hundreds of thousands farmers have committed suicide highlighting the very dangerous reality in the green economy sector.

In regard to the objectives of the machines and technologies, they do not take vacations, sick leaves and smoke breaks; interesting! Artificial intelligence, robots, auto-drive vehicles and hands-free machines are being multiplied ever more. They are taking on the color-collar jobs leaving out humans towards the unemployment hiccups that getting frequented to choke. Of course, labor force can be helped with in minimizing the harsh manual involvement, making easier the very uncomfortable and dirty cleaning activities, providing a safer convenience reducing the health hazardous effect and disturbing working conditions.

Most of the people who have commonsense will opine that robots should not be to replace humans. To make happen artificial intelligence to work in place of human cognition, and to manufacture more machines to shun our manual skills, rising of less jobs for human fellows is the becoming consequence. An Oxford University study has warned that machines are to take away 47% of the US jobs. More or less, this similar situation can come up everywhere across the globe.

Whenever, new machines are made, they are also made out of natural resource inputs, extracting from the Mother Earth, in the manufacturing process they consume energy, give out carbon and other pollutants.

And, the beauty of engaging human intelligence in various domains of our living is far important for a creative and meaningful continuation. The artificial intelligence will have a hard time to replicate the natural emotions and feelings.

Perhaps, given the job creation in the sector of AI and machine industry, it may serve some careers as primary employment. Also, maybe there are to open alternative avenues as secondary sector for jobs like all engage in stock exchange trading and investment businesses in AI and machine makings which are again back to gambling reality of possible lose is higher than winning chance or sometimes luckily 50-50, no guarantee of livelihood security.

Of course, labor force can be helped with in minimizing the harsh manual involvement, making easier the very uncomfortable and dirty cleaning activities, providing a safer convenience reducing the health hazardous effect and disturbing working conditions.

Seriously, as machines and AI are concerned, human psychology cannot be manipulated 100%. Hence, the boredom will remain a big deal, and the value and taste of life cannot be compromised so readily. The plastic flowers, sex dolls and robotic pet maybe work but are of much limited short moments. Every next moment we will need real stuff since humans are made for the same.

Color-collar jobs:

As the industrial revolution advances the emergence of category of work to make money is seen. Wanting to leave behind manual labors, people began landing on other less manual types known as color collar jobs. From white-collar which is a salaried professional, typically referring to general office workers and management to gold-collar which refers to skilled knowledge people like chartered accountants, lawyers, doctors, research scientists, etc.

The modern education, capitalist market, globalization and commercial advertisement/propaganda have stimulated human mind towards grabbing the least physical involved economic activities. The expansion of market, trade and commerce created more new category of jobs available to the people. It projected as more dignified, a superior class, and more intelligence by setting a hierarchical structure.

In doing so, education especially at the higher levels started absorbing all the conceptual aspects, know-how, and picturising a good prospect of career from the market and profit oriented trade and commerce. Every aspect of human livelihood, activities and lifestyle affiliated too much to the features of commercialization. Nothing left in the spectrum, from child care supposed to be parents’/guardians’ job, to the education which is always fundamental undertaking for everyone.

Everything has been packaged in the form of saleable and buyable goods and services creating all sorts of jobs in the process. Thus each adopted a certain color-collar assignment designation now.

Again, family, friends and community altogether hold a kind of acceptable social norm that job assigned with farming and other physical involved are categorically inferior dignified kind and thus condescending unnecessarily. This has been a culture in the most part of the global society which in return helps the acceleration of deteriorating Mother Nature, and also leading to a miserable life missing the consciousness about true meaning of life and happiness.

* JN Lai wrote this article for
The writer is an Asst. Prof at International College, the University of Suwon, S Korea and can be contacted at ningombamcaptain(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on August 28 , 2018.

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