A Closer Look

The Digital Economy – Dislocations in labor markets, with old industries and jobs disappearing Don Tapscott says

In the book, I warned that technology might actually destroy more jobs than it was creating. I asked, “How will we manage the transition to new types of work and a new knowledge base for the Digitaleconomy?

”Now, for the first time in modern history, economic growth in OECD countries is not generating a commensurate number of new jobs. Young workers are taking the biggest hit. Arguably, structural unemployment will be the biggest public policy issue for decades.It appears that the biggest culprit is digital technologies themselves. We’ve already seen knowledge work such as accounting and legal services being shipped offshore to cheaper employees. Soon the work will stay here but be done by computers. For example, IBM’s Watson computer diagnoses cancers with much higher levels of speed and accuracy than skilled physicians do. The same software combined with robotics, 3D printing, and myriad other innovations will continue to eliminate jobs throughout the workforce.

Technology is also the foundation of new species of businesses that are capable of wiping out entire industries. Spectacular digital conglomerates such as Apple, Google, Amazon, and others are taking over a dozen industries, partly because they do a better job with a fraction of the employees. Service Aggregators such as Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb hold the power to wipe out jobs in industries ranging from taxis to hotels. Data frackers such as Facebook are acquiring vast treasure troves of data that position them to dominate multiple industries.

Factoring in the hangover from the financial collapse of 2008, we’re witnessing youth unemployment levels across the western world from 15–50%. This situation is not only immoral; it is creating a massive powder keg. Rather than a Schumpeterian “creative destruction,” we’re seeing structural elimination of entire labor markets.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  After 20 Years, It’s Harder to Ignore the Digital Economy’s Dark Side

 

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