Monday, November 28, 2011

More Rifkin

Jeremy Rifkin, Der Spiegel, 2005

No one is dealing with the real employment problem in Europe. They're afraid to have the real conversation. These jobs are never coming back.[..] Outsourcing counts for about 5 percent or less of the jobs that are disappearing. [..] The fact is that we're ending mass wage labor. This is what's going on with all the companies I've been working with.

The last great structural shift in labor occurred at the beginning of the industrial revolution. We ended slave labor and that was a great structural shift. For 10,000 years people held each other as slaves. From an economic point of view, it became cheaper to feed coal to the steam engine than to feed the mouth of a slave. The new high- tech revolutions of the 21st century end mass wage labor -- meaning the cheapest worker in the world is more expensive than the intelligent technology coming online to replace them.