March 16, 2014

Mode, Technology and Employment

Essay : [Mode, Technology And Employment]

English Essay on "Mode, Technology And Employment"

Mode, Technology And Employment

Today's feats of science and technology are the result of continuous and calculated efforts. The impact in all walks of life is too apparent to be ignored. The dreams of yesterday have become the realities of today. Modern technology is fast becoming an indispensable part of all operations in industry, space, water,' underground exploitation of resources" medicine, etc.
With old ideologies buried deep into the vaults of history, and the new thrust of liberalization and free-market economy becoming a fait accompli, the contours of employment arenas are also becoming highly competitive, contractual, and global on content and context. Under the towering tutelage of technology, patterns of employment are getting more and more daunting and rewarding. If; in the years gone by, the expanding public sector was the biggest source of employment in countries like Pakistan, in the years to come, it win be the private or corporate sector that is going to play the pivotal role. Patterns of employment, in the fast changing scenario at home and abroad, would not remain static b4t would be molded by the demands of market forces under the over-all umbrella of holding' degrees or diplomas in liberal education, or those claiming to be the new emerging land scope, the need for those holding degrees or diplomas in liberal education, or those claiming to be the jack of all trades but masters of none, may not find the going as lucrative us the demand for those who are
As thing stand today, the employment opportunities may shrink for those who are rolling stones, but vastly expand for those who keep _ pace with the turns and twist of technology in the creative corridors, machines may move in to give a concrete shape to human intuition and imagination. The way technology is entering into our lives, finding employment with the ordinary or general degrees would not be a child's play.( Expertise in new areas of exploration and exploitation, Where problems and possibilities are likely to coexist, the chances of cornering a job or starting an independent enterprise would go up manifold.
A change in attitude towards both work and life style, and the increasing use of modem gadgets like the computer, fax, copier, and even• mobile phones, would enable enterprising professionals to start an independent set-up in comfortable home surroundings also. Under the increasing influence of technology, the educated wife can also become more compatible and co-operative to her husband whose business operations .are being done from residential premises. It goes without saying, "Today, everyone wants a computer. If the executive in the West is already a walking office, in Pakistan, office gadgets are gearing up for going home. Obsolesce, caused by technological advancements, means products are becoming sleeker, more sophisticated and compact by the day.
Sky is the limit as far as the use of technology is concerned in the collection and dispersal of information; research and development in space exploration and remote sensing operations; spread oftener-communications network; innovations and fresh initiatives in management and advertisement; to name only a few fields where revolutionary changes are taking place every moment. Till recently, craze for government jobs was a compulsive obsession with most of the job seekers. The same mania drove the best brains to the higher echelons of administrative services. But now, the outlines on the horizons of employment have changed drastically and dramatically. Now the steering is in the reverse gear and the most ambitious are looking' towards the corporate sector or multinationals, where both the pay-packets and other perks are much higher than what the government sector is willing to offer. Thus, the patterns of employment under the magic touch of technology are going through a metamorphosis unheard of in the past.
There are, however, quite a few thinkers who predict that rapid technological developments generally lead to unprecedented job retrenchments Worldwide, and the resulting unemployment crisis is structural in nature and may get increasingly worse in the foreseeable future.
This is the grim' scenario portrayed by the renowned American author and social analyst Jeremy Rifkin, whose forth-coming book, The End of Work, will show how computerization, automation and biotechnology have already begun to eliminate millions of jobs. Within a few decades, predicts Rifkin, hundreds of millions of people working in manufacturing, services and agriculture could be displaced, potentially causing massive social upheavals in the industrial and Third World countries.
We are fast moving into a world where there will be factories without workers and agricultural production without farms or farmers, said Rifkin. Much of the global work force could well be eliminated, replaced by information technology, robots, machines and biotechnology.
Rifkin, in a recent interview while he was attending an international workshop on the Global Economy held in San Francisco, as "president of the Washington-based Foundation on Economic Trends and author of several best-selling books on vironrnent and society, including Entropy and Biosphere Politics, attempt d to answer the question why there was serious, persistent and growing unemployment in the industrial countries, although productivity and output had been rising. Rifkin found that this delinking of jobs from economic growth could be explained by the fast expansion of information technology in both the industrial and service sectors. And in the near future, the livelihoods of millions of farmers, particularly in the South, will be threatened by tissue culture and genetic engineering that can produce foods and fibers in the laboratory.
Rifkin quotes studies that predict that in the United States 90 million jobs out of the total 124 million work force, are vulnerable to replacement by machines..Companies are re-engineering their technology and restructuring their organizations to be computer-friendly, eliminating traditional managers and workers alike, he says, He quotes an' estimate made by management guru and former Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Michael Hammer, that re-engineering can typically result in 40 percent reduction in jobs in a company.
A recent wall Street Journal article projects that one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half million American jobs could be lost each year for the, foreseeable future. Out of 90 million private sector jobs, 25 million could be eliminated. The manufacturing sector is fast eliminating human labor from the production process. Computer technology is also causing job loss in the service sector: in the past 10 years, three million white-collar jobs were eliminated in the U.S.
In agriculture, farm mechanization had already drastically reduced the farm labor force. Computerized robots are also now being used in farms. And soon, new plant-breeding techniques, particularly tissue culture and genetic engineering, will be able to produce substitutes for outdoor farm products in the laboratory. Hundreds of millions of farmer's livelihoods around the world are under threat.
In Ritkin's analysis, the loss of jobs and persistent unemployment in the industrial countries is due mainly to changes in technology "It is misleading to blame job loss on the shift of corporations from the industrial countries to the Third World, as this is only a secondary factor, and minor compared to the elimination of jobs by technology", he says.
The present technological developments amount to a Third Industrial Revolution, according to Rifkin. The first industrial revolution (in the 19th century) was characterized by coal and the steam engine, the second (in the 1920s) by oil and the electro-dynamo. The third is driven by information technology and the new biotechnologies.
Rifkin sees a fundamental weakens and contradiction in the new industrial revolution, "The technology is advancing so fast and productivity is rising, but as jobs are being lost, there are not enough people to buy the products. The capacity to produce will expand tremendously, but there is also a growing .lack of purchasing power and effective demands. So there is overproduction and recessions."
Within this analytical paradigm, Rifkin explains the Uruguay Round process (conducted under GAIT auspices) as a 'market extension of the Third Industrial Revolution'. Owing to the expanded production capacity of the big corporations, he says, they urgently requires new markets to absorb their output and thus prevent or reduce the pressures of overproduction. The growth in GAIT's power and reach through the Round would, the companies hoped, open up new markets and in new sectors to help overcome this threat of overproduction.
In Rifkin's view, liberalized markets cannot be a respite because world-wide, the loss of jobs will create a lack of effective demand.
"The only way out of this growing jobs crisis is to eliminate work and not the workers", says Rifkin. He proposes a reduction of the w king week from the present 40 hours (in the US) to 3.0 hours, so that more workers will be employed. At the same time, the rate of pay should go up, although perhaps the average volume of pay may not increase.
"In the past, every worker's movement that has been effective, has succeeded in fighting for the belief that the workers have the right to enjoy the benefits of productivity increases, through lower working hours and higher wa.ges", he says.
"Now we are seeing significant productivity increases, but the hours of work have not declined and wages instead of going up have actually gone down."
He suggests a three-prong approach for society to deal with the problem. Firstly, the working week should be reduced to, say, 30 hours. "We should have more people working, with each person working less hours.
Secondly, the benefits to the labor force should improve, with higher rates of pay and other benefits.
Thirdly; with the increase in free time, people, should be encouraged to participate in the social sector or the voluntary sector, being involved, for instance, in welfare, education, and community work. As an incentive, volunteers could be given tax deductions. The unemployed could be given a 'shadow wage' or allowance.
The scheme could be operated by community-based citizen groups and facilitated by the government, which could finance it through higher taxes and voluntary contributions.

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