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Over the past year I've noticed my own job becoming more and more bureaucratic compared to what it was 3 years ago. My job title is Project Manager, and that is what I used to spend most of my time doing (I work in Africa by the way). However now, I'm more of a glorified clerk, having to send endless reports back to our head office in London, risk assessment forms, and other such things.

I have done my best to cultivate a 'no blame' culture as I want people to be self supporting problem solvers, and make decisions. However, more and more, I find that most people refuse to make decisions and take accountability for their actions. I find this incredibly depressing.

The other day, in one of my many musings, I wondered about the world and technology. Simply put, what happens when basic manual labour is automated (as much has been) and certain people can no longer be employed in those sectors? The conclusion I've reached is that those people who can't adapt either do one of the following:

a. welfare recipient.

b. health and safety rep.

c. bureaucrat.

So my view is that the amount of red tape, bureaucracy, and taxes we pay to non-productive elements of society is inversly proportional to the advances in technology!

Not a particularly well thought out theory of mine, but one I'd love to discuss with others and get some feedback on. So the question is: what does the person who would have been '2nd assistant book-keeper' in some dusty non-descript office in Liverpool St railway station do now? (The only way is Essex? Big Brother?)

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Over the past year I've noticed my own job becoming more and more bureaucratic compared to what it was 3 years ago. My job title is Project Manager, and that is what I used to spend most of my time doing (I work in Africa by the way). However now, I'm more of a glorified clerk, having to send endless reports back to our head office in London, risk assessment forms, and other such things.

I have done my best to cultivate a 'no blame' culture as I want people to be self supporting problem solvers, and make decisions. However, more and more, I find that most people refuse to make decisions and take accountability for their actions. I find this incredibly depressing.

The other day, in one of my many musings, I wondered about the world and technology. Simply put, what happens when basic manual labour is automated (as much has been) and certain people can no longer be employed in those sectors? The conclusion I've reached is that those people who can't adapt either do one of the following:

a. welfare recipient.

b. health and safety rep.

c. bureaucrat.

So my view is that the amount of red tape, bureaucracy, and taxes we pay to non-productive elements of society is inversly proportional to the advances in technology!

Not a particularly well thought out theory of mine, but one I'd love to discuss with others and get some feedback on. So the question is: what does the person who would have been '2nd assistant book-keeper' in some dusty non-descript office in Liverpool St railway station do now? (The only way is Essex? Big Brother?)

Welcome to the world of DIVERSITY.

Diversity is the science of government taking over your business and ensuring you are getting the very very best out of all your staff, taking advantage of all their natural talents.

You do this not by hands on help and encouragement, you do this by having a diversity statement, from the top, and having a team to pass this message all the way down, with meetings, training and targets. form filling at all levels is essential.

if you work for a large firm that want Public sector cash, this will be compulsory...As will be the Diversity department in your firm

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what happens when basic manual labour is automated (as much has been) and certain people can no longer be employed in those sectors?

It's not just basic manual labor kiddo, my accountancy jobs have been automated and outsourced away many times.

Personally I've been scrabbling around the past two years doing what I can, I effectively returned from my travels in Oct 2009. In that time I've had 7 months FT work and an enormous number of microjobs cleaning, washing dishes, sound man, bin loader, counter assistant, van loader, mechanic, chef etc

I can do this because I have a wide range of contacts I get my hands dirty and I've always been aware my main job is not secure thus I can do other things and I've kept them current so that I can always flip back and forth.

Due to my current unemployment I'm taking a week to look around to find anything microjobs whatever. However it is looking increasingly likely that I'm going to go overseas again perhaps sell my soul to a big corporate or something as tbh the death spiral has been quite obvious and as a nation we've been circling around the plug hole for quite some time.

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That is a very powerful image indeed!

Brilliant piece of writing there! "Respec"!

It is, but I think we have gone down the waste pipe and think the current air we have gulped is the surface...its not, its the waste trap.

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That is a very powerful image indeed!

Brilliant piece of writing there! "Respec"!

??

Are you taking the pish? (It is somewhat difficult to read sarcasm over the internet)

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??

Are you taking the pish? (It is somewhat difficult to read sarcasm over the internet)

clearly, he meant "restecpa"

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??

Are you taking the pish? (It is somewhat difficult to read sarcasm over the internet)

I am not! I meant it. It is very good!

Edit: I mean, I am not sure the situation is really fatal, I don't agree with a Luddite view of the world in general, I think we can still learn and develop, but your "(...) as a nation we've been circling around the plug hole for quite some time" was a very good piece of writing.

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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??

Are you taking the pish? (It is somewhat difficult to read sarcasm over the internet)

Misunderstanding solved: My wife just told me that "circling around the plughole" is a common saying. I had thought you had just "penned" it.

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Due to my current unemployment I'm taking a week to look around to find anything microjobs whatever. However it is looking increasingly likely that I'm going to go overseas again perhaps sell my soul to a big corporate or something as tbh the death spiral has been quite obvious and as a nation we've been circling around the plug hole for quite some time.

Do you have a degree? If not do an Open University degree from home, or consider getting a sudent loan (that you'll never need to pay back) and doing a proper 3 year degree at a university and then going abroad with even better qualifications.

If you do have a degree, consider teaching English in Asia. It's a lot better than working full time 40 hours/ week in Britain, and even better compared to working in Hong Kong full time as they work you to death there- I know your kind of a fan of that city but I'm telling you the reality is Hong Kong SUCKS for normal people and is only awesome for those with the big comfy jobs, or traders and businessmen.

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consider teaching English in Asia. It's a lot better than working full time 40 hours/ week in Britain, and even better compared to working in Hong Kong full time as they work you to death there- I know your kind of a fan of that city but I'm telling you the reality is Hong Kong SUCKS for normal people and is only awesome for those with the big comfy jobs, or traders and businessmen.

Yeah I know as Drbubb and Expatowner have told me never compete with the locals.... HK has advantages for me because I don't need paperwork to go there I need no visas, I speak the Lingo and I am mostly literate.

I'm iffy about teaching English (done it on and off and have CELTA) as I wonder how long the shelf life is especially as there isn't really much of a shortage of teachers, plus although not as bad as in the past there is still a heavy preference for the teacher to look a certain way.

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The other day, in one of my many musings, I wondered about the world and technology. Simply put, what happens when basic manual labour is automated (as much has been) and certain people can no longer be employed in those sectors?

You may find this relevant:

http://liminalhack.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/whats-that-buzzing-sound/

The problem in my view is not so much automation of manual labour but the excessive specialization required by high levels of technology. Specialists are vulnerable to economic shocks, and are easily taken advantage of. Hence the welfare state, relues and regulations and so on.

Its generally agreed that the most in demand item this century is going to be healthcare, which has thus far been highly resistant to automation (hence its high high costs to the economy).

So many of your 2nd tier clerks will end up doing manual healthcare work, everything from changing bedpans to performing routine DNA analysis and so on. I also suggest that as time passes and the world population slows and then falls, industrial production will be culturally de-emphasised in favour of softer economic goods like entertainment, transport and cultural goods, all of which are labour intensive.

Lastly, the growth of the grey sector of the population is going to very soon put significant pressure on labour availability so it will be very difficult to find people to do all the manual work that is required.

So in summary I don't buy the technological unemployment story, not long term.

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Misunderstanding solved: My wife just told me that "circling around the plughole" is a common saying. I had thought you had just "penned" it.

I hadn't heard that that saying before either and thought it was quite good.

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Over the past year I've noticed my own job becoming more and more bureaucratic compared to what it was 3 years ago. My job title is Project Manager, and that is what I used to spend most of my time doing (I work in Africa by the way). However now, I'm more of a glorified clerk, having to send endless reports back to our head office in London, risk assessment forms, and other such things.

I have done my best to cultivate a 'no blame' culture as I want people to be self supporting problem solvers, and make decisions. However, more and more, I find that most people refuse to make decisions and take accountability for their actions. I find this incredibly depressing.

The other day, in one of my many musings, I wondered about the world and technology. Simply put, what happens when basic manual labour is automated (as much has been) and certain people can no longer be employed in those sectors? The conclusion I've reached is that those people who can't adapt either do one of the following:

a. welfare recipient.

b. health and safety rep.

c. bureaucrat.

So my view is that the amount of red tape, bureaucracy, and taxes we pay to non-productive elements of society is inversly proportional to the advances in technology!

Not a particularly well thought out theory of mine, but one I'd love to discuss with others and get some feedback on. So the question is: what does the person who would have been '2nd assistant book-keeper' in some dusty non-descript office in Liverpool St railway station do now? (The only way is Essex? Big Brother?)

I tend to agree. A few observations,

1. There's a charity that lets mentally disabled people work on a traditional farm. They feed the chickens, sweep the stables, and fill up the water troughs. They seem to discharge their duties with say 80% of the competence you'd expect from an athletic Mensa member. In a simpler rural society these people are productive members of the community, in a complex urban society they're useless parasites. They may be underemployed, but they're never entirely unemployed.

2. I knew a guy who rode his old Enfield motorcycle around the world, fixing it as he went, earning his keep with occasional jobs, navigating his way through deserts and across mountains. Back in the UK his marginal reading skills and complete inability to fill out even the simplest form or document meant he kept adding to a police record for a succession of petty offences (I used to regularly leave him the keys to my house and car and nothing of mine was ever touched, so I struggled to think of him as criminal). In one capacity he's a stupendously resourceful and successful adventurer, but confronted with modern documentation and procedures he's suddenly a crook.

3. It's not entirely a modern situation, "The Admirable Crichton" is an early Edwardian play by JM Barrie which explores similar themes in that a shipwrecked aristocratic family is kept alive by their practical butler and soon roles are reversed.

Sophisticated economies progressively truncate the long tail of sellable skills, both on the demand side with higher qualification requirements (you need a basic level of literacy to stack shelves) or on the supply side with more complex bureaucratic demands (from minimum wages to the need for child minder registration). The result is millions leading stunted marginalised lives on welfare, I wish I could think of a better alternative, I suspect ensuring that work always pays is a step in the right direction.

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I also came to the same conclusion as you. There just isn't enough productive work to go around to employ 30 million in full time jobs.. in our nation of 62 million people. The Labour party created literally millions of non-jobs while in power.. and I came to realize if we get rid of those 'jobs', the unemployment rate will simply increase by the same amount.

I've proposed the citizen's dividend, others have proposed a shorter working week.. but it appears our nation will not even admit the problem, let alone consider solutions. And is prepapred to go down with the ship with the current ideology.

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I also came to the same conclusion as you. There just isn't enough productive work to go around to employ 30 million in full time jobs.. in our nation of 62 million people. The Labour party created literally millions of non-jobs while in power.. and I came to realize if we get rid of those 'jobs', the unemployment rate will simply increase by the same amount.

I've proposed the citizen's dividend, others have proposed a shorter working week.. but it appears our nation will not even admit the problem, let alone consider solutions. And is prepapred to go down with the ship with the current ideology.

Better to pay someone dole than 80,000 a year in some beaurocratic non-job.

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I also came to the same conclusion as you. There just isn't enough productive work to go around to employ 30 million in full time jobs..

(...)

"If the Luddite fallacy were true we would all be out of work because productivity has been increasing for two centuries."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite_fallacy

Luddite fallacy

The Luddite fallacy is a concept in development economics related to the belief that labour-saving technologies (i.e., technologies that increase output-per-worker) increase unemployment by reducing demand for labour. The concept is named after the Luddites of early nineteenth century England.

The original Luddites were hosiery and lace workers in Nottingham, England in 1811. They smashed knitting machines that embodied new labor-saving technology as a protest against unemployment, publicizing their actions in circulars mysteriously signed, "King Ludd."[1]

According to neoclassical economists, labour-saving technologies will increase output per worker and thus the production of goods, causing the costs of goods to decline and demand for goods to increase. As a result, the demand for workers to produce those goods will not decrease. Thus, the "fallacy" of the Luddites lay in their assumption that employers would keep production constant by employing a smaller albeit more productive workforce instead of allowing production to grow while keeping workforce size constant.[1] Economist Alex Tabarrok summarises the neoclassical presentation of the fallacy as such:

If the Luddite fallacy were true we would all be out of work because productivity has been increasing for two centuries.[2]

However, the Luddite fallacy is fallacious only at the macroeconomic level: overall employment in the economy will not decrease, but individual workers who do not possess the skills to utilize new technologies may become unemployed.[1]

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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I don't see it as a 'fallacy' in a market with high stagflation , surely this 'Luddite fallacy' only exists in economies where comsumption keeps growing and does not account for decreases in consumption.

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I don't see it as a 'fallacy' in a market with high stagflation , surely this 'Luddite fallacy' only exists in economies where comsumption keeps growing and does not account for decreases in consumption.

Good point...

My consumption since getting the push on Friday has gone down to subsistance levels. As a result of not needing to go to a job I buy less petrol, I buy less lunches (I didnt buy many before as I bought my own) and I buy less of everything tbh. Books I would have bought get borrowed from the library and the bicycle has been used rather than any motortransport all weekend.

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Good point...

My consumption since getting the push on Friday has gone down to subsistance levels. As a result of not needing to go to a job I buy less petrol, I buy less lunches (I didnt buy many before as I bought my own) and I buy less of everything tbh. Books I would have bought get borrowed from the library and the bicycle has been used rather than any motortransport all weekend.

but, you are STILL buying. the endgame will come when excess is defaulted.

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"If the Luddite fallacy were true we would all be out of work because productivity has been increasing for two centuries."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite_fallacy

I definately agree the Luddite fallacy was indeed a fallacy up until recently. The limitation on economic growth in the past was labour supply. We wanted say more factory workers in an area, but we couldn't spare labour from the farming fields. As agricultural productivity soared, all of a sudden we could fulfill our desire for more factory workers.

And indeed the very technology that was causing the automation of jobs, like the farm combine in agriculture, opened up vast new industries. Like the auto industry. Which employed millions.. and we could now afford autos, because of course we had the surplus labour who could build them.

However I believe a phase change has happened. The new technologies clearly appear to be getting rid of good jobs faster than they open up new ones. When you think about it logically this is completely natural that this point would be reached eventually.

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I definately agree the Luddite fallacy was indeed a fallacy up until recently. The limitation on economic growth in the past was labour supply. We wanted say more factory workers in an area, but we couldn't spare labour from the farming fields. As agricultural productivity soared, all of a sudden we could fulfill our desire for more factory workers.

And indeed the very technology that was causing the automation of jobs, like the farm combine in agriculture, opened up vast new industries. Like the auto industry. Which employed millions.. and we could now afford autos, because of course we had the surplus labour who could build them.

However I believe a phase change has happened. The new technologies clearly appear to be getting rid of good jobs faster than they open up new ones. When you think about it logically this is completely natural that this point would be reached eventually.

By Charles Duell, Commissioner of the United States Patent Office, 1899: "Everything that can be invented - has already been invented"

And from the economics point of view: the main root cause that production always matches demand is coz the workers are also the consumers. Robots don't consume. So prices and salaries always keep reaching new equilibria, and both affected productivity. We have had 200 years of all that.

About "reaching a point", market economies move very gradually, not by "points".

And the amount of labour available depends on salaries on offer, and the alternatives on offer (ie existence of benefits or not), etc.

What does change is the level and type of skills required to get a "good" or "bad" job.

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I don't see it as a 'fallacy' in a market with high stagflation , surely this 'Luddite fallacy' only exists in economies where comsumption keeps growing and does not account for decreases in consumption.

The current "fall" in standard of living here in Britain (just back down to our normal, deserved level, no longer boosted by crazy borrowing) is due to the debt we've accumulated. Nothing to do with automation.

And even in this debt issue: "gravity always wins", "you can't buck the market", etc. Adam Smith really. We were living beyond our means, as a nation, (sadly, thanks to Brown), and now we will be forced to pay the price. Salaries will fall, consumption will fall, we will have to export more, import less - or else.

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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