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White-Collar Workers To Become 'new Poor’ As Computers Take Over

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Telegraph 14/11/13

'White collar workers will become the new poor as their jobs are replaced by computers, the Government’s advisor on social mobility has warned.

Employees such as legal clerks and local government administrators will see their wages collapse as new technology makes their skills less valuable, just like manual workers have, Alan Milburn said.

Across the United States and Europe jobs working life has polarised into “lovely jobs” and “lousy jobs”, with the wages at the bottom end of the jobs market falling behind growth in the rest of the economy thanks to advances in technology, Mr Milburn said.

That fate will soon be shared by office workers as their jobs are outsourced to emerging economies and replaced by computers, he warns, “hollowing out the middle of the labour market”.

“It is likely that as the cost of computing power continues to fall technology will replace many more middle-class jobs that rely on repetitive and routine tasks – or at least make them less valuable in the labour market,” he told the Resolution Foundation. “In other words, the earnings squeeze already felt by people at the bottom could increasingly spread to those in the middle.”

Alan Milburn served as a Labour cabinet minister, and was appointed chairman of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission by Nick Clegg. The assumption that a rising economy will “lift all boats” and result in better wages is no longer true, he said.

As a result, the children of middle class families risk being locked out of medicine, law and journalism by a “social elite” who attended private schools under a regime that “has all the hallmarks of social engineering.”

While politicians have focused on getting people off welfare, five million people now have jobs but remain in poverty, and are “forgotten people of Britain”, Mr Milburn said.

“These are the people who heed Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, David Cameron, who do the ring thing, stand on their own feet, strive not shirk,” he said.

Real wages did not grow for blue-collar workers from 2003 until 2008, he said, and were “propped up” by tax credits at a cost of £20bn a year. The state can “no longer afford” to support such measures, he said.

Mr Milburn said he did not believe immigration from eastern Europe after 2004 had brought down wages for unskilled workers and had boosted growth.

Jack Straw, the former home secretary, today said not placing restrictions on migrants was a “spectacular mistake”.

Sir Ferdinand Mount, who served as head of Margaret Thatcher’s policy unit and is a cousin of David Cameron, said mass immigration had lowered wages in Britain.

“I just can’t believe that where local authorities can whistle-up plentiful supplies of eager and energetic baristas and beanpickers from central Europe, this has no effect on local wage rates,” he told the audience. “I do think if Marx and Engels were with us today they would be telling us immigrants are the new reserve army of labour in Britain.”'

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This will happen. It will certainly allow the govt to cut costs in the NHS. Currently Drs dictate onto tape / SD cards for a sec to listen back to and type up. If they dictate directly onto a PC, all what may be needed is for minor editing and printing. You could probably get rid of 50% of med secs across the NHS etc... and replace the rest with lower grades for the editing role and printing.

The economic impact on these people will huge, quite how they'll be able to afford over priced housing, other discretionary spending etc... will be a mute point.

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This has already been happening for a long time. Just thinking about offices I have worked in the reduction in skilled and unskilled clerical staff is huge. I used to be employed making alterations to engineering drawings, now those changes are made on a computer in a fraction of the time and to a better standard. In another job if I needed a document from our system I phoned a clerk who retrieved it and brought it to me. I wrote letters in longhand which a clerk took to a typist. A specialist clerk was employed just to look after the filing system. A trained man operated the dyeline printing machine.

All these jobs are now replaced by technology.

It has not caused the end of the world.

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All these jobs are now replaced by technology.

It has not caused the end of the world.

Yes but now we have three times as many people chasing half as many jobs. Not the best comparison imo.

The possible outcome for me is the 3 day week for most. However tbtb (and their useful idiots) are fighting tooth and nail against the deflationary forces to enable this.

My job more or less pays the same as it did in 2000. Yet even reducing my hours by one day would still enable me to afford a mortgage on a reasonable house at 2000 prices. However we all know what happened next...

High living costs

High housing costs

Public/private debt bubbles

Demographic pincer

Low wages/employment

High immigration/off shoring.

At least 4 out of the six factors above have to give, even for any iota of progress to be sustainable.

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Yes but now we have three times as many people chasing half as many jobs. Not the best comparison imo.

snip

I'm not saying that there is no problem. Just pointing out that it is part of an ongoing process not a new phenomenon.

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It deserves to be explicitly mentioned that these jobs being eradicated by technology is fundamentally a good thing. Its the economic system that is messed up.

Can rentiers be automated?

Bankers already have been by high-frequency trading, but somehow there are still many fleshy bankers looting money from the rest of us. They must have a strong union or something.

Edited by Eddie_George

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Yes but now we have three times as many people chasing half as many jobs. Not the best comparison imo.

The possible outcome for me is the 3 day week for most. However tbtb (and their useful idiots) are fighting tooth and nail against the deflationary forces to enable this.

My job more or less pays the same as it did in 2000. Yet even reducing my hours by one day would still enable me to afford a mortgage on a reasonable house at 2000 prices. However we all know what happened next...

High living costs

High housing costs

Public/private debt bubbles

Demographic pincer

Low wages/employment

High immigration/off shoring.

At least 4 out of the six factors above have to give, even for any iota of progress to be sustainable.

Doesn;t really matter how many people that are chasing the jobs, companies are not going to split up one job into three (unless we are talking shelf stacking with government bungs in return where it pays). 3 times as many people - 3x the hassle, overhead, instruction, management time.

The real problem is what it costs to employ one person on a liveable wage - see your high living costs, high housing costs. Without those salaries could be lower and the cost advantage of automating/replacing staff diminishes or goes. The high those go the faster those jobs will go.

Watch for a huge push across the expensive SE where mid-level jobs get wiped out in the private sector. Admin jobs are in the firing line to go the way of the secretarial jobs.

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a/ Yes but now we have three times as many people chasing half as many jobs. Not the best comparison imo.

....

b/ High living costs; High housing costs; Public/private debt bubbles; Demographic pincer

...

/quote]

a/ the unemployment is high now because of the economic crises; not the automation

b/ this is caused only by wrong government regulation and benefit system; not by the automation

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Most of the easy replaceable jobs have already gone from here, they have been offshored. It's these jobs in the other countries that will disappear. No loss to us.

Might have implications elsewhere.

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At my place of work (FTSE 100 FMCG company), while computers may have replaced many of the menial tasks, we instead spend all our time trying to make the f****** things work!

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At my place of work (FTSE 100 FMCG company), while computers may have replaced many of the menial tasks, we instead spend all our time trying to make the f****** things work!

Agreed! I can be having an International call for 45 minutes to our IT call centre, and eventually Ken, from the next office comes in and fixes it! :huh:

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the unemployment is high now because of the economic crises; not the automation

the economic crisis was caused by the use of credit as a means to bolster spending power in the absence of wage gains- and one reason for the lack of growth in wages was due to the technology that allowed more jobs to be off shored and more jobs to be automated.

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Estate agents and letting agents could soon be replaced by a computer algorithm which is programmed to inspire a bleak future for the soul.

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This will happen. It will certainly allow the govt to cut costs in the NHS. Currently Drs dictate onto tape / SD cards for a sec to listen back to and type up. If they dictate directly onto a PC, all what may be needed is for minor editing and printing. You could probably get rid of 50% of med secs across the NHS etc... and replace the rest with lower grades for the editing role and printing.

Mostly offshored to India already I thought?

http://www.medical-specialists.co.uk/news/2012/09/12/nhs-patient-letters-are-typed-up-in-india-by-poorly-paid-workers/

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the economic crisis was caused by the use of credit as a means to bolster spending power in the absence of wage gains- and one reason for the lack of growth in wages was due to the technology that allowed more jobs to be off shored and more jobs to be automated.

Wonderpup, have you watched Elizabeth Warren's lecture on the collapse of the middle class?

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