Globalisation and unemployment
Technological advances could now mean white-collar, office-based workers and professionals are at risk of losing their jobs.
Knowledge crossing borders in massive amounts is the big new disruptive thing of globalisation.
It’s going to help people in Africa and Asia compete more effectively with people in the West, as communication advances mean workers in the developing world will be able to control robots to do jobs in Europe and the US at lower cost.
Developing world labour costs can be a tenth of what they are in the West. Foreign workers cannot get here to take the jobs but technology will soon allow virtual migration, thanks to tele-robotics and tele-presence.
Ever-faster internet speeds becoming globally more widely available, coupled with the rapidly falling prices of robots will allow workers, for example in the Philippines or China, to remotely provide services to a Western country.
What it will do is unbundle our jobs and change the nature of our occupation. Some of the things you do absolutely require your judgement – but parts of your job could be off-shored, just as some stages in a factory can be off-shored.
All you need is more computing power, more transmitting power and cheaper robots – and all that is happening.
A typical industrial robot can cost about £4 an hour to operate, compared to average total European labour costs of about £40 an hour – or £9 an hour in China. And robots are getting cheaper to buy and are increasingly able to do more complex tasks.