Technology vs. human labor

Many times after the recent economic crisis Germany has been named to be a role model for Europe. But developing technologies change more and more rapid every day, this changes as well the need for labor in our economy and therefore our society. Nowadays, work has changed that much that sometimes even when working eight hours a day one is not able to earn his living.

“Low wage country Germany” is a current topic in the news and it is mentioned in many articles that especially developing technologies are a major cause for this development. Every business has to make decisions betweens profit and ethics. Profit is of course important for ever business’s sustainability but if they won`t stick to a certain working ethic they might be outlawed by the people and their business won`t be able to last very long

“One in four Geman workers on low wage”

This article in the Herald Sun reports that even though unemployment has been decreasing over the last couple of years the part of the employed people working on low wages have been increasing. “Germany has reached a level of inequality in the past two decades that is highly problematic in social and economic terms” stated Gustav Horn, a German economist who works for the Hans-Böckler Foundation. This “article”

Is technology to blame?

Many people blame either the changing economy or governments for this development, but maybe technology is to blame.

10 years ago a butcher was able to earn his family’s living. Nowadays a butcher makes about 1200 Euro per month. I think this is a good example of how Labor is losing value.
When referring again to the example of a butcher let us have a look at working conditions then and now:
Then: A butcher needed a good training to learn how to kill and cut the animal. Work was physically very demanding but being a butcher was a respectable job.
Now: The future of this profession is not predictable as there are more and more technologies on the market which substitute and replace fully qualified human labor. There are only some humans needed to operate the machines.

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This leads to the development that most Germans don`t want to work in those fields any longer. I hardly doubt that a German child in elementary school will still say: “When I grow up I want to work as a butcher”. More and more of low-wage work are done by workers from Eastern Europe which is arranged by special . This development concerns most low-wage jobs.

“Robots are stealing your bonuses and salaries”

But not only in low-wage sectors has technology seemed to be a thread for human workers. Kevin Kelly a really drastic picture of how and why robots should replace human labor in the near future. The article also contains an interesting video introducing a new kind of robot which (or who?) is able to work together with human coworkers and can already be trained to carry out repetitive tasks. Moshe Vardi, a computer science professor at Rice University raises the very urgent questions of what humans will do when being replaced by robots and states:

“I do not expect this to happen in the very near future, but I do believe that by 2045 machines will be able to do if not any work that humans can do, then a very significant fraction of the work that humans can do.”

Until so far the future for human labor seems dark. But some also claim:

Stop blaming technology!

For many businesses technologies brings a lot of advantages. Technologies enable automation in many processes. This saves up time and money. ´

After doing research I am not sure of what the future will bring. But humanity has always found a way to adapt to new circumstances very fast. This has made the homo sapiens special. Therefore I am sure we will figure out a way to deal with this development but with no doubt this will give rise to major changes in our society.

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