Advances in technology undermining capitalism


In an interview with Business Insider, Lord Turner said: “We have an economic malaise where the capitalism system is not delivering as well or to enough people to maintain its legitimacy.”

Unlike past technological revolutions that created more and better-paying jobs than they destroyed, this new revolution of digitalization and robotics threatens to create fewer and lower-paying jobs than it is destroying.

Excerpts:

“There’s a certain sort of equality of citizenship that requires that everybody does OK. I think that may breakdown. I think it may breakdown because of the fundamental nature of technology. You have to be aware that the way that capitalism works will vary depending on the different stages of technology that we’re in.”

“…businesses like Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb are focusing huge amounts of wealth in the hands of relatively few people and generating fewer jobs than previous technological breakthroughs. This is undermining the fundamental promise of capitalism that advances in technology and the wider economy will bring some benefit to everyone.”

“Technological innovations, such as industrialisation, have traditionally generated more jobs than they destroyed. But research by Citi and Oxford University earlier this year found a “downward trend in new job creation from the 1980s onwards, with technology generated fewer, lower-skilled jobs than past revolutions.”

“Lord Turner suggested that a solution the tech-driven equality could be a universal basic income — a flat wage paid to all citizens that is enough for them to live on. Experiments with this are being carried out in Holland and Kenya.

Lord Turner says: “The problem is this: I think we probably are on the verge of a wave of automation and robotisation and the application of big data etc., which will tend to create an economy of huge returns for the people clever enough to create the software, do the big of data analytics, create the computer game, create the new business model or the data system that sits at the centre of Airbnb or Uber…”

“…Huge returns for them and, for a variety of reasons, relatively low returns and precarious returns for an increasing percentage of the population.”

For the whole article, go to Business Insider

 

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