The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin
What I wrote on the Canadian unemployment rate website:
“Mark is correct. Unemployment rates are only based on people who are on unemployment
insurance. Only about 50% of unemployed workers today are eligible for unemployment
insurance in Canada and that rate is decreasing with higher requirements set by the
government. To prove that you are looking for work, people are generally required to go to
unemployment offices to prove that they had gone to interviews with companies by providing
contact information with their human resource departments. Alfred, it would be very difficult to
measure the number of people who are not employed. For example, there are students,
homeless, and rich people who do not need jobs or cannot find jobs who are not counted as
unemployed.if anyone would like more information about unemployment, a good book to read
would be "the end of work" by Jeremy Rifkin which can find that a local library. in this book
Rifkin argues that as technology progresses and replaces laborers in both blue-collar and whitecollar
workforces unemployment will follow. for example, today manufacturing jobs even in
China are being replaced by machines; bank tellers are being replaced by ATMs; data entry jobs
are being replaced by programs; and especially middle-management jobs are being replaced
by corporate restructuring. A solution tested by unions and even used in France today was to
lower the workweek to 35 - 30 hours a week, this was so that more people can be employed
and money could circulate more freely to keep up with the increase in productivity from
machines. It\'s better to employ two people four hours a day then one person eight hours a day
so that governments will not have to pay as much in unemployment insurance. This also makes
companies happy because then they could schedule work around peak hours, more efficiently
which is a highly valued strategy to stay competitive in a globalized economy today.”
Global unemployment has become a serious issue. US statistics in chronological order: 1994,
6.6%; 2000, 4%; 2003, 6%. European Union: average of 7.9%. Global statistics: 1995, 800
million; 2001, over 1 billion. US prison population: 1980, half a million; 2000, 2 million – – equal
to 1.8% of the adult male workforces in prison.
Permanent Job Loss Recovery.
There has been a significant amount of job cuts and job losses. Economists have been
recommending that the unemployed increase their skills for more sophisticated high-tech jobs of
the future, however, 44% of the long-term unemployed in 2002 were educated beyond high
school. And statistics have shown that within 2003, there\'s been an increase in the US GDP in
all sectors. However, the unemployment continues to remain high.
Productivity Conundrum.
"Some critics blame the increase in unemployment on cheap labor and cheaper imports from
abroad, and rail against American companies for relocating production and services South of
the border and overseas. Well, there is been some truth to the claim, the deeper cause of the
spreading unemployment in America and around the world lies with dramatic boost in
productivity." (xvii)
As technology progresses, companies can now produce more with less workers every year
thousands of manufacturing jobs are being replaced by advances in productivity, in the form of
cheaper, more efficient technologies and better methods for organizing work. This is not limited
to blue-collar jobs but also white-collar jobs, which are now being replaced by intelligent
technologies such as voice recognition technologies used by telecom companies and automatic
transaction machines by banks. The global economy now is being supported by a massive
consumer debt because people are taking loans without jobs. Traditionally, politics would protect
workers by increasing wages and benefit requirements from companies. Workers would strike
with their unions, however, globalization has allowed management to move capital and plants
elsewhere creating a race to the bottom.
"The result is that the productivity gains, rather than being shared with the workers in the form of
increased wages and benefits, mainly accrue to the benefit of shareholders in the form of
increased dividends as well as bloated salaries for senior management. Of course, in the end,
the whole system suffers when the paychecks of working people shrink or disappear altogether."
"some economists put forth the argument that even though workers\' wages and benefits are
shrinking, increases in productivity are making goods and services cheaper and, therefore,
allowing working people to buy more with less income. If that were the case, working people
would not be going deeper and deeper into debt to