In response to pressures from capital markets to improve their financial performance in the 1980s and '90s, large corporations whittled down their directly employed staff to those concentrating on "core competencies," freeing them to fire "non-essential" laborers, such as janitors, whom they subsequently brought back as temps at significantly reduced pay—a domestic expression of labor arbitrage. Neoliberals argue that this corporate strategy is a win-win, liberating workers from being tied to one company, which now must compete for their services. But in reality, they are thrust into unregulated forms of employment with irregular hours, low earnings, no route for advancement, muddied relationships with management, and no business enterprise ultimately responsible for their welfare.
Automation, then, will create new jobs, not mass unemployment. But it doesn't necessarily follow that we will want the jobs it creates.
National Jobs for All Network
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