2018/10/03: sellers gain exposure to an enormous audience and higher sales. But they lose some of their ability to maintain their profit margins, putting downward pressure on wages and driving less-efficient companies out of business entirely.
In terms of the economics, which is concerned more with aggregate welfare than equity or fairness to certain individuals, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But it causes pain for those on the the losing end — especially brick-and-mortar businesses that can't compete with Amazon's fast online deliveries, hard-to-beat prices and near-infinite variety. And having created a portal through which so much commerce must flow, Amazon enriches itself by charging a toll along the way.
That's the Amazon Effect.
In a way, Amazon is doing the same thing in its search for a location for its new headquarters. It's treating prospective host cities as if they were sellers on Amazon, drawing them into a bidding war. Those cities are offering up tax breaks and subsidies, even if doing so jeopardizes their future tax revenue and drives up the price of housing for everyone else.
Amazon, and e-commerce more generally, is also disrupting the labor market. Brick and mortar retail jobs are quickly falling behind employment growth for the rest of the economy. It's not yet clear whether all the warehouse pickers and delivery drivers Amazon is hiring to support its ever growing shipping commitments will totally close that gap — especially as Amazon perfects fulfillment center robots and delivery drones in order to reduce its personnel needs in the future.
Although Amazon this week announced a new $15 minimum wage for all its employees, some research suggests that consolidating jobs under fewer large employers tends to reduce wages, not raise them.
2018/10/01: hopelessness can undercut individual potential and collective possibility. And nowhere does it loom larger than in the so-called fourth industrial revolution, which threatens to rob many people of their livelihoods, their dignity, their security, and their ambitions.
Too often, discussions about the future of work center on technology rather than on the people who will be affected by it. And they rarely acknowledge how the concentration of political and economic power shapes the way technology is developed and deployed. Instead, the entire discourse is led by champions of technology—management consultants, engineers, venture capitalists, and scientists—and tinged with inevitability, rather than being the product of thoughtful human decision-making, the consequences of which will affect countless lives.
At the same time, it is clear that technology is not the only force or factor threatening the dignity and quality of work, or the security of workers.
Meanwhile, campaign finance laws expand the influence and voice of corporations and the wealthy, while labor is more productive and therefore profitable than ever—in part because of technology—but workers don’t feel they are getting their fair share of the rewards.
2018/09/27: If automation truly relieves humans of repetitive and unpleasant work, we can expect a growth in "quality of life" occupations: wellness centers, adult education, travel, the arts, and so on. Some of these occupations are revenue-generating and can support themselves, but a lot of them—particularly education, health care, and the arts—require subsidization. Governments and companies may invest directly, as they do with primary and secondary education and with health care, or the investment may come through complex channels like donations to universities and arts centers. But however investment happens, the non-profit sector requires it. This is not addressed by the WEF.
Two factors make these issues particularly relevant to the future of work. First, the automated economy requires education and mental health services: education for the technical skills workers will need, and mental health to prepare them for delicate interactions with other people.
Can society reap the benefits of automation? It will require more than an appeal to management to do a modest amount of reskilling. Advocates must reach out and present automation as a vision that’s more appealing to the general public than hanging on to old jobs and ways of relating. Touting the technical benefits of automation will not be enough to overcome fears, nor will it produce the kind of automation that goes beyond replacing workers. A change of such historic social impact must be presented as a social movement—and a non-partisan one. When ordinary people demand a new relation to technology, education, and the workplace, they may be able to redeem from the cocktail of analytics, devices, and big data a life of meaning and productive contributions.
much of the informal economy consists of enterprises that create value and help under-served populations through innovative activities that the formal sector doesn't think of doing. But informal companies tend to be in geographic and economic areas that can't take advantage of the advanced analytics and robotics diffusing through the formal sector. If the formal sector becomes radically more efficient, it may put the informal sector out of business, and the urgency of reskilling will be even greater.
Can companies make the shift?
I've talked a lot about the barriers to reskilling, whose importance lay at the center of the WEF report. In their industry profiles section they note a great deal of worry about finding skilled personnel. But there's another looming problem: an enormous number of industries have trouble making the digital shift because they admit they don't understand the opportunities.
2018/06/27: We are witnessing a massive transition in Value Creation from the means of production to the means of Market Production and Curation.
Take for example Uber – here the taxi driver is a bare transitionary commodity and interchangeable. The real value creation instrument is Uber which creates, curates the market – this process now extends from Retail – Amazon – to Manufacturing, AliBaba. This reality signals a great transfer of value creation from the relatively distributed means of production to the massively globally centralised & privatised means of market making & marker curation. The implications of this are massive for inequality and scaling of precarious citizenship.
what is being disrupted is not the plumber or craftsmen but the middle classes – the management, administrative and intermediary skills.
Our Governance model is broken, we live in a ‘systemocracy’ – a world of massive inter-dependency yet we are holding on to 19th century versions of governance. This creates the illusion of sovereignty & supremacy – acting as a denial of the complexity we must confront.
la sfida non è solo commerciale:"L’ambizione è che i nostri punti vendita diventino luoghi di vita, luoghi dove le persone s’incontrano, si parlano, sul modello di un mercato rionale; perché i supermercati – per cercare di investire sulla qualità del prodotto – hanno perso un po’ del loro aspetto di convivialità"
se non si cambiano le leggi la macchina resta eguale a sé stessa, autoreferenziale e inutilmente punitiva nei confronti dei cittadini e di quei politici – anche locali – che vogliono veramente cambiare l’Italia
2017/04/24: Economists are very worried about the decline in labor’s share of U.S. national income. One reason they’re concerned is because when less of an economy’s wealth flows to workers, it exacerbates inequality and increases the risk of social instability. But another reason is that this trend throws a wrench in economists’ models. For decades, macroeconomic models assumed that labor and capital took home roughly constant portions of output -- labor got just a bit less than two-thirds of the pie, capital slightly more than one-third. Nowadays it’s more like 60-40.
There are four main theories, each of which falls apart under scrutiny.
Arthur Miller's classic 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Death of a Salesman opens with musical direction: "A melody is heard, played upon a flute. It is small and fine, telling of grass and trees and the horizon. The curtain rises." The play follows Willy Loman, past 60, as his grasp on life crumbles amid job troubles. When, at the end of Act II, he reaches his beaten-down end, the melody soars again, this time a requiem. "Only the music of the flute," writes Miller, "is left on the darkening stage ." I heard this flute's dirge throughout last summer and fall, as I made the rounds talking with downsized journalists-men and women who had gotten hooked on the profession as young, ink-stained idealists, only to find themselves cast out in mid- or later life. These veterans spoke of forced buyouts and failed job searches-of lost purpose, lost confidence, even lost homes. I had known of the decimation of my profession: I'd read the statistics, seen the news articles, watched old friends pushed from jobs as bureau chiefs, editors, senior reporters, into the free fall of freelance. But the texture of their Lomanesque despair surprised me. There were some grim moments. Continue reading
People talk about the future of work and how they feel about it
In the mass economy, each job used to be a bundle. With that job came money, health care, a pension, provable solvency to purchase a house and a car, the promise of stability and constant enrichment
The publication by the RSA of this carefully researched and argued case for a Basic Income in the UK is an important moment in a growing debate. The RSA is an independent and respected organisation
The RSA is a charity which encourages the release of human potential to address the challenges that society faces. Join us to help shape the future.
We need an economy that finally cements the most fundamental freedom: to decide how we live our lives. One simple policy can deliver that.
A WAVE of automation anxiety has hit the West. Just try typing "Will machines " into Google. An algorithm offers to complete the sentence with differing degrees of disquiet: "...take my job?"; "...take all jobs?"; "...replace humans?"; "...take over the world?" Job-grabbing robots are no longer science fiction.
Last Friday I was invited by Uber to participate in a day-long seminar on platforms and the future of work at their London headquarters.
More than 1 million jobs will be lost to AI by 2030, according to one estimate. But new jobs are also being created. Are banks and their employees ready?
Copying and pasting emails. Inventing meaningless tasks for others. Just looking busy. Why do so many people feel their work is completely unnecessary?
Flaminio de Castelmur per @SpazioEconomia Cosa unisce la musica jazz con il lavoro nella new economy? Poco, tranne il termine gig che fin dall'inizio del '900 rappresentava l'ingaggio di una serata (abbreviando forse il termine engagement). Saltuario come tutti gli ingaggi degli artisti nella musica. Utilizzò il termine anche Hillary Clinton durante la Campagna Elettorale del