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Comment Re: Ontario, largest subnational debtor on the pla (Score 1) 501

There were industrial jobs awaiting those who had been displaced from farms. Right now, it looks as though there is no new business sector providing employment....that's the difference. IT isn't it - we all know people who are displaced workers who would be downright scary in IT work.
So what do we do with those workers?

Comment Re: Ontario, largest subnational debtor on the pla (Score 2) 501

What do we do with people when there's no work for them?

Not going to be a rhetorical question for much longer. Driving, for example, is the single largest job category in North America....what happens when autonomous vehicles take over? Not going to be a market for that skill. Do we let those people starve? Think about it....lots of economic displacement is on the way.

Comment It's not just banking (Score 1) 300

A lot of public safety and gov't code is written in COBOL, too.
When MicroFocus came out with their Object Cobol like 15+ years ago, I remember watching the change sink in.
Some of the orgs we worked for slowly rewrote their code and broke it up into chunks which made rewriting it in C/C++/etc easier.
But there's still lots of it out there.

Comment Re:Capitalism is killing everyone and everything (Score 2) 110

Marketable skills are a good thing, certainly, but the argument you're making fails to account for the increasing capabilities of automation.
The ability to automate a job derives from the degree to which it is possible to map out job tasks in a clear pattern.....
In a Slashdot-friendly area, consider devops - it used to take a lot more *nix engineers to manage large installations than it does now. A few devops engineers now can manage tens or hundreds of thousands of servers using mcollective, puppet, chef, ansible, salt, et cetera. So that reduces demand for traditional SA except in corner-cases where a particular configuration needs to be debugged at a level deeper than the DevOps staff can do. Those are marketable skills which are being undermined by automation.....and they are not low-skill jobs.

We know that low-skill jobs are going to be automated - truck driving, package handling, much fast-food restaurant work, assembly work, et cetera. This is going to accelerate the reduction in demand for the average low-skill worker well beyond the labor-arbitrage-based outsourcing that they've suffered to date. The jobs will not be going elsewhere; they'll just go away. This is the logical end result of business - they want their labor expenses to be zero, or as close to zero as possible (hence the continued presence of slavery throughout the world, including the US), and if there's a way to replace a labor expense with a capital expense - a robot or automation system - business will automatically do that. Why? Because they're incentivized to - capital assets do cost money, but they depreciate and provide tax advantages and generally don't involve litigation, unless the business runs into a dispute with a vendor, which is way less risky than any labor-related litigation.

The net end goal is the reduction of jobs to as few as possible to enable the maximization of profit for business entities. This will tend to concentrate the wealth among the owners and the relatively few workers whose jobs can not be automated, which will be a fairly small subset of the population. The rest will be left to fend for themselves in an economic system where a lack of long-term employment is equivalent to extreme privation, loss of material goods, housing, access to capital, access to health care, et cetera.

There's already a lot of evidence to show what happens when the jobs go - look at the formerly industrial northeast and midwest, where plant closings have plunged communities into abject poverty overnight, killing property values, driving up foreclosures, despair, and poor behavioral choices - not least of which is blaming undocumented immigrants rather than the executives who made the decision to engage in labor arbitrage.

TL;DR: If your job can be automated, no amount of marketable skills will remain marketable. And that includes you, most SAs, unless you're lucky enough to get a senior devops position. So maybe we should consider a strong social safety net to deal with the inevitable fallout from automation rather than suffering through the chaos that it will cause....

Comment Re:30 hour workweek experiment (Score 1) 153

Yeah, the cost to employ more staff to distribute the load is higher. It's improved worker lives, but it's too expensive for the business owners, so it'll get scrapped.

It took a long time for the 8-hour baseline to become a norm. It'll take longer for it to get to 6 hours or less, and will only happen when people vote for politicians who put constituent well-being above corporate earnings reports.....

Comment Re:30 hour workweek experiment (Score 1) 153

Honestly, shorter work hours offers the possibility to have more people working productively, which reduces poverty and overall improves the strength of the economy. But that costs more (or rather, costs employers more), so they don't do it, even though a larger pool of workers means better cross-training and coverage. The reduction in work-related stress from more users in the workplace with a lower expected per-worker productivity also helps with job and life satisfaction. Instead, we allow government to absorb and pay the cost of people who businesses won't hire (for reasons ranging from qualifications to outright bias), which the society as a whole bears, and which drags down both the economy and overall faith in the society.

We live in a society and an economy in which intelligence needs to matter. Doesn't matter whether you're a programmer or an attorney or a bricklayer or other tradesperson.....we need all the brains we can get, irrespective of the morphology surrounding them. To prosper in the coming economy, we need people who are smart, creative, functional, and who 'get' meritocracy. Any ideology that shuts out people as irretrievably other is wasting talent......

If we could leverage all of our people - and there are a lot of smart people who have to surmount really high odds to succeed - we'd do a lot better as a society. Part of helping them succeed is to create labor policies which incentivize having more people do fewer hours and developing greater expertise through training and time to relax and economic security.

But that won't happen until the people elect people committed to the good of the greater population, not corporate entities.

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