Opinion: Who will celebrate Labor Day in 2034?

Leo Canty and James Hughes
Leo Canty and James Hughes

Leo Canty is a retired labor and political activist. James Hughes Ph.D is the Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and a bioethicist and sociologist at Trinity College in Hartford.

For more than 100 years workers and their unions have designated a day to parade and celebrate labor, working people, the jobs they do and advances they have made. Over that time, the nature of that work has transformed dramatically from farms and factories to offices and cubicles.

Those changes were hard on many as they fell by the wayside in the struggle to keep up with the need to improve skills and fit into the next level. But as hard as it was for some, the transition we will all soon face will be much faster and wilder and more difficult to keep up with than most will ever imagine.

With every previous change in work, in all of the revolutions, some jobs were destroyed but others were created. Humans always got a step ahead of the complexity and remained smarter than the labor-saving devices they created. By doing so, they kept the jobs to run them. The reward of that progress was a steady improvement of the standard of living for those who kept up.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.



One response to “Opinion: Who will celebrate Labor Day in 2034?”

  1. John Hamlin

    The authors essentially advocate for the government to employ everyone: “Governments can employ people to do the things that robots still can’t, like teach and take care of folks. Some nations are already experimenting with giving every citizen a stipend.” This is a recipe for economic stagnation. If no one is working and paying taxes, who will support all of these government non-workers? If citizens are educated, they will be in a better position to make themselves employable. But the problem that these two academics are talking about — advances in mechanization and technology — is already here. And their solution to have the government employ more people than necessary to run the government — at higher than market rates — and everyone else getting welfare — is a sure way to have economic mess. Look at Connecticut, with it’s public employee culture, ranking at the bottom of the states for economic health. They are basically throwing in the towel and admitting that they have no solution for what ails us.

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