People in the U.S.often complain that the loss of jobs to countries like Mexico, India and China are ruining the economy. Unemployed people from manufacturing sectors can’t find jobs, and the easy culprit to blame are those countries taking a few of the jobs.
Here’s the truth – it’s not outsourcing and offshoring. It’s automation.
Back in the day, the industrial revolution created change in work that increased productivity per capita that put more people to work and created more wealth than the world had ever seen. That change in the world was the biggest change in work until the age of the PC and information technology. Today we have similar strides in how we work and how productive we can be per capita. The fact is that machine can mimic every movement a person can perform. Walk through a semiconductor facility and the incredible precision and speed that chips are fabricated is breathtaking. Machine can even mimic some of our thinking. Ever use TurboTax or TaxCut software? You just automated an accountant somewhere. The word processor was responsible for the demise of the secretary, but it also created a market for administrative assistants.
Administrative assistants? What automation can’t do is think creatively and react to unplanned events. Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook can manage the calendar. The word processor will spell check our documents. But the admin assistant who cleans up your Powerpoint presentation and actually makes it a presentation is not someone you can automate… yet.
The fact remains that “IT standardisation and automation – not offshore outsourcing – are more likely to be responsible for rendering many jobs and roles redundant.” ((BusinessWeek Online. March 6, 2006. “IT Job Losses: Don’t Blame Outsourcing.” Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/mar2006/gb20060306_037597.htm?campaign_id=search on November 11, 2006.))