Lifelong Education Policies : The traditional model of education in which young people spend the first quarter or so of their life getting educated and then are done with education is quickly becoming obsolete. Governments, educational establishments and employers will all need to work together to create a new ethos of lifelong learning. This shift could be encouraged by a mix of tax credits, employee incentives, and new online educational technologies to create consumer demand for lifelong learning. Michael Spence, for example, has argued that the education system should be given greater value and to provide access for as many people as possible in order for the U.
He argues that this focus should go hand in hand with tax reform and government investment in infrastructure and technology. The NAS also underscored the importance of establishing training-focused adjustment policies for effective worker transitions in the wake of technological displacement. One barrier to ongoing training through the workplace is that shorter job durations that many employees now experience provides less incentive for employers to pay for ongoing training, since that employer will not get the benefit of that training once the employee has moved on to another job Dau-Schmidt Updated Education Curriculum: In addition to becoming life-long, the content of education must also change to align with a rapidly changing world.
At a time of unprecedented global change, teaching static views of the world focused on facts and information all of which is now readily available online is obsolete. In a world dominated by technology, greater emphasis must be given to science, technology, engineering and mathematics STEM education, as has been well-recognized recently but slow to be implemented. More importantly, the type of adaptive and forecasting skills that will be essential in a time of rapid change must be taught, including study of the possibilities and probabilities of human change, awareness of fluctuations and alternatives, a menu of skills for emerging jobs and coping skills, flexibility, and adaptability to change.
As Abdul Raheem Yusuf has suggested, the era of rapid technological change necessitates that humans of the future be educated thinkers who are problem solvers, leaving the mundane tasks to technology Yusuf, Similarly, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane predict that,. The major consequence of computerization will not be mass unemployment but a continued decline in the demand for moderately-skilled and less-skilled labor. Levy and Murnane further maintain that while better education is not a perfect tool it is the best one we have to prepare workers for the unpredictable and ever-changing employment market.
Jobs requiring expert thinking and complex communication, on the other hand, require a robust educational foundation and are, thus, not easily replaced with automation. To remain successful in the future job market, Levy recommends that workers must stay abreast of job market trends and hone skills that complement technology rather than skills that may be eliminated by same Levy One track to try might be greater emphasis on the type of trade school model used more in the United Kingdom and some other European nations, where some students may opt for a more practical and skills-oriented training rather than attending traditional college.
While studies consistently show that young people with a university degree do much better than those without in terms of finding quality jobs Berger and Fisher ; Pielke , a growing number of university graduates are not finding worthy jobs, despite having gone deeply into debt to pay for their college education, and may have fared better with a more focused skills-based or trade school education Silva For example, a recent poll conducted by Accenture found that forty-one percent of recent college graduates say they are underemployed and sixty-three percent say they will need more training in order to get their desired job Accenture The advent of online education and massive open online courses MOOCs is another opportunity for experimentation.
Different models of funding education, including private enterprise training and block grants to states, can also be tried. In all these various experiments in educational innovation, careful metrics should be kept to evaluate the success and strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches.
Mental Upgrading : Brynjolfssonand McAfee consider ways to directly upgrade the human brain using brain-computer interfaces thereby allowing us to better keep pace with technological change. Unemployment here is viewed as the result of people not being able to keep pace with technology. An enhanced existence may therefore help to eliminate unemployment as our altered state of mind would be better prepared for anything the future throws our way. Relatedly, our superior cognitive capabilities might induce us to either reject a market economy or, alternatively, spark new industries to keep employment vibrant.
Health Care Not Tied to Job: In the new culture of the future, flexibility will be paramount to allow individual workers to adapt to new technologies, industries and opportunities.
Author Annie Lowrey explains how a policy could transform the way you think of work.
Moreover, the concept of having a single job is increasingly outmoded for many people, who by choice or necessity cobble together their own portfolio of contractual tasks, part-time jobs, short-term jobs, freelance jobs, commissioned projects, entrepreneurial initiatives, and other income-earning opportunities to make their livelihood. This pattern will become more and more common going forward.
The regulatory and social benefit approaches to employment must adjust to this changing model Dau-Schmidt Most people now have their health care tied to a specific employer, which constrains the employment flexibility and adaptation that will be needed for the future. New models of health care will be needed for the future whereby health insurance is not tied to a single employer.
Health care exchanges, such as those that are being established under the Affordable Care Act in the United States, health care coops, or universal health care are models that will better fit the changing workplace of the future. This model may be facing collapse if technological unemployment results in a significant proportion, perhaps even a majority, of the population eventually unable to support themselves because of the shrinking employment opportunities. A new social order will be needed to both provide basic essentials for such people to live a good life, as well as to live of life of dignity, respect and accomplishment.
As discussed above, simply giving handouts to affected persons undercuts their respect to both themselves and the members of their community. Healthy, happy living requires the sense that one is making a contribution to something meaningful. But that has never been the case for everyone, as some find meaning and respect outside of the employment context, whether it is as a caregiver for children or elder relatives, a volunteer for a charitable organization, an advocate for a cause, or as a serious hobbyist.
Unemployment and Earnings Losses: The Long-Term Impacts of The Great Recession on American Workers
The problem of technological unemployment means that more people will need to find their meaning or value in life outside of the employment relationship, and there will be a need to incentivize and reward such activities when they are socially valuable in a way that can allow those people to obtain the amenities shelter, food, clothing, health care, etc necessary to live a full and satisfactory life.
In the long term this may mean moving beyond the existing economic model where dollars earned are used to recognize and reward effort, to a broader and more flexible metric to recognize and reward social value. Perhaps some type of online social contribution index will eventually need to be created, whereby individuals score points for traditional work, volunteer efforts, caregiving activities, creative inventions, good deeds, and other socially valuable contributions.
The era of Big Data and the massive amount of information collected daily on each person would be used to generate the rankings needed to administer such a system. While such a post-economic schememay seem far-fetched and infeasible at this time, such social engineering to restructure our social expectations and reward systems may be needed over the long-term to address both the economic and social dimensions of the technology unemployment problem.
Although such systems go beyond our current market system, the fact is that the market system is dependent on customers, and if large numbers of consumers perhaps even a majority are without any means to purchase goods and services, the market economy cannot succeed. Change always brings with it risk and opportunity. The real possibility of widespread and chronic technological unemployment could result in unacceptable individual and societal instability and adversity. But those same technologies also have the potential to enrich our lives and to free us from the drudgery and danger of manual, boring labor and to enjoy a higher quality of life.
To make this happen, our laws, policies, assumptions and social contract must evolve as quickly as our technologies will. There is thus an urgent need to identify, evaluate and implement policies that can help manage and smooth our transition into the new technological era Perry Shorter-term policies need to focus on preserving and creating as many jobs as possible to counter and delay as much as possible the trend towards technological unemployment, and then to use redistribution and government support to ensure that individuals who are replaced from their existing or future jobs by technology have the material means to live a decent life and the incentive to improve themselves and live with dignity and respect.
Over the longer term, more radical social engineering policies will be needed, moving eventually to a new social contract that recognizes and rewards people for their contributions to society within and outside the employment context.
Blueprint for the 21st Century - Center for American Progress
We hope to contribute to the effort to ensure an appropriate policy response by inventorying an initial list of potential policy initiatives to address the emerging technological unemployment problem. We plan to post this list online and update it on a regular basis, and welcome suggestions from readers for additional ideas of policy interventions that we can add with appropriate attribution to our evolving list.
The more ideas and proposals are available for policymakers to choose from, the more successful and effective their policy experimentation is likely to be. American Psychological Association. Autor, D. Baker, D. Berger, N. Bessen, J. Blinder, A. Brewer, J. Brynjolfsson, E. Race Against the Machine. Dau-Schmidt, K. Deane, G. Ebdrup, N. Florida, R. Frey, C. Ford, M. The Lights in the Tunnel. Lexington, KY: Acculant Publishing.
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