Outsourcing, the end of work and United Auto Workers

CNN is reporting on negotiations that are or will take place soon between the big 3 USA auto makers and the united auto workers union. of course the automakers are attempting to slash wages more and the union is trying to keep jobs here in the US.

i am really interested in the current global situation as it pertains to work. several years ago I read a great book called the end of work by jeremy rifkin (you can read a little about him here). to brutally sum up, he says that the absolute number of jobs available to people has been shrinking steadily over the past several decades (and perhaps since the beginning of man and production). this phenomenon means that while our population grows and we gain the capability of supporting larger populations, we are simultaneously reducing the amount of work hours.

couple this trend with outsourcing and you see the problems US labor unions face. historically, unions have been around to help defend the worker and secure for him/her better working conditions, wages, and benefits, but the focus now should be on just keeping jobs here in North America. to do anything else will only push more jobs overseas. unions need to become better partners with management to improve productivity and efficiency, or suffer the fate of the dodo because there will not be any workers left to defend.

on a larger scale i have been thinking about the impact of the shrinking workforce on the whole global economy. i find it interesting that as we spread our version of free market capitalism around the planet that we are also venturing further down this trend of labor-force downsizing. So, as some jobs are phased out of the economic picture, others are being being shipped overseas in search of cheap labor.

I will explore this more later, gotta get back to work…

One Response to “Outsourcing, the end of work and United Auto Workers”

  1. J-Ro Says:

    This is an interesting idea. I have to say, without reading the book or really knowing more about the theory, it is really hard for me to believe we will ever have absolutely nothing for people to do, or even that mass employment is something the human race can grow out of. It seems to me that humans are just to inventive to ever make themselves obsolete like this. But, as I mentioned, I haven’t read the book. Maybe I’ll have to, because the idea sure is chilling.

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