“It’s a good bet that the field of robotics is poised to … ultimately produce robots geared toward nearly every conceivable commercial, industrial, and consumer task.”
The Rise of Robots…Martin Ford
The Living Wage Project did not envision the outrage found during research of wages paid in America. Unfortunately, this outrage is undoubtedly a worldwide phenomenon. We feel that it is morally reprehensible that an employer will pay a wage that does not permit their employee to sustain the benefits necessary for shelter, food, transportation, clothing, healthcare and education. In fact, our research has found that in some cases companies that pay these wages refer their employees to government-sponsored food stamp programs and other welfare. All, to benefit the corporate bottom line.
Of course, we cannot agree with this concept; that the bottom line does not include the welfare of the employee. That is why, for the most part, we have been diverted from our primary mission – to elucidate and guide the worker toward their living wage.
Unfortunately, the greed that our research has exposed is the very subject that frames the argument concerning a living wage. The employee is not without fault when they find themselves working for less than a living wage. In the final analysis, the employer could not perpetrate the outrage without the employee’s participation. I would suggest that any employee that finds themselves in the situation should start looking for new employment or mobilize to facilitate change as soon as possible.
The Age of Robots
A more pressing concern for workers around the world is the effect of their displacement by robots. This is especially true in countries with very large populations such as China and India, but certainly adversely affects the American worker. When expanding this to its logical conclusion questions arise, such as, what will those presently employed and displaced by robots do for a living wage? Answers to such questions stretch the imagination so that we must brainstorm beyond our paradigm. This is not something easily engaged by government decision-makers and social workers swamped by existing concerns. When viewed in this light the employment structure based on greed takes on greater significance.
Without question, the corporate giants are aware of the bearing of Robots in the workplace. The educational institutions are mostly mute on this matter. Whether this is because they would not want to discourage financial contributions from the corporations, or because, they are genuinely not interested in the welfare of the American worker remains to be determined. Clearly, this is a primary social – economic concern only outpaced by solutions to climate change.
Working with Robots
We will continue this dialogue in future posts. We invite you to join the conversation. Do you know of a possible answer to this pressing concern?