Phil Jones . Work without the Worker. Labour in the Age of Platform Capitalism (Verso 2021) This readable and informative book explores the abusive nature of crowd-working platforms such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and its emulators. Here under the banner of 'technological progress', extreme forms of exploitation have developed and a new generation of ‘micro-workers’ has emerged. Forced … Continue reading Review: The Automation debate
Like almost all of his efforts to shore up support amongst his own supporters, Boris Johnson’s ‘Skills, Skills, Skills’ speech at the Tory Party Conference was little more than rhetoric. Even if unemployment continues to fall, there isn’t a jobs boom and there’s not the slightest chance that the UK will become the high skilled, … Continue reading ‘Skills, Skills, Skills?’
This month’s labour market date from ONS shows that if official unemployment has remained at around 5% since the last quarter, the number of people on payroll has plunged by 693,000 since the start of the pandemic, with younger workers under the age of 25 accounting for 60% of the jobs lost since February 2020. … Continue reading The furloughed economy
What should we make of Anneliese Dodd’s first big speech, last week, on Labour’s economic policies? The Financial Times (Jan 13th) considered it part of the process of making Labour more ‘responsible’, while parts of the Corbynista press have framed it as yet another example of the Party’s ‘move to the right’. They cite Dodd’s … Continue reading Labour and the economy.
As this nifty little chart, courtesy of the FT shows, despite denials, the government has been doing what it said it would never do. The huge increase in borrowing needed to support the economy during the Covid crisis, largely equates with the amount of public debt bought back by the ‘independent’ Bank of England. Whereas … Continue reading Shaking the magic money tree
An increasing amount of literature predicts a Jobless Future, because of automation and AI - with the Bank of England recently estimating that 40% of current jobs – including some considered to be ‘professional’ could be lost in the next few decades, a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or a Second Machine Age. Yet … Continue reading The covid crisis will lead to increased automation
According to the Chancellor and the OBR, the UK is facing an economic contraction of 11.3 per cent this year, the largest fall in output for 300 years - representing an ‘economic emergency’. The OBR is forecasting a surge in unemployment to 7.5 per cent in the second quarter of next year when Covid job … Continue reading Spending Review: how should Labour respond?
Writing about industrial capitalism over 150 years ago, Marx thought that the replacement of workers by machines would be a consequence of increased competition and the push to restore the rate of profit. This would lead to mass unemployment and increased poverty and misery amongst the proletariat. Yet at least, until now, falls in the … Continue reading Covid and the furlough – new types of green jobs, backed by automation is the way forward.
After spending billions on the Job Support Scheme, Rishi Sunak has now signalled his intention to ‘balance the books’ and reign in government spending, even if the Chancellor was quick to qualify this as being a ‘medium term’ objective – thus hoping to stave off some fears about an imminent return to ‘austerity’. All this … Continue reading Training without jobs
* https://education-economy-society.com/2020/04/02/theres-no-place-like-home-working-practices-after-the-crisis/ As lockdown has eased. more people have been encouraged to go back to their offices, yet a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) indicates that between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of employees will still be working from home on any one day in 2021. Other surveys … Continue reading Home or away? Working practices during and after the crisis *