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Saturday, 7 January 2017

Globalization: Trade and Technology (2)

A good friend just sent me a comment on my late 2016 blog Globalization: Trade and Technology. He said it was a little bit "disjointed". I agreed with him. I know that I just scratched the surface in that blog. I am still aiming at a generic rather than an example-based approach.

As mentioned a few days earlier in another blog, Technology is still a basic source of human fears: mechanisation (19th century), automation (20th century), and Artificial Intelligence & robots (21st century). These fears were and will remain valid. The flip side of Fear is Hope.

For centuries, new Technology came with hope for new job opportunities. This hope was often valid. Lower skilled (manufacturing) jobs were replaced by higher skilled and specialised (service) jobs. The time lag between old and new jobs caused unemployment.

Perhaps, the real question is whether the 3rd and "most disruptive phase of globalization" will still bring Hope. I am inclined to say "Yes". Most of all, because I fundamentally believe in Hope. However, it might be a different kind of hope than in previous centuries.

I think, feel and believe that (1) the changing Western demographics, (2) the global surge in immigration and refugees, (3) the global surge in Nationalism, (4) the Western surge in Artificial Intelligent (AI) robots, and (5) the universal wealth imbalances following Globalization, will find a point of convergence.

Hence, I believe in the prediction of Richard Baldwin that this point of convergence "will create great opportunities in many of the countries that have been left behind by earlier globalization, for instance almost all of sub-Saharan Africa and South America." (Quartz)

This convergence will result in ageing and shrinking Western populations, supported by AI robots and operated by foreign/remote operators. The increasing lack of jobs will force Western countries to close their borders and also to adopt a Basic Income, replacing existing unemployment benefits and other types of welfare (eg, experiments in Canada, Finland, India, Netherlands).

Dangerous and often lethal emigration by the Mediterranean Sea (to EU) or through Mid America (to USA) will no longer be necessary when work and income will become available in sub-Saharan Africa (for Europe) and South America (for USA).

The historical and political consequences of a new European mass unemployment remain my main areas of concern. The current Western millennials are likely to become the 1st generation in centuries who will earn less than their parents (eg, CNN, Forbes). 

I still think, feel and believe that Less (money) is More (freedom, time), a quote often attributed to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The aspirations of the alleged lazy narcissistic millennials suggest that they believe this too. Perhaps, there's Hope after all.

Advice for the Young at Heart (1989) by Tears For Fears

Advice for the young at heart
Soon we will be older
When we gonna make it work ?