THE REAL DANGER FOR LOW WAGE WORKERS (MINIMUM WAGE DEBATE)

THE REAL DANGER FOR LOW WAGE WORKERS (MINIMUM WAGE DEBATE)

A World Economic Forum report has forecast that machines will do half of all work tasks by 2025.

The WEF has said a ‘robot revolution’ will create 97 million jobs worldwide, but will destroy just as many.

Many of the jobs created cannot be filled by those whose jobs are destroyed.

Routine and manual jobs are most at threat of automation.

The new jobs will instead depend on human skills such as creativity, decision-making, human communication and interaction.

There will also be a surge in demand of fourth industrial revolution jobs in tech – software engineering, cloud computing, artificial intelligence.

People fixated on minimum wage are stuck with a problem of the third industrial revolution – looking at a 19th century problem in the 21st century.

Minimum wage will not solve these problems.

In fact, they will accelerate these problems as they will push companies to automate.

Take cleaners and security guards in Singapore.

During the circuit breaker, my cleaner couldn’t come, and I bought a Roomba vacuuming robot. This is a robot developed by MIT and can map my home, avoid objects, remember floor plans, vacuum on schedule, and then automatically dispose of the waste.

There are much more sophisticated cleaning robots out there.

Security guards are becoming increasingly unnecessary with technology.

What do security guards do mostly? Take down particulars of visitors. This can be done by facial scanning, facial recognition, scanning of bar codes. Drones and cameras can take over patrol. Security guards in Singapore especially are not expected to fight-off intruders – they call the police. A computer can call the police.

If the Workers’ Party and other minimum wage advocates really care about workers, they will be urgently reviewing how to re-skill workers.

Not minimum wage.

In fact minimum wage will accelerate the displacement of these low wage workers in routine tasks.

All the studies they have quoted are old studies, that do not take into account the accelerated use of tech.

If the Workers’ party and other activists really care, critique the SkillsFuture programme. It doesn’t go far enough.

Our re-skilling and re-training of workers is too slow.

We need to invest more money and time on an urgent and permanent problem.

Not on simplistic 19th century solutions that sound good.

Please share. Important to read.

  • Calvin Cheng
%d bloggers like this: