"Will we work in twenty-first century capitalism? A critique of the fourth industrial revolution literature"
by Morgan, Jamie (2019)
The fourth industrial revolution has become a prominent concept and imminent technological change a major issue. Facets are everyone?s concern but currently no one?s ultimate responsibility (perhaps a little like financial stability before the global financial crisis). In this paper, we argue that the future is being shaped now by the way the fourth industrial revolution is being positioned. Whilst no one has set out to argue for or defend technological determinism, anxiety combined with passivity and complacency are being produced in the context of a quasi-determinism. The contingent quantification of the future with regard to the potential for job displacement provides an influential source of authority for this position. A background narrative of ?the future is coming, so you better get used to it? is being disseminated. This favours a capitalism that may ?deny work to the many? perspective rather than a more fundamental rethink that encompasses change that may liberate the many from work. This, in turn, positions workers and responsibility for future employment, reducing the urgency of calls for wider societal preparation. Public understanding and policy are thus affected and along with them the future of work.
Whilst a sense that technology can liberate the worker from work may now be on the agenda of left accelerationists at such venues as Labour Party fringe conference events (e.g. The World Transformed), the main policy focus remains 390 Economy and Society dominated by a more business oriented and conventional set of capitalist concerns with the growth and profitability of the firm. From this perspective, the concerns of workers, the sociology of work and the broader issues of technology in society, are peripheral or additional. (p.390)
KeywordsPost-Work, The Future Of Work, Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industrial Revolution, Automation, Technology, The Future Of Work, Production, Post-Work
ThemesTechnology, Employment, Fourth Industrial Revolution, Automation
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