Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0 – Trump and our Beloved Jobs …
Yesterday, I received an email from a very beloved and wise friend. The following paragraph contains the gist of the message:
The day before yesterday, Kaeser of Siemens demanded the unconditional income. He is worried about future jobs – our old topic. Since you are a person who likes to think about theories, maybe you would like to question my thesis that Trump, by being a protectionist, is actually unintentionally doing the right thing. Because before the negative influence of protectionism can really have consequences, there will be a massive reduction of jobs through industry 4.0 – and since, by then, the USA will again have more jobs in their own country, there might actually be more jobs available in the end.
I am sure this thesis is not really well-researched, but I can easily imagine that it might happen in this way.
I cannot comment on Trump. I do not know if Trump will be good news or bad news for the USA or even for the entire world. All I know is that most politicians, entrepreneurial leaders, union heads and other socially responsible persons have made a whole lot of mistakes and that now the time has come to pay the price. Because people are fed up and will no longer have patience. Basically, that is also true for me.
I rather like the theory that Trump might be doing the right thing if he is putting some restrictions on globalization. The phrases I outlined in “bold lettering” seem to take the assumption for granted that a future reduction of job opportunities will be a consequence of industry 4.0, which seems a little disturbing to me. I often hear it. Just like I often hear that a huge “service proletariat” will grow in times to come. My opinion is that we already have the latter. Just look at how many people earn their living by “driving cars” or “security”, or similar jobs.
I will also concede that a reduction of job opportunities is quite possible in industry. As soon as we no longer have cars, there will no longer be jobs in the car industry. That sounds logical to me. However, I believe that those jobs will then be substituted by other products to be manufactured. Basically, this is an automation process. As it has always been.
But: The future cannot be predicted!
If you believe you should think about the future, then at least you should not think as one-dimensionally as apparently some of the huge enterprises seem to see it when they now suddenly and surprisingly demand the “unconditional income (BGE)“. Basically, I believe they will now copy Trump as “Mr. Success”. That means they just demand something. Perhaps they have the desire to also be at the receiving end of a beating. Well, why not comply. Trump was beaten for every other thing he said – and perhaps that is exactly what he wanted. … After all, he is a sly fox and wanted to win the elections. Following the motto – the more beatings, the more honour.
Consequently, I can also imagine that, in the future, we will perhaps have a lot more jobs, regardless of “industry 4.0” and “digital transformation” (and I am not sure what terminology and mental experiments are behind those buzzwords). Here are a few examples:
If we want to return to eating food that deserves the name, then it might well be possible that more persons will be needed for farming …
- Forestry The information I have tells me that, even now, more than one million persons work in forestry in the FRG. It is quite possible that forests will become extremely important for our lives in the future …
As I see it, there will be endless opportunities in this sector in the future …
Elderly persons need attention, elderly persons need care. And our average life expectancy continues to grow …
More and more young persons need more and more assistance when it comes to coping with their own lives and finding their place in society …
- Infra structure (old)
Be it Munich underground trains, railway trains, streets or bridges – our infra structure is badly in need of maintenance. And soon there will only be two options left to us: either barricade them or repair them. And basically, we cannot really barricade all of them, can we?
- Infra structure (new)
I read that public transportation is threatening to collapse even in the small “megacity of Munich”. I hear visions of the “smart city” of the future. All these things will not happen by themselves.
- Infra structure (example)
A short time ago, I heard from the “Stadtwerke München” that they think rather intently about “cooling down Munich”. It is assumed that the “Asian Way” of making buildings cold – as many persons will soon demand – cannot be applied in Munich (the reasons are, among others, that it is inefficient). Now they are thinking about remote cooling as the best solution …
As far as I know, even today, the hotel and restaurant sector is the strongest of all in Bavaria as far as turnover and employment are concerned. Those who occasionally spend time in Peking or Mumbai will probably appreciate what climate, scenery, sightseeing venues, security and other attractions we have. He or she will probably enjoy vacationing in our country. This might turn into a lucrative business. However: welcoming people will only be possible through humans and service…
- Demolition (environment 1)
As of now, we still cover enormous amounts of Bavarian soil with concrete every year. However, this process might easily (have to) be reversed.…
- Catastrophe prevention (environment 2)
“We will drown in all this water !“ said astro-physicist Harald Lesch recently about the huge flood catastrophes that seem to happen all over the place. You could read it in todays “Bavaria” sector of the SZ. It is quite possible that, in the future, we will have to tackle not only floods, but also tornadoes, massive periods of dryness and much more. And that means we will need a permanent catastrophe army. …
- Integration of refugees
It is quite possible that what we saw in the last two years is just a small prelude to what will come in the future. If we want to socially integrate all the persons who come to us even rudimentarily without heading towards another catastrophe, we need many, many people. Incidentally, this is also true for the German Leitkultur. Someone has to teach it. …
I am sure that you can come up with many more similar things if only you take the time to think about them.
As you can see, I do not really believe that there might come a situation when most of us will not have anything to do and we will consequently need an unconditional income. On the contrary: I am afraid there will be more than enough work for us just to make sure we will survive. And it will not suffice for us to simply melt down some of our wealth reserves.
Regardless, I consider it quite important to try the unconditional income. But this is not because there is no work left to do. It is because otherwise we probably cannot afford our complex system with things like child-care money, BaFöG, unemployment benefit, basic security (more, social subsidies, Hartz4, subsidized rents, …) . Because we cannot play bureaucracy until we die. Instead, we will have to start hands-on.
But as I said: nobody knows what the future will bring. Just like none of us owns all the truth. And when we are talking the future, this is doubly true.
I just remember that the big “Sechziger” sponsor arrived driving a Maybach he rented at a Munich chauffeur centre for the press conference scheduled given after their coach was made redundant . …