Robots will they kill the middle class?
Robots are everywhere : at supermarket checkouts, in warehouses, or in hospitals. They take over duties that were previously reserved for humans. Some men choose to learn to live with this idea and others oppose it.
According to a survey conducted in France by Roland Berger, robots will replace more than 3 million employees by 2025 and 11 million Jobs in the UK by 2034. All economic sectors would loose jobs except for Education, Health and Culture. Thus the unemployment rate in gross losses would amount to 18%.
According to the researcher, Hakim El Karoui: “The robot will hit the upper middle class that is to say, certain intellectual professions which we will be able to automate certain tasks such as those of accountants, lawyers and journalists. The machine will know how to do without Man in the very near future.”
This automation will affect the entire world economy with cascading consequences. When robot swill start performing humans’ duties, productivity gains will be generated. According to forecasts, this would generate 30 billion euros of tax revenue and budget savings.
In addition, at the dawn of this new era, companies will invest huge sums to achieve automations. Although the purchasing power will result from a fall in prices, people will be subject to a “forced” inactivity. “Firms and countries producing products for the world market need up-to-date technology to ensure that their entreprises are as efficient as possible” (Robert O’Brien and Marc William- Global Political Economy).
Charles Edward Bouée, author of Confucius in automata has predicted an economic explosion: “We will have more free time for leisure but less work.»
This increase in inequality could – if nothing is done – lead to a social explosion. To general surprise, digitalization indeed creates few jobs and growth. This industry is a very unegalitarian one, even if anyone can enter it from scratch. For example: the US mail application “WhatsApp“weighs $ 19 billion and employs only 55 employees.
Challenges to our social model is huge, especially as the middle class is «the heart of democracy.»
By: Pauline Perez
Article of the Economist- March 2014- Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21599762-prepare-robot-invasion-it-will-change-way-people-think-about-technology-rise?zid=291&ah=906e69ad01d2ee51960100b7fa502595
- Roland Berger’s book:
- Charles Edward Bouée’s book: “Confucius in automata” http://www.amazon.fr/Confucius-automates-essai-François-Roche/dp/2246851629
- Article of the Huffington Post (UK)- Available at:
- Article of Telegraph- Available at:
- Paul Hirst & Grahame Thompson: “Globalization in Question”
- Barbara Parker “Introduction to Globalization & Business”- Globalization of Technologies
- “The future of Employement: How susceptible are jobs to computerization?”– Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne-Available at: http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf
- Robert O’Brien and Marc William: ‘Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics’ (2013) Palgrave macmillan- p. 270 “Technological Diffusion”
- Frieden, Jeffry A., Lake, David A. : ‘International Political Economy: Perspectives on global power and wealth’ – Routledge (1995)- Structural Change: Technological change