In this 2012 Making Sen$e report, “Man vs. Machine,” Paul Solman examines the future of the American worker.
Story One goes like this: “If you’re talking about 100 years from now, all jobs will be gone … including the creative ones.”
Story Two sounds like this: “The recovery of jobs is not all that bad … it’s moving in the right direction.”
what’s behind the trend toward greater wage inequality? The non-economist in me wants to think about institutions and social norms. Some of the increase in inequality has to stem from changing attitudes in our society. I just don’t believe that it’s only technology.
There is a real need for corporate leadership, and there is a need for accountability. When companies engage in productivity layoffs with record profitability, unprecedented levels of cash and all-time-high stock prices, no one in the media says, ‘Isn’t this terrible?’ No political leader speaks up to protest. We don’t hear anything from the labor unions. The companies are applauded for it because they’re cutting costs and improving profitability, and that’s supposedly what a company exists for. But it’s not that simple. They do have other responsibilities.