Questioning technology and jobs



Publication Details

Martin, B. (1981). 'Questioning technology and jobs', in J. Kirk (Eds.), When Machines Replace People (pp. 117-128). Canberra: Society for Social Responsibility in Science (A.C.T.).

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Society for Social Responsibility in Science


A typical question is "how can employment levels be maintained in the face of labour-displacing technological change?" Answers to such questions vary. Some blame unemployment on the lack of initiative or social deprivation of the unemployed. Others look to job-creating efforts by governments, or to new industries. Still others counsel acceptance and adjustment to permanently high levels of unemployment.

This sort of discussion about technology and jobs is implicitly based on certain assumptions about the nature of technology, of jobs and of society itself. Once these assumptions are challenged, new perspectives arise concerning appropriate actions to be taken. Here I briefly point out some of these assumptions, and then outline some of the implications for strategies and demands centred around jobs and technology.

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