This introductory chapter discusses the effects of technological progress on employment. The restructuring of global capital and computer-mediated work leads to unemployment, underemployment, decreasingly skilled work, and relatively lower wages. In the 1970s, an estimated 38 million jobs were destroyed because of the decline in both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing sectors—a direct result of plant, store, and office shutdowns. Sci-tech transformations of the labor process have disrupted the workplace and worker’s community and culture, causing a proliferation of part-time and temporary jobs that displaces permanent regular jobs. Computerized machines employ very little direct labor because control over it is now built into the machines by computer processes such as numerical controls, lasers, and robotics. Thus, the more investment in contemporary technologies, the more labor is destroyed.
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