Unemployment due to mass production techniques
Endangered jobs from technological innovation
Elimination of jobs due to introduction of new technologies
Throughout the industrial revolution and its subsequent evolution, automation has been criticized as the harbinger of mass unemployment and the dehumanizer of the working man. The increasing use of computers and numerical control technology has prompted similar concerns. This new technology, although vital for industrial competitiveness, has enormous potential for eliminating jobs; in the industries where microcomputers have been extensively applied the impact on jobs is considerable. The assembly operations will be increasingly automated in the electronics industry. This, in turn, implies a drastic reduction of low-skill job opportunities, combined with a drastic increase in the investment outlays required per new job created.
The fear that automation causes job elimination is not new, and has led to violent reactions throughout history. A mob in Germany in the 1660's drowned the inventor of a mechanized loom; steam engines and power machinery were frequently smashed in 19th century England; and in the 1920's in the USA claims were made that mechanization and the use of electrical machinery would ruin the economy.
New technologies create new products, new industries and new jobs. The application of new technology raises standards of living and improving working conditions. It increases equal opportunities for women. Many goods, such as home video-tape recorders and personal computers, could not be produced without new technology, and service sector jobs will increase sufficiently to make up for the loss of employment in manufacturing. In addition, new technology has the potential of decentralization of employment, enabling people to work at home or closer to their homes.