Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Work and new technologies, a reflection of the Church of … – The Cross

The technological changes and
work for a collective project of training and education that will ensure each person the dignity of work

“We are called to work from our creation. One should not look that technological progress is increasingly replacing more human labor, because then humanity would degrade itself. The work is a necessity, it is part of the meaning of life on earth, maturation path of human development and personal fulfillment. “
Pope Francis, Encyclical If Laudato ‘, § 128 (a)

Our societies face a new phase of technological development that is likely have profound consequences. Some call this phase the “fourth industrial revolution” (1) with reference to the changes introduced by the latest technological advances, for example in terms of computing power, connectivity and biotechnology.

Some of these new technologies impress us
– a cell phone which, thanks to an ingenious application, to track health indicators
– all cars that drive alone and take us safely in all. security
. – the economy of “sharing” of Uber companies AirBnB, and others that allow access to unused resources, or underutilized.
– a robotic factories (with printers 3D) where it produces parts or other goods in small quantities and local markets.

Our governments are susceptible, see the need to adopt a “digital strategy”.

by cons, there is concern, often rightly, the impact of these new technologies on employment, or at least certain types of employment. The machines they replace humans? Although they do not replace them, they will have an impact on wages? On inequalities of income and wealth? These are legitimate questions, especially when you consider that in this fourth industrial revolution, it is the process of production and distribution of goods and services themselves are transformed. In other words, it is no longer only the substitution of human labor by the machine, it is in the same reconfiguration modes of production and distribution.

Some consequences of this new technology development phase

Like any technological development, this new phase brings with it opportunities of progress and decline dangers. It is our responsibility as a society to promote the former and minimize the latter. To act, let us consider the potential impact of technological development on social welfare, employment, income distribution and social cohesion.

Impacts on the well -being collective (the common good) : intelligent systems have among others the potential to help humanity tackle climate change, to cure diseases and reduce escalating healthcare costs. Better production process can make available a larger number of people higher quality goods and services at lower cost and with better utilization of hardware resources. In contrast, however, the technologies can enslave humans, monitor, corrupt them. We as a society to make choices. We have a duty of care. As Christians, we can and must assert in the social debate, our essential options for the common good, human dignity and the protection of the vulnerable.

• Impacts employment: It is clear that technological changes have resulted in some sectors, a destruction of jobs. The decrease in employment in the manufacturing sector is an example, even in cases of manufacturing activities are repatriated close to home (2) from countries where labor was cheaper. There have also been decreases in employment in certain service sectors, where new processes – think e-commerce – are emerging. In contrast, however, some high-level jobs are made possible, if necessary, through better management of technology

Impacts on income distribution. Like any upheaval, the fourth industrial revolution produces winners and losers. In fact, substituting for tasks that frequently meet people with average incomes, technology exerts a downward pressure on working conditions. At the same time as digital communications facilitate access to the best technology available, the ones who are the owners receive a considerable income. In short, people with average incomes lose, those with already high income earning more. The most modest incomes, themselves, are hardly affected, new technologies do not have the potential to replace the properly human tasks – think of childcare or care for the elderly -. Their corresponding

• impacts on social cohesion: the impacts on employment and income distribution can combine to create a strong negative impact on social cohesion, that is, say about “this set of trust, reliability, compliance essential to any civil coexistence” (3). This can open the door to the left and right populism, as seen in many developed countries.

It appears essential to us to imagine and implement effective measures to address the impacts negative of the new phase of technological development in the world of work.

Some solutions

How to promote employment, better income distribution and, therefore, social cohesion, without rowing against the current of this new phase of technological development? How do without the payment in autarky, without closing the borders?

In the case of job loss, as says Pope Francis in If Laudato ‘ ” (…) help the poor with money should always be a temporary solution to deal with emergencies. The main objective should always be to allow them to have a dignified life through work. “(4)

1 For this, a first solution may seem obvious. Better train people to enable them to be subjects, not objects, these developments technology. Form but also accompany people on their journey, so that they can acquire attributes that allow them to realize and express their creativity through work.

The practical ways to do this we are known
– This is basic education, quality, for our children, at school and outside of school. An education that allows them to assimilate knowledge but also knowledge, multiple skills (which includes that of adapting to change) and a thirst to learn continuously.
– It is the struggle to dropout.
– It is the acquisition of a first university degree.
– This is vocational training.
– This is the training in the workplace <. br /> – This is, for the unemployed, a new training more relevant to the labor market.
– it is also, according to some experts, the early development of cognitive and social skills at an early age (0 to 4 years).
and that is the accompaniment of a loving family that values ​​the development of skills, self-esteem.

in short, it seems wise to bet even more than at present, on developing human capital in response to technological development.

2. a second solution is that governments put in place, or reinforce measures to facilitate the hiring of workers. These measures may be targeted according to the priorities, young people in their first job, devitalized regions, or particularly affected occupational groups. Measures can also be implemented to increase the relative attractiveness from the point of view of businesses, work from the technology (5).

3. Finally a third solution is to encourage the development of local solutions and decision-making structures nearby. As the Pope Francis, “so it continues to be possible to work, it is imperative to promote an economy that promotes productive diversity and entrepreneurial creativity. “(6)

To ensure a suitable level of employment and fulfill the aspirations of more help in the most efficient way that does not degrade more income inequality. The dignity of each being more respected, it will be easier to maintain social cohesion.

In doing so, we are not exempt from our obligation to support and protect the most vulnerable, those and those who, for example, are not able to take the training curve. Government and social mechanisms to allow direct transfers redistribute fruits of technological progress to those who do not benefit a priori, which is also conducive to social cohesion.

Call for a real mobilization

the education and training project to which we refer is not only the responsibility of governments. Rather it should be a broad and multifaceted collective project around which everyone agree. In fact, we would like the Quebec society as a whole is mobilized. Partnerships between government, educational institutions, trainers, teachers, businesses, and why not, patrons, could be considered. This is, ultimately, to enable each person to contribute, through its work, social life and in so doing to actualize its potential and nurture those whom God “put into things” (7 )

“the work should be the place of the multiple personal development where several dimensions of life are at stake. creativity, projection towards the future, the development of capacities, practice of values, communication with others, an attitude of worship. “
Pope Francis, Encyclical If Laudato ‘, § 127

For everyone, happy birthday for workers!

(*) Title and footnote (a) of The DC . Members of the Church and Society Council signed the declaration: Bishop Pierre Morissette, President , Bishop Thomas Dowd Bishop Denis Grondin, Bishop Noel Simard, Bishop Pierre Gaudette, Pierre Piché, Sister Elisa Fernandez, sfa, and Louise Cormier, Secretary .

(a) DC 2015, n. 2519, p. 39-40.

(1) The Davos Economic Forum has made his theme in January 2016.

(2) One can think of the latest generation of plants that are built in North America, at the expense of previously installed products in Asia. It welcomes the ecological progress (fewer goods traveling …), but regrets that there are no more jobs created.

(3) Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate (Charity in truth, July 7, 2009), § 32; DC 2015, n. 2429, p. . 767-768

(4) Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si ‘ on safeguarding the common house, dated 24 May 2009, § 128; DC 2015, n. 2519, p. 39-40.

(5) Think of taxes on payroll that may, at the margin, deter hiring.

(6) Pope Francis, encyclical Laudato si ‘ on safeguarding the common house, dated 24 May 2009, § 129; DC 2015, n. 2519, p. . 40

(7) Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si ‘ on safeguarding the common house, dated 24 May 2009, § 124; DC 2015, n. 2519, p. 38.


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