Major technological changes, shifts in needs and forms of work
The most striking social phenomenon in the last century, if we think about it, is the shift of needs and forms of work along with the over-concentration of population in urban centers. A century ago, 80% of the economy relied mainly on agriculture and manufacturing to meet basic nutritional needs. Much of the work was devoted to productive consumption, meaning that the people of the time produced mainly to feed themselves and their families.
Another decisive phenomenon is that of wage labor that dominated in the concentration of production and the over-expansion of the economic role of the state, if we consider that around 1920 it was at 10% of GDP, while today in Greece it has risen to about 50%.
The economic magnitude of the shifts, however, does not stop here. New technologies and the industrialization of production drastically changed these correlations and separated the producer from the consumer. The economy was commodified and wage labor took off. Today, agricultural production and processing together do not exceed 17% of GDP in our country. A large percentage of about 36% concerns retail and the rest is covered by services in which tourism, banks and entertainment companies have a prominent position.
All these shifts combined with the development of technology have resulted in the development of productivity in basic goods and the release of workers’ time, which counts on the beneficial effects of industrialization, while conversely negatively as it happens, this time is absorbed and channeled in the consumerism of the commercialized mass culture.
According to a Keynesian prediction in 1930, the development of technology could reduce working hours to 15 hours / week in 2000!
This certainly did not happen, because modern technologies can not provide adequate food and basic needs in the world, but because the consumer system invents new needs and products that absorb the vital energy of societies to meet the basic needs of the population.
On the contrary, imaginary needs of social status are fed, with consequent derailment side effects from the satisfaction of vital needs to the satisfaction of false / artificial needs.
This is the consequence of an “invisible wedge” between production and consumption. A side effect of wage labor, temporarily hypnotized in a safe environment, contributes to producer-consumer separation and allows for a huge chain of intermediation that raises product prices and inflates the social values of a star system’s insignificance. Thus the consequences are visible:
· In food, the price of which in many cases is multiplied by the field, the shelf and the dining area.
In entertainment, where industrial culture concentrated production and consumption in an oligopolistic market (channels and entertainment venues) that absorbed in a myriad of ways a significant portion of consumers’ income and time.
· In the “economy – casino”, where in recent years we have met various versions, from the stock market casino of 2000, to the various games of chance to the big “bubble” of the financial sector of the banks.
Technological changes on their own, despite their spectacular growth, have neither reduced working hours nor met the basic needs of everyone. On the contrary, from the 1970s onwards inequalities gradually increased and 1/3 of society today is unemployed, excluded from both production and consumption.
At the communication level, we are bombarded by various technocrats and politicians that new technologies and their “smart” management will solve problems. They show us “smart” products that will make our lives better. But the reality in the end result is that citizens and states are inflating their debts which in the long run can not be serviced. Here is the contradiction and labyrinth of antinomies in the use of technological innovations.
The use of technology as a weapon of superiority of large companies over small and medium enterprises and small producers that leads to economic and social exclusion of large sections of the population.
THE NECESSARY EQUIVALENT BETWEEN TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION AND ORGANIZATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL INNOVATION IS OVERVIEWED AND SILENT, of course, that the “smart” economic management and the political and The axiom that the means of production and the speed of production cannot be an end in themselves. Given the deeper causes of the economic crisis, the re-invention of cooperative work is the only possibility of creating new job opportunities as shown by global economic trends.
We know, of course, that co-operation in Greece has been devalued for a long time, as the state has created disincentives by rapidly increasing public sector jobs from around 300,000 in 1975 to 1,300,000 in 2009. bureaucracy and not public productivity.
Surprisingly, electronization technologies here did not benefit society but specific bureaucratic elites and guilds. The problem is therefore not only economic but also moral and political. Prosperity with borrowed discounted future incomes, steals the future of the new generations. This is an immoral political choice. As Th. Tassios says, “before we went bankrupt financially, we had gone bankrupt morally”.
Now, we are witnessing a forced permanent reduction of civil servants, but also of employees in the private sector. For example, electronization in the banking sector and the self-service of e-banking traders will free up jobs in this sector as well.
But where will the new jobs be found to replace the lost ones?
The answer is that a new period of self-employment and productive consumption is coming as an inevitable solution. The “movement without intermediaries” but also the trend for new consumer cooperatives and bridges of cooperation between consumer and producer networks is the first indication.
This tendency is obviously hindered by the bureaucracy and organized unions that are comfortable with the industrialized and centralized system of economy. However, unemployment and the impoverishment of large sections of the population are pushing and the only answer is to strengthen the cooperative-social economy.