Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Links

  • Chinese leader's family now worth billions.  Amazing investigative piece by NYT - wonder how this news will go down in China?
  • Iran has installed the last of the centrifuges at Fordow.
  • O/T (or maybe not): Food Reward Fridays.
  • Latest on self-driving cars. 'Driving cars, he added, “is the most important thing that computers are going to do in the next 10 years.”'  Note the absence of any comment from anyone skeptical of the benefits technology or of any groups who will lose their jobs to this technology.


rjs said...

wonder how the news will go down in China?

Greg said...

Another, perhaps more mundane, way that technology is displacing workers, in this case retail:-

...[T]he Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the retail and wholesale sector, with a total of 18.6 million jobs, has cut 1 million full-time jobs since 2006, while adding more than 500,000 part-time jobs.

Technology is speeding this transformation... workers’ schedules have become far less predictable and stable. Many retailers now use sophisticated software ... "[they] now schedule shifts as short as two or three hours, while historically they may have scheduled eight-hour shifts," said David Ossip, founder of Dayforce, a producer of scheduling software ...

Some employers even ask workers to come in at the last minute, and the workers risk losing their jobs or receiving fewer hours in the future if they are unavailable.

The widening use of part-timers has been a bane to many workers, pushing many into poverty and forcing some onto food stamps and Medicaid. And with work schedules that change week to week, workers can find it hard to arrange child care, attend college or hold a second job, according to interviews with more than 40 part-time workers.

In some ways this is worse than outright unemployment. Some "lucky' people have jobs, sure; but they're part-time minimum wage jobs, and the jobs themselves block people from finding alternatives or extra work, thanks to IT.

Greg said...

IMF Working Paper
Research Department
Oil and the World Economy: Some Possible Futures

A first attempt at scenario modelling, which the authors hasten to point out does not allow for "non-linear effects" from a high oil price. (Linearity leads to crazy results in some scenarios, such as an eightfold increase in the real price of oil, making it about 30% of world GDP, and seriously negative interest rates on bonds.)

Nevertheless, it's encouraging that IMF attention is being focussed on the topic.

h/t Ron Patterson at TOD.