- ROAR Magazine
- February 4, 2018
ROAR’s second print issue will reflect on the social forces and class conflicts that will shape our future. Subscribe now to receive your own copy!
In a few weeks’ time, we will launch the second print issue of ROAR Magazine, featuring ten longreads focusing on “The Future of Work”: precarity, digital labor, social reproduction, the remaking of the global working class, workplace democracy and workers’ control, automation, basic income, the refusal of work, the challenges ahead, and the implications of all this for emerging forms of struggle and organization.
We have invited some of the world’s leading labor scholars, theorists and activists to reflect on the social forces and class conflicts that will shape our world for decades to come. Contributors include Silvia Federici (in conversation with Marina Sitrin), Immanuel Ness, Beverly Silver, Carlos Delclós, Daniel Raventós & Julie Wark, Lu Zhang, Nick Srnicek & Alex Williams, Dario Azzellini, Joseph Todd and David Frayne.
Below, we share three short excerpts from a selection of the articles that will appear in Issue #2. If you haven’t subscribed to ROAR yet, now is your last chance before we send it off to the printer!
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Nick Srnicek & Alex Williams — Will Robots Take Your Job?
In recent months, a range of studies has warned of an imminent job apocalypse. The most famous of these—a study from Oxford—suggests that up to 47 percent of US jobs are at high-risk of automation over the next two decades. Its methodology—assessing likely developments in technology, and matching them up to the tasks typically deployed in jobs—has been replicated since then for a number of other countries. One study finds that 54 percent of EU jobs are likely automatable, while the chief economist of the Bank of England has argued that 45 percent of UK jobs are similarly under threat.
This is not simply a rich-country problem, either: low-income economies look set to be hit even harder by automation. As low-skill, low-wage and routine jobs have been outsourced from rich capitalist countries to poorer economies, these jobs are also highly susceptible to automation. Research by Citi suggests that for India 69 percent of jobs are at risk, for China 77 percent, and for Ethiopia a full 85 percent of current jobs. It would seem that we are on the verge of a mass job extinction.
Joseph Todd — Socialize the Internet!
Google and Facebook are hailed as either the benevolent providers of a beneficial, transformational and free digital infrastructure, or the practitioners of increasingly total, nefarious data gathering in aid of surveilling our every move. Neither of these two characterizations is quite correct. While services such as email, messaging, search and maps have both extended and transformed our communicative, intellectual and logistical abilities, they are not provided benevolently, nor are they provided for free.
Simultaneously, while these corporations do have the ability to build up incredibly detailed profiles on individuals, their aspirations are not totalitarian. They are not interested in liberating human potential, but neither are they interested in controlling us via surveillance. What they pursue is surplus value extraction. They aim to reproduce capital. As every other corporation, they chase profit.
Immanuel Ness — Working Class Militancy in the Global South
The central issue confronting the development of a militant workers’ movement today is to identify and surmount the inequities arising out of the hierarchical system of international value transfer that inflects the global capitalist order, which relies on the super-exploitation of the working class in the Global South.
The modern global system of production and accumulation is shaped by the historical dependence of capitalism on global imperialism to expand profitability, and by more than 250 years of class struggles. A distinct feature of contemporary capitalism is the emergence of foreign capital investment in firms that directly exploit land, resources, technology and markets, but also low-wage labor employed in the export-production industries of the Global South. In the mines and mills of the Global South, the disruptive and isolating working conditions that produce alienation and estrangement also activate militancy comparable to that, which has developed among low-wage undocumented migrant workers employed in major cities of the Global North.
Source URL — https://roarmag.org/2016/06/14/issue-2-future-of-work-subscribe/