Wednesday, November 02, 2011
When you finish reading Mr. Rifkin's great book, please take a look at my book "America On Strike." Between the two you should have a good picture of what is going on in America today. Just click on "America on Strike" book cover at the right of this page.
The End of Work
By Jeremy Rifkin
By Richard E. Noble
The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin is an extraordinary work. It opens to the reader a whole new world of thought and ideas.
I read the first 100 pages with my jaw hung open in horror. Mr. Rifkin’s revelations were not above and beyond my own thinking on the subject but I had never before come to realize the full scope of the matter. I had joked in my book Hobo-ing America that all my working career, as fast as I learned a new skill I was replaced by a new method or machine. I joked that I couldn’t be retrained fast enough to keep up with those who were out to replace me.
I am also familiar with the workers’ plight here in America. I have a book of my own dealing with the history of the American Labor Movement America on Strike. So I am not naive when it comes to discussions of this sort. But all my research and background did not prepare me for what Mr. Rifkin had to reveal. I was shocked.
According to Mr. Rifkin my joke with regards to being constantly replaced and retrained was not a joke but a fact of life in the evolving new global world economy.
The point of Mr. Rifkin’s work is that the day when workers will become obsolete is appearing on the capitalist horizon – and it is not creeping along but racing towards each of us no matter what our job status.
Mr. Rifkin is not presenting a theory that may or may not happen … someday. He lists in descriptive detail all the jobs that are disappearing from the market place, never to return.
The scope of this problem is bigger than I had ever dreamed.
I have heard people suggest over and over that jobs were leaving the shores of America and would never return. But like Donald Trump, I said in my innocence, Why can’t they return. Let’s just change a few laws and incentives and make America once again an appealing spot for the steel mills, shoe and sneaker factories, textiles etc.
It never occurred to me nor was it ever explained that these jobs would not and could not return to America because they no longer existed.
Mr. Rifkin details the millions and millions of jobs that are totally disappearing due to technology, automation, advanced software, and labor saving management programs.
He points out that this is happening in all business sectors. The service sector is now on the road to job loses as great as those that have been plaguing manufacturing, construction and all other work avenues, public and private.
Jobs in management, middle management and in other once secure areas are being eliminated. No longer are jobs being picked up by the service sector or even the public sector. Everybody is cutting everywhere. They have been and will continue to do so, blindly and at their own peril and future destruction. It all seems so insane.
He carries these practical observations off into the theoretical and speculates on an inevitable semi-jobless world and how such a world could be run.
The last few chapters of this book outline his theoretical solutions to a jobless world and/or society.
I find Mr. Rifkin’s analysis of the problem and his predictions of dread for the workers of the world credible and inevitable if no action is taken to offset this realistic scenario.
His solutions to this problem I find self-contradictory and impossible. But that solutions must be offered and new roads taken in undeniable.
Every workingman in America should read this book and become aware of the true battle that is looming up before us as I write this very review.
This book was published in 1995 but it is far from outdated. It is a work that is decades ahead. Now is the time to read it and get the picture of the future in perspective. For me a large piece of a very big and confusing puzzle has just been put in place.
Buy this book and read it. You will not regret it.