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Technological advancement and their economic social and political consequences

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Technological advancement and their economic social and political consequences

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Technological progress will inevitably have three consequences: 1) the decline in consumption or general demand for goods and services due to the increase in unemployment and the reduction of the purchasing power of the working population; (2) the decline of the middle class with major implications of a political nature since it acts as an ally of the bourgeoisie; and (3) the weakening of the struggle of the trade unions for the benefit of the workers and of the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

Technological progress will inevitably have three consequences: 1) the decline in consumption or general demand for goods and services due to the increase in unemployment and the reduction of the purchasing power of the working population; (2) the decline of the middle class with major implications of a political nature since it acts as an ally of the bourgeoisie; and (3) the weakening of the struggle of the trade unions for the benefit of the workers and of the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

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Technological advancement and their economic social and political consequences

  1. 1. TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT AND THEIR ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES Fernando Alcoforado * The idea of "progress" in social thought came with the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century. From the eighteenth to the twentieth century, it was believed that the only reliable means for improving the human condition came from new machines, chemicals and various techniques. There has been a widespread belief that there is a positive link between technical development and human well-being and that the next wave of innovation will provide even greater progress. Society lives, more than ever, under the auspices and domains of science and technology. The propaganda that is made of science and technology is so intense that a significant portion of people believe that they only bring benefits to society. Even the recurring social and environmental ills that accompany technological advances have rarely affected this faith. For man, technology makes life easier, cleaner and longer. Man cultivates a growing relationship of dependence on science and technology in the contemporary era. It is usual behavior for much of society to regard science and technology as liberating humanity from the burdens of labor and the threats posed by the forces of nature. Adding to all this, there is a widespread view that scientific-technological progress brings not only the advancement of knowledge but also a real, inexorable and effective improvement in all aspects of human life. Today, there is a clear perception that science and technology have provided progress for humanity, but that, along with this, have the capacity to destroy it as well. The thesis that science and technology would be the primary factors responsible for human progress was put in check by the explosions of atomic bombs in World War II in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. There has been a discussion not just on the positive side of science and technology. A climate of crisis and doubt about them came to the surface. Along with the benefits of science and technology, came napalm, defoliants, radioactivity, the atomic bomb. But can it be said that mankind has progressed with the advancement of science? In his work A Dialética do Esclarecimento (The Dialectic of Enlightenment) published by Zahar Editora (1985), Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, philosophers linked to the Frankfurt School, say that the supremacy of science and technology has paved the way for political derangement in favor of market capitalism. Being global and omnipresent, market capitalism has the necessary technology, provided by science and technology, to make men gears of their engine annulling them. Capitalist economics, science and technology, now merged as if they were a single instance, consolidate their supremacy over contemporary society, determining their course with the same foolishness and impersonality of an invisible hand, according to Adorno and Horkheimer. Science is seen not only as liberating, but in certain situations as dehumanizing and enslaving human life. Technology has shaped our lives because we are at the mercy of interconnected systems and, what is serious, because we are submissive to its authority, shaping us to its functioning. The omnipresence of technology in today's world, coupled with its greater complexity, gives way to a very problematic situation.
  2. 2. In the article Como serão as fábricas do futuro? (How will the factories of the future be?), available on the website <http://delltecnologiasdofuturo.ig.com.br/para- empresa/como-serao-as-fabricas-de-futuro/>, it is reported that it is possible to imagine that the factories of the future will count less and less with the presence of human beings in the production line. In 2013, sales of industrial robots in the world reached the record of 179,000 units. Depending on the type of application, newer models are 40% faster than previous generations. The second characteristic of this new industrial age is the immense amount of digital information available. Product design, design, testing with new materials, prototypes, factory architecture, production line organization, stock of materials, manual of an equipment, everything is digital. Automated and robotized factories mean industries with fewer and fewer people. In three decades, 6 million industrial jobs in the United States were eliminated, causing factory employment to reach the level of the 1940s. Jobs that involve repetitive functions will disappear quickly in the coming years, says economist Michael Spence, the winner of the Nobel Prize and professor of the University of New York. In rich countries, it is estimated that 25% of all functions in industry are to be replaced by automation technologies by 2025. Worldwide, an estimated 60 million factory jobs are eliminated. In the article under the title Capitalismoemcriseeodeclíniodotrabalho(Capitalism in Crisis and the Decline of the Work), available on the website <http://outraspalavras.net/posts/capitalismo-em-crise-o-declinio-do-trabalho/>, 2016, the American sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein says, "a major technological breakthrough now allows machines to engage in calculations of huge volumes of data. The result is that such machines have already begun to eliminate the posts of these white-collar workers. New jobs were actually created - but not among industrial workers. They emerged among the white collar services professions. Consequently, throughout history, the world economy witnessed a reduction of industrial jobs and a significant increase in the percentage of white-collar workers. It was always accepted that white-collar jobs were not subject to being eliminated. It was assumed that, because they required interaction between humans, there would be no machines capable of replacing human workers. It's not like this anymore". At the moment, this trend has changed with the decline, too, in the supply of employment for white collar workers. According to Immanuel Wallerstein, "before, when industrial jobs were eliminated or reduced, they could be replaced by white-collar jobs. But today, if the white-collar positions disappear, where will the new jobs be created? And if they are not created, the overall effect will be to severely reduce effective demand. Without effective demand, there can be no accumulation of capital. This is the reality that seems to be insinuating itself. So it is not surprising that concerns arise. It is not likely, however, that the "timid" attempts to deal with this new reality can make any real difference. The structural crisis of the system is surfacing openly. The big question is not how to fix it - but what will replace it". Wallerstein demonstrates that, in addition to harming industrial and "white- collar" workers, technological advancement could jeopardize capitalism's own interests by bringing down effective global demand to decline. The big challenge for economic growth in the coming years is how to develop new jobs that employ a larger population than we have today, and especially there is not a big decline in the middle class where white collar workers are, since with a weak middle class, overall consumption also declines, and the economy can collapse. Technological
  3. 3. progress will inevitably have three consequences: 1) the decline in consumption or general demand for goods and services due to the increase in unemployment and the reduction of the purchasing power of the working population; (2) the decline of the middle class with major implications of a political nature since it acts as an ally of the bourgeoisie; and (3) the weakening of the struggle of the trade unions for the benefit of the workers and of the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The reduction of the working class to the technological advance puts in check the main strategy of conquest of power by the proletariat formulated by Karl Marx, who considered the class struggle as the motor of history, that is, of social changes towards socialism. The proletariat would cease to be the messiah of humanity as advocated by Marx. The decline of the middle class in which white-collar workers find their social ascent, whose marginalized and frustrated members along with the proletariat can become powerful forces at the service of social change for the benefit of all society or mass maneuver of fascism that benefits the ruling classes. * Fernando Alcoforado, 77, member of the Bahian Academy of Education and the Brazilian Academy of Letters - Bahia Section, engineer and doctor in Territorial Planning and Regional Development by the University of Barcelona, university professor and consultant in the areas of strategic planning, business planning, regional planning and planning of energy systems, is the author of the books Globalização (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1997), De Collor a FHC (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1998), Um Projeto para o Brasil (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2000), Os Condicionantes de Desenvolvimento do Estado da Bahia (PhD Thesis, University of Barcelona, http: //www.tesisenred.net/handle/10803/1944, 2003), Globalização e Desenvolvimento (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2006), Bahia- Desenvolvimento da Bahia do Século XVI ao Século XX e Objetivos Estratégicos na Era Contemporânea (EGBA, Salvador, 2008), The Necessary Conditions of the Economic and Social Development- The Case of the State of Bahia (VDM Verlag Dr. Müller Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2010), Aquecimento Global e Catástrofe Planetária (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2010), Amazônia Sustentável- Para o progresso do Brasil e combate ao aquecimento global (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2011), Os Fatores Condicionantes do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2012), Energia no Mundo e no Brasil- Energia e Mudança Climática Catastrófica no Século XXI (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2015), As Grandes Revoluções Científicas, Econômicas e Sociais que Mudaram o Mundo (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2016) e A Invenção de um novo Brasil (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2017). Possui blog na Internet (http://fernando.alcoforado.zip.net). E- mail: falcoforado@uol.com.br.

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