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Impact Of Technology On American Culture

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Almost 50 years ago, Richard Nixon gave an address to the nation on Labor Day. In his speech he stated that one of the core values of the United States is industriousness. He said that “work ethic is ingrained in the American character.” (Nixon). Similarly, in an article entitled A World Without Work, Derek Thompson says that “industriousness has served as America’s unofficial religion since its founding” (Thompson). However, recently, the work ethic in the United States is facing an obstacle: technology. Technology has been taking over jobs very gradually over the course of human history. From the cotton gin to the factory to the computer, American jobs have been replaced by machines. But with the rise of new technology and the invention of…show more content…
John Russo, a professor of labor studies at Youngstown State University stated that “when jobs go away, the cultural cohesion of a place is destroyed” (Thompson). After growing up in a nation that prides itself on its industriousness, it is understandable that the loss of jobs may lead to a loss of our national identity. Thus, we will “need a new, individualized, cultural, approach to the meaning of work and the purpose of life” (Davidow and Malone). Professor Moshe Vardi, of Rice University, points out that, as middle-class professionals are outsourced to machines in the next few decades, workers will be left with more leisure time than they have ever experienced (Knapton). While this may seem like a benefit, people identify themselves with their jobs. Without them they are faced with uncertainty and struggle to find purpose in their lives. For example, in Youngstown, Ohio, 50,000 jobs were lost to outsourcing, and the result was a “regional depression.” There was a psychological and cultural breakdown in which depression, spousal abuse, and suicide became more prevalent, and “the caseload of the area’s mental-health center tripled within a decade” (Thompson). Thus, the loss of jobs due to technology will negatively affect the culture of the…show more content…
What can we do to adapt to the inevitable technological takeover? To start, we can invest in education and adult learning programs. According to the World Economic Forum ,“Around 65% of children starting primary school today will end up working in jobs that don't yet exist, so their future training is crucial” (Kottasova). Since computing power doubles every two years it is difficult to plan out our careers and identify the skills that can’t be automated (McFarland). Since the endangered jobs are mostly those that are low-paying and require little skill, we “need to make sure we are investing in education and training for the American worker” (Masunaga). Additionally, “insisting on more diverse workforces in terms of gender, ethnicity and age, will also be vital for companies that want to succeed in the rapidly changing world” (Kottasova). Some research states that women will benefit most from this transition. While women have displayed better human interaction skills on average, they will be at an advantage because they will have skills that technology cannot replace. On the other hand, men, on average, do extremely well with systems, rules, and analyzing systems” (McFarland). Unfortunately, “those kinds of jobs are exactly the jobs that tech is now displacing”
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