Carney warns middle classes will be “hollowed out” by new technology
Robots could put 15million Britons out of work, the Bank of England Governor declared last night.
In an alarming vision for workers, Mark Carney warned many jobs would be ‘hollowed out’ as huge technological advances meant roles could be automated instead.
The Bank has said the march of the machines in the workplace puts administrative, clerical and production staff most under threat.
And it has even predicted that entire professions, such as accountancy, could be pushed to the brink of extinction as developments in computers make their roles redundant.
Mr Carney claimed that ‘up to 15million of the current jobs in Britain’ – almost half of the 31.8million workforce – could be replaced by robots over the coming years as livelihoods were ‘mercilessly destroyed’ by the technological revolution.
Deeply worrying forecasts from the Bank say that a new ‘machine age’ would be particularly devastating for those on lower incomes.
The Governor said: ‘The fundamental challenge is, alongside its great benefits, every technological revolution mercilessly destroys jobs and livelihoods – and therefore identities – well before the new ones emerge.
‘This was true of the eclipse of agriculture and cottage industry by the industrial revolution, the displacement of manufacturing by the service economy, and now the hollowing out of many of those middle-class services jobs.’
The Bank’s chief economist Andy Haldane warned in an earlier study that automation threatened much of the workforce – but said that hairdressers, carers and nannies were among the lower earners who were deemed to be safe.
Speaking at Liverpool John Moores University yesterday, the Governor also claimed workers had suffered ‘the first lost decade since the 1860s’, with living standards suffering the biggest squeeze since Dickensian times. Calling for the Government to tackle ‘staggering wealth inequalities’ through redistribution, he said: ‘Real wages are below where they were a decade ago – something that no one alive today has experienced before.’
The 51-year-old, who earns £874,000 a year, said globalisation has seen ‘the superstar and the lucky’ thrive while others have struggled. He said: ‘Now may be the time of the famous or fortunate, but what of the frustrated and frightened?
‘From the rising spectre of global terrorism to intensifying geopolitical tensions and financial crises, for too long, for far too many people, the world seems to be getting riskier. They are right.’
He added: ‘One of the things that I think contributes very understandably to the level of anxiety that households feel in this economy, in other economies, is the fact that it has for them been almost a lost decade of growth.
‘Real incomes in this country have not grown for the last ten years. That is incredible and that shines a light on inequality, inequalities that exist in this economy, exist in other economies and make people question what is being done to address those and what are the fundamental causes of those.’
Globally, the share of wealth held by the richest 1 per cent rose from a third in 2000 to half by 2010. In the UK, the income share of the top 1 per cent tripled from 5 per cent in the early 1980s to 15 per cent in 2009.
Canadian Mr Carney said a typical ‘millennial’ – someone who became an adult early this century – earned £8,000 less in their 20s than their predecessors had.
By contrast, since 2007, over-60s have seen their incomes rise at five times the rate of the population as a whole, he added.
‘Experience shows that when the economy enters recession, the poorest are hit the hardest,’ Mr Carney said.
“Mark Carney warned many jobs would be ‘hollowed out’ as huge technological advances meant roles could be automated instead.”
they keep telling us this..
“Real wages are below where they were a decade ago – something that no one alive today has experienced before.”
arent we lucky?