Throughout the article, Robert Reich talks about the growing gap between the upper half, and the lower half of society. The main narrator of this article is Robert Reich and he explains how the economy is going up and down for the rich and the poor. He approaches issues surrounding the rich becoming more prosperous and the poor drooping in poverty, therefore the reasons why the economy continues to worsen. According to the author, what people do in the world relate to the positions they will partake. It clearly articulates that the jobs of routine producers and in-person servers have vanished totally as modern techniques have replaced them. Reich’s argument is an eye opener and warning for society regarding unemployment that it will be facing and is currently facing due to a lack of education and technology.
“All Americans used to be in roughly the same economic boat. Most rose or fell together as the corporations in which they were employed, the industries comprising such corporations, and the national economy as a whole became more productive-or languished”. The rising and falling of boats due to exist between the rich and the poor. In the earlier days, economy favored all Americans regardless of their social status. Companies and education play a big role in the increasing gap between the rich and the poor. In contemporary America, those who are educated continue to prosper while those who lack basic education are at a disadvantage when it comes to employment opportunities.
Throughout the article, the author makes a good point here and uses three examples to explain the situation. There are routine producers, in-person servers, and symbolic analysts. He describes routine producers as those who work in the manufacturing industries and these people are poor because they are not members of any unions, are paid very low wages, and are constantly replaced by technological machines. The positions of routine producers and in-person servers have vanished totally as modern techniques have replaced them. Symbolic analysts are people who identifies and solves problems. In favor of symbolic analyst are positions such as engineers, executives, consultants, marketing experts, publicists, and entertainers are getting richer and richer. He points out its reasons as increase in demand, their techniques, and ideas can be communicated easily without gaps for terms of time and would be more cost efficient.
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Reich defines the routine producers as people who work at the assembly line in big corporations, and those who are in this category tend to get poorer. The reasons he names were due to the advancement in technologies, decreases in union members, and the availability of lower wage workers in other nations. Companies are opting to employ workers from overseas because it is cheaper to pay them. Due to the advancement in technology, many machines substituted man power. Across the nation, this had caused many plants and factories to close which led to many laid-off. When big corporations needed to lay off its employees, the younger generations had the first impact since older generations were protected by seniority. This led to the decrease in union membership, and further led the power of weak employees. Advancement in technology also led to an increase in hiring lower waged workers in other nations.
According the Reich, he defines in-person servers as people who are in personal service industry such as restaurant servers, telephone operators, car washers and so on. The reasons they are poor is because of new entrants - people who used to work as routine producers - come into this segment, advance of technology, fewer benefits, and increase of immigrants. In-person servers don’t require special skills in many cases, so people who have no special skills either into this segment. That is why people who were routine producers and no longer as well has immigrants try to have these jobs. Reich uses the term ‘symbolic analysts” to describe people whose jobs are on the rise, that they are the real problem solvers, and that their skills are highly in demand worldwide. In Reich’s words, they are “strategic brokering” which compete on an international level for positions, and are highly recruited. Generally their work takes place in computer-mediated communication, and they are more likely to able to move from place to place because of their higher disposable incomes and because most companies will often pay moving expenses for their services. Computer technology gives them more tools for thinking, creating, and communicating. Therefore, the global market gives them more potential customers for their insights.
The interesting point of Reichs theory for the future is that it offers no easily visible solutions of raising the standard of living for those who reside in the United States. In fact, his argument on symbolic analyst will only enlarge the growing income inequality between the rich and poor. Unless those are benefited by a high education and superior thinking abilities, the potential to earn good money in the future is dark indeed. With fewer low skill jobs around, those who are not prepared will be scrapping to find enough work to get by. Meanwhile, the symbolic analyst, with respect to their abilities, could be raking in the dough. Reich suggest that the United Sates is in the best position to capture the growth of the symbolic analyst, allowing for the boom. The U.S. has the best university system on the globe. While most elementary education is still backward, there are also some schools which prepare young minds for their futures as analysts. The U.S. also has an advantage over developing countries in that the analyst has been here already for sometime. There are specific zones of learning and innovation already present in our country that will take years to develop elsewhere. This gives the United States a jump start heading into the next century.
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