We look to Silicon Valley as the beacon of progress and innovation that will not only transform our lives but keep the American economy competitive in the future. While all of that's true, there are also inescapable downsides to the tech sector’s growth for the working class.
According to brand expert Scott Galloway, who teaches at NYU’s Stern School of Business and joined me on "Salon Talks," we've never seen anyone "as good at destroying jobs" than Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.
“If you look at technology’s focus right now, it’s mostly on artificial intelligence, stores without cashiers. It’s all about taking humans out of the process," Galloway said. "We have a future where these middle class jobs are literally being sucked out of the economy and it’s being hollowed out”.
Retail jobs, for example, are at extreme risk. The industry is already in decline due to a combination of e-commerce, automation and debt, with many dubbing it the “retail apocalypse”. Seasonal retail hiring has fallen every year since 2013 and hiring this October was down eight percent from last year. A recent study says it’s going to get a lot worse, with automation causing the loss of up to 7.5 million retail jobs and affecting as many as 47 percent of people in the industry.
“Amazon needs one worker for every two Macy’s does to do the same amount of transactions," Galloway said. In his book, “The Big Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google," Galloway examines the race among the tech giants to become the first trillion dollar company. According to Galloway, “They’re not doing anything wrong, we’ve just never seen the pace of this type of job destruction."
Galloway argues that while economists may point to nearly full employment (unemployment is currently at 4.1 percent) as a measure of the economy’s health, we should be examining what type of jobs are being created, as in part-time positions with no benefits or stability. Watch the video above to hear Galloway's employment solutions.
And, watch our full "Salon Talks" conversation on Facebook to hear more about how the top four companies are racing to out-do each other.