Based in Toronto, Canada, Humilitatem is a student publishing group inspired by the conflicts of the 20th and 21st century. Through its Interdisciplinary approach, it seeks to offer an environment of (un)learning, whereby readers and content creators can exchange knowledge not bound to the imposed structure of European/American Academia. We hope that the contents of this blog will be used to shed light on the significance of resistance and encourage active participation in acts of resistance. 

Labour, automation and the end of the world

Under the economic and political structure of capitalism, labour is often viewed as a commodity, an essential aspect in the process of production. However, labour should be identified as much more than a commodity because labourers have physical and emotional needs. In the past, the process of production has been highly dependent on labour, but what happens when the need for labour is eliminated? Technological “breakthroughs” that transforms the process of production can significantly impact the labour market (Tett, “Freezing out the factory worker”). In this reflection, I shall demonstrate how creative destruction, caused by the introduction of new technologies, can change the demand for labour. Furthermore, I shall argue that the process of automation should be encouraged because it is inevitable, and it leads to long-term improvements. Lastly, I shall demonstrate that high mobility of labour can reduce the undesirable outcomes caused by the increase in automation.
In the book “Why Nations Fail” authors Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson depict the story of William Lee, the inventor of the stocking frame, a machine that revolutionized the world (189). This machine is significant because it radically increased the efficiency of producing textile goods, and is considered to have paved the way for further mechanization. William Lee’s story is unique because during his lifetime his invention was rejected by several monarchs, due to the fear of its possible damaging impact on labourers of the textile industry. Though shortly after Lee’s death, his invention became proliferated across Europe. This story illustrates that we cannot try to prevent the introduction of more efficient modes of production. Attempts to avoid the introduction of such products only delays the inevitable. Thus, we should focus instead on policies that help alleviate the possible ramification of the introduction of a breakthrough technology on labourers. 
Mass migration is a major consequence of introducing new and efficient technologies. The mass migration of labour occurs when there is an imbalance in the supply and demand of labour, thus forcing labourers to migrate elsewhere in search of better economic opportunities (Castles, 311). During the industrial era, all industrializing capitals of the world experienced a large migration of labourers from rural areas to urban areas, since many agricultural occupations had become mechanized. Although the mechanization of agricultural labour displaced several people, it allowed for a significant improvement in the quality of life for generations to come. It is also important to note, that although technology can incite the migration of labourers, it is not the primary causal factor. As Stephen Castles argues, the leading cause of economic migration is the socioeconomic inequalities imposed by the neoliberal political-economic structure (312). Therefore, migration, labour and production are highly intertwined aspects of the global political economy. Given the discussion above it is evident that we cannot prevent the introduction of automation. However, we can increase the mobility of labourers to ensure that the displacement caused by the introduction of automation, does not further entrench socioeconomic disparities. 
The reason the discourse regarding automation, migration and labour is contested is partly due to the fact that we are uncertain of what the future might bring (Thompson, “What jobs will robots take”). In the past technology was not able to complete tasks that required human characteristics. This is no longer the case today, as our increased knowledge has enabled us to create computers which act and think like humans. For example, this year the world’s best poker players were defeated by an AI (Solon, "Oh the humanity! Poker computer trounces humans in big step for AI”). This is significant because poker is a game highly dependent on the study of human characteristics and emotions. As a result of our rapid technological advancement, many fear that workers will in a matter of years be entirely replaced by more efficient technology (Thompson). The case study of the Haier company in China demonstrates that this process of replacement is already underway. The company attributes its success of being the largest producer of home appliances to it use of automation, which cut its staff by 15% (Tett). The adoption of automation as a means of replacing low and middle-income jobs has been underway for several years. Though the future of labour might seem daunting, we should not allow our fear of the unknown determine our actions. Creative destruction is an embedded aspect of capitalism, and it is the catalyst that allows for all forms of development.
Hence, it is evident that the automation of labourers around the world is inevitable, but will ultimately lead to an increase in the quality of life. Scholars of Global Political Economy have an important role advocating for proper measures that an address the displacement of labourers. I believe that there are two possible ways to reduce the short-term negative effect caused by the automation of labour. The first method is the increase in mobility, which would allow labourers to quickly travel to areas in need of their skills. The second method relies on the solidarity and unification of all labourers, to prevent future exploitation of workers (Jungehülsing, 192). Moreover, it needs to be stressed that the process of automation “is not the end of the world,” and instead has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for everyone. In addition, the process of automation can lead to the establishment of new types of occupations, that are more creative and have more freedom. 

Book Review: The Tyranny of Experts

Reassessing the origins of the Iran-Iraq War