Here's an unpleasant idea: persistent unemployment in the United States is not simply the product of an economic downturn, but is a structural issue with the economy. Certain classes of jobs are simply being outmoded by machines. This idea has gained a lot of attention this year due to the success of Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew MacAfee's book Race Against the Machines.
While the authors include a chapter that addresses the question "What is to be done?" John Hagel is not satisfied with their answer.
Hagel, the Co-Chairman of the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation, says we have designed jobs in the U.S. that tend to be "tightly scripted," and "highly standardized" ones that leave no room for "individual initiative or creativity." In short, these are the types of jobs that machines can perform much better at than human beings. That is how we have put a giant target sign on the backs of American workers, Hagel says.
Hagel says the answer involves re-thinking the work formula, and creating organizational structures that reward creativity and innovation.