How can we make globalisation work for everyone? One of the big takeaways from the Trumpquake and Brexit tsunami of 2016 was that many people feel “left behind” by the global economy. Scare tactics about the economic impact of Brexit didn’t work, for example, because many people believe they’ve never felt the economic benefits in the first place.
By any measure, Europe’s economy is booming. Yet, across the continent, many people are still faced with low pay and poor job security. New technology has been blamed for changing the way we work, including “gig economy” apps, automation, and machine learning. However, perhaps technology can also spur investment in precisely those areas of Europe which have seen the most industrial decline and highest rises in unemployment?
On 20 February 2018, Debating Europe attended an event in Brussels co-hosted by Google and Copenhagen Economics. The event was to launch a report looking at the economic impact of Google’s multi-billion investment in data centres, renewable energy, and fibre across Europe, as well as discussing whether technology can be a driver for local job creation and investment. We spoke to some of the panellists during the event, and put comments and questions to them from our readers.Curious to know more about global tech and local jobs? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).
What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in to us by Joerg, arguing that high-tech investment might not actually result in many jobs: “In the long run, with the increasing degree of automation, you might not have so many workers. The rate of jobs eliminated is higher than of those that are being created at the moment.”
So, will high-tech investment really deliver lots of jobs? To get a response, we spoke to Bruno Basalisco, Managing Economist at Copenhagen Economics. What would he say to Joerg?
We also had a comment from Michael, who wondered whether new technology can also create low-skilled jobs. Will high-tech investment create a small number of highly-skilled positions (engineers, technicians, etc.)? Or can it also provide well-paid, secure jobs for people who aren’t software engineers? Because Michael points out that not everybody can be highly-skilled, and many people depend on low- or medium-skilled work to get by.
We put Michael’s comment to Henna Virkkunen, a Member of the European Parliament from Finland. How would she respond?
Finally, we had a comment from Naina, who believes strongly in the importance of local economies. Will money invested in local economies by tech companies actually be spent locally? Or will workers be bussed in from outside the area?
To get a reaction, we put Naina’s comment to Matt Brittin, President of EMEA Business & Operations at Google. How would he respond?
Can technology revive regions left behind by globalisation? Will it boost local economies? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!
IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Leonardo Rizzi
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