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skill complementarity, skill substitution and skill debilitation 

From The New Ruthless Economy, by Simon Head, loc 208-219:

Economists use the term “skill complementarity” to describe how information formation technology enhances the skills of high-income workers such as architects and engineers. They speak of “skill substitution” when technology eliminates the jobs of telephone operators or bank tellers. The examples of the physician and the call center agent add a third dimension mension to this interaction between employees and digital machines, which I shall call “skill debilitation.” Skill debilitation occurs when management tries to apply the principles of industrialization to skilled work, whether the skilled work of a high-income worker such as the physician, or the skilled work of a lower-income worker such as the call center agent. Within the elite of college-educated workers, “skill debilitation” itation” and “skill complimentarity” are therefore working at cross purposes: poses: One limits skill, while the other enhances it. For the workforce as a whole, the practice of skill debilitation shows that some of the oldest est practices of the old economy still have a very strong presence within the new.

Categories: Pre 2020 reading notes

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