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算不上可怕的未来就业

发自华盛顿特区——就业的未来是当今的热门话题。它催生了一系列看似无休止的分析,评论和会议,并成为了上周国际货币基金组织和世界银行年度会议上的主要内容。原因很简单:新技术——即数字化,机器人技术和人工智能——对就业具有深远的影响。但是,与经常听到的故事描述相反,我们是有可能迎来一个大团圆结局的。

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当前的辩论往往倾向于耸人听闻地预言一个机器将人们驱逐出就业的未来。据一些悲观的估计,美国有47%的就业岗位岌岌可危;经合组织国家为57%;发展中经济体为2/3;全球则为1/2(相当于20亿份工作)。

但同样危言耸听的大规模工作流失和高技术驱动下的结构性失业预测其实并不新鲜,每当历史上出现重大自动化发展事件时都会出现,而且都得到了那一时期著名经济学家的背书。约翰·梅纳德·凯恩斯(John Maynard Keynes)提出过一个;华西里·列昂惕夫也(Wassily Leontief)提出过另一个。但这两个预测都未能兑现。相反,技术变革成为了生产力和就业增长的强大动力。

一个主要原因是技术创新在淘汰了一些现有工作的同时也创造了新的工作。虽然新技术降低了常规工作中对低技能工人的需求——如文书工作和重复性生产——但也增加了对技术,创意和管理领域高技能劳动者的需求。最近发布的一项分析估计近期近一半的美国就业增长都是由新工种和职位贡献的。

有鉴于此,就业的演变应该被看作是一个动态调整的过程,而非我们应当尝试去减缓的根本性破坏进程。而有些人提出的类似向机器人征税这类创新设置障碍以减轻对工人压力的方法只会适得其反。相反,相关措施应着重为工人提供适应不断变化的劳动力市场需求的更高级别技能,并在调整过程中支持他们。

到目前为止,教育和培训一直无法追上技术的脚步。新技术所需的技术和高级技能的短缺,部分原因是发达经济体科技蓬勃发展和生产力增长放缓之间的矛盾:技能短缺限制了创新的传播。供需之间的不平衡也强化了收入不平等,因为这提高那些具有合适技能者的工资上限。

要应对这些缺点就必须改革和扩大教育和培训方案。随着“学习,工作,退休”的老职业路径让位于持续学习——也是一个被许多经济体的劳动力老龄化所加剧的过程——提供重新培养和终身教育的选项必须扩大。

这就要求在培训的内容,输送和资助方面进行创新,并建立一系列公私伙伴关系的新模式。必须释放出科技支持下的解决方案的潜力,并由数字技能普及化的坚实基础来支撑。在这个日益不平等的时代——例如在美国,由于家庭收入水平导致的受高等教育程度差距不断扩大——对改善经济弱势群体受教育渠道的坚定承诺也至关重要。

与此同时,各国必须通过对劳动力市场和社会安全网的改革来提升劳动者的换岗能力。这意味着将重点从当前这种试图保护已就业劳动者的倒退式劳动力市场政策转向面向未来的多种措施,比如创新的保险机制和积极的劳动力市场政策。

此外,基于正式长期雇主与雇员关系的社会契约需要进行大改,退休和医疗保健福利的流转应该更为便利以适应不断发展的工作安排,包括不断扩大的“共享”经济。在此已经有人提出了几项建议,其中包括普遍发放的基本收入,目前在芬兰和类似加拿大安大略省的一些地方性区域进行试点;推行负所得税;以及各种归总劳动者福利的个人式社会保障账户

在这两个方面法国正在树立一个积极的榜样。今年年初,该国推出了一个随劳动者个人转移的“个人活动账户”,使得劳动者能够在多个工作岗位上获得受培训的权利,而不仅仅在特定职位或企业内累计这些权利。埃马纽埃尔·马克龙总统的行政当局正在对法国严格的工作保护制度进行改革以提高劳动力市场的灵活性。同时追求这一举措将使法国能够抓住改革的协同效应并缓解劳动者的调整压力。

技术变革将继续对各经济体的劳动力市场构成重大挑战,正如过去一样。 但通过明智的前瞻性政策,我们可以迎接挑战——并确保未来的就业变得更好。

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