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In the last 12 years total employment in the United States grew faster than at any time in the peacetime history of any country – from 82 to 110 million between 1973 and 1985 – that is, by a full one third. The entire growth, however, was in manufacturing, and especially in no – blue-collar jobs.
This trend is the same in all developed countries, and is, indeed, even more pronounced in Japan. It is therefore highly probable that in 25 years developed countries such as the United States and Japan will employ no larger a proportion of the labor force I n manufacturing than developed countries now employ in farming – at most, 10 percent. Today the United States employs around 18 million people in blue-collar jobs in manufacturing industries. By 2010, the number is likely to be no more than 12 million. In some major industries the drop will be even sharper. It is quite unrealistic, for instance, to expect that the American automobile industry will employ more than one –third of its present blue-collar force 25 years hence, even though production might be 50 percent higher.
If a company, an industry or a country does not in the next quarter century sharply increase manufacturing production and at the same time sharply reduce the blue-collar work force, it cannot hope to remain competitive – or even to remain “developed.” The attempt to preserve such blue – collar jobs is actually a prescription for unemployment…
This is not a conclusion that American politicians, labor leaders or indeed the general public can easily understand or accept. What confuses the issue even more it that the United States is experiencing several separate and different shifts in the manufacturing economy. One is the acceleration of the substitution of knowledge and capital for manual labor. Where we spoke of mechanization a few decades ago, we now speak of “robotization “ or “automation.” This is actually more a change in terminology than a change in reality. When Henry Ford introduced the assembly line in 1909, he cut the number of man – hours required to produce a motor car by some 80 percent in two or three years –far more than anyone expects to result from even the most complete robotization. But there is no doubt that we are facing a new, sharp acceleration in the replacement of manual workers by machines –that is, by the products of knowledge.
1. According to the author, the shrinkage in the manufacturing labor force demonstrates _____.
A. the degree to which a country’s production is robotized
B. a reduction in a country’s manufacturing industries
C. a worsening relationship between labor and management
D. the difference between a developed country and a developing country
2. According to the author, in coming 25years, a developed country or industry, in order t remain competitive, ought to _____.
A. reduce the percentage of the blue-collar work force
B. preserve blue – collar jobs for international competition
C. accelerate motor – can manufacturing in Henry Ford’s style
D. solve the problem of unemployment
3. American politicians and labor leaders tend to dislike ____.
A. confusion in manufacturing economy
B. an increase in blue – collar work force
C. internal competition in manufacturing production
D. a drop in the blue – collar job opportunities
4. The word “prescription” in “a prescription for unemployment” may be the equivalent to ____.
A. something recommended as medical treatment
B. a way suggested to overcome some difficulty
C. some measures taken in advance
D. a device to dire
5. This passage may have been excepted from _____.
A. a magazine about capital investment
B. an article on automation
C. a motor-car magazine
D. an article on global economy