How Computerized Work and Globalization Shape Human Skill Demands

Frank Levy and Richard J. Murnane

in Learning in the Global Era

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780520254343
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941496 | DOI:
How Computerized Work and Globalization Shape Human Skill Demands

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This chapter examines the major shifts in the global marketplace, and advocates more widespread and diverse training in higher-level skills. It looks at the impact of globalization and the computerization of work on labour markets, addressing the role of computerized work in substituting human work and identifying the educational implications of today's changing economic conditions. By dissecting work into its discrete constituents, the chapter explains how certain jobs – so-called rules-based jobs, governed by deductive rules and easily recognizable patterns – are easily taken over by computers or outsourced to workers in another country, or both. At the same time, it rejects the idea that computers will eventually replace human labour entirely, citing uniquely human skills – intellectual and emotional capabilities that include the ability to perform ‘expert thinking’ and to manage ‘complex communication’ tasks – which will never be supplanted by computational technologies.

Keywords: computers; computerized work; globalization; labour markets; training; rules-based jobs; human labour; human skills; expert thinking; complex communication

Chapter.  6023 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Occupations, Professions, and Work

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