经济学人 The Economist 15-08-2023 文章:The battle between American workers and technology heats up 双语 中英 对照-八点一刻

The battle between American workers and technology heats up

The flashpoints are AI and electric vehicles

For more than 200 years Luddites have received bad press—worse even than the British Members of Parliament who voted in 1812 to put to death convicted machine-breakers.
200 多年来,"卢德分子 "的名声一直不好,甚至比 1812 年投票决定处死被定罪的机器制造者的英国议员还要坏。

Yet even at the time, the aggrieved weavers won popular sympathy, including that of Lord Byron.

In an “Ode to Framers of the Frame Bill” the poet wrote: “Some folks for certain have thought it was shocking/ When Famine appeals, and when Poverty groans/ That life should be valued at less than a stocking/ And breaking of frames lead to breaking of bones.” He used his maiden speech in the House of Lords to urge for a mixture of “conciliation and firmness” in dealing with the mob, rather than lopping off its “superfluous heads.”
诗人在 "致《框架法案》起草人颂 "中写道:"有些人肯定认为/当饥荒发出呼吁,当贫穷发出呻吟/生命的价值应低于一双长袜/打破框架会导致骨断筋折,这是令人震惊的"。他在上议院的首次演讲中敦促在处理暴民问题时要 "和解与坚定 "相结合,而不是砍掉他们 "多余的脑袋"。

Once again, technological upheaval is rife and there is a widespread feeling, even among the patrician classes, that the old ways are in danger of being trampled under foot by the march of progress.

In America two big labour disputes—one looming, the other well under way—are, among other things, grappling with potentially seismic transformations caused by decarbonisation and artificial intelligence (ai).

The United Auto Workers (uaw) union, representing employees of Ford, General Motors and Stellantis (maker of Chrysler and Fiat), is threatening a strike when labour contracts end on September 14th.
联合汽车工人工会(uaw)代表福特、通用汽车和斯泰兰特(克莱斯勒和菲亚特的制造商)的员工,威胁要在 9 月 14 日劳动合同到期时举行罢工。

As well as fighting for sharply higher pay, one of its goals is to extend wages and other benefits offered in conventional car manufacturing to people working on electric vehicles (evs), the production of which typically uses more robots and fewer blue-collar workers. Over in Hollywood, writers and actors are at an impasse with studios over pay and conditions in the streaming era, a dispute that has been muddied by the vexing question of how ai will reshape the industry if new tools can be used to write scripts or simulate actors.

Such struggles may well shape how workers in other industries view the impact of technological change on their jobs.

A new generation of union leaders has come out swinging. Shawn Fain is the first president of the uaw in 70 years to emerge from outside the union’s ruling clique.
新一代工会领导人大显身手。肖恩-费恩(Shawn Fain)是 70 年来第一位从工会统治集团之外脱颖而出的工会主席。

He was elected in March by the rank and file, after a years’-long corruption scandal led to a change in the union’s voting procedures.
在长达数年的腐败丑闻导致工会投票程序发生变化后,他于今年 3 月由普通员工选举产生。

From the start, Mr Fain has cast himself as a firebrand. He publicly threw a bargaining proposal from Stellantis into the bin.
从一开始,费恩先生就把自己塑造成一个火药味十足的人。他公开将 Stellantis 提出的谈判方案扔进了垃圾桶。

(The biggest shareholder in the firm, Exor, part-owns The Economist’s parent company.) Meanwhile, the Writers Guild of America and sag-aftra, which represents actors, have gone on strike simultaneously for the first time in more than 60 years.
(该公司最大的股东 Exor 部分拥有《经济学人》的母公司)。与此同时,美国作家协会(Writers Guild of America)和代表演员的传奇剧团(sag-aftra)60 多年来首次同时举行罢工。

Fran Drescher, leader of the actors’ guild (and star of “The Nanny”, a 1990s sitcom) has made clear that the showdown is part of a wider struggle.
演员工会领导人(上世纪 90 年代情景喜剧《保姆》的主演)弗兰-德烈夏明确表示,这场对决是更广泛斗争的一部分。

“The eyes of labour are upon us,” she said in a thundering speech announcing the strike.

The fights are taking place in an unusually supportive environment for unions.

Late last month more than half of the Senate’s Democrats signed a letter to the “Big Three” carmakers arguing that workers at their battery plants should be eligible for the same deal offered to other uaw members.
上月底,参议院半数以上的民主党议员签署了一封致 "三大 "汽车制造商的信,认为其电池厂的工人应该有资格获得与其他参议员相同的待遇。

President Joe Biden, who equates “good” jobs with union jobs, has just reinstated a rule shelved during the Reagan administration that will, in effect, boost wages for construction workers on government-backed projects.
乔-拜登总统将 "好 "工作等同于工会工作,他刚刚恢复了一项在里根政府时期被搁置的规定,该规定实际上将提高政府支持项目的建筑工人的工资。

Nationwide, support for unions is at 71%, its highest level since the mid-1960s, according to Gallup, a pollster.
根据民意调查机构盖洛普(Gallup)的数据,在全国范围内,工会的支持率达到 71%,是自 20 世纪 60 年代中期以来的最高水平。

Both in Detroit and in Hollywood, unions are tapping into popular disquiet over ballooning pay for ceos. Even the Republicans, though vehemently anti-union, are trying to rebrand their relationship with workers.

American Compass, a conservative think-tank, calls for the creation of worker-management committees, similar to Europe’s “work councils”, which give employees a voice in how a business is run.
保守派智囊团 American Compass 呼吁建立工人-管理层委员会,类似于欧洲的 "工作委员会",让员工对企业的经营有发言权。

Some academics contend that workers are right to be wary of technological change.

“Power and Progress”, a newish book by Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson, both of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wades through a thousand years of history to argue that new technologies lead to better livelihoods only when they create jobs, rather than just cost savings, and when countervailing forces, such as unions, shape their effect.
"麻省理工学院的达龙-阿西莫格鲁和西蒙-约翰逊撰写了一本新书《权力与进步》(Power and Progress),他们在书中回顾了千年历史,认为新技术只有在创造就业机会而不仅仅是节约成本,以及工会等反作用力影响其效果的情况下,才能带来更好的生活。

It berates techno-optimism, and at times sounds like a Luddites’ manifesto.

Speaking to your columnist, Mr Johnson expresses optimism that the uaw and the Big Three can find a way to ensure the switch to evs does not lead to widespread job losses.

He points to the eventual embrace by unions of the containerisation of shipping, which saved countless hours of labour at ports but also led to a surge in the amount of cargo that passed through them, preserving jobs and benefits for dockers.

In theory, as ev production scales up, prices will come down and more drivers will buy them.
从理论上讲,随着 ev 生产规模的扩大,价格会下降,更多的驾驶员会购买它们。

If they put their feet on the gas the Big Three may even be able to reverse the decline in America’s car exports, fuelling demand for even more workers.

The massive subsidies handed out by the Biden administration to promote ev production afford the industry a rare opportunity to regain the initiative.
拜登政府为促进 ev 生产而发放的巨额补贴为该行业提供了一个重新掌握主动权的难得机会。

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By contrast, Mr Johnson’s prognosis for writers and actors in the age of ai is darker, likening their plight to that of the weavers-cum-Luddites whose jobs were rendered unnecessary by machines.

That view helps explain why they are seeking to pre-emptively curtail studios’ use of ai. Yet the technology’s impact on Tinseltown need not be zero-sum. By speeding up the writing process, for instance, ai could lower costs and allow more content to be created.

What’s more, the gales of creative destruction can be held back only for so long.

For unions to secure their members’ livelihoods they need to work with technological change, rather than against it.

That means using a Byronesque combination of conciliation and firmness to ensure that it is used to grow the pie for everyone, rather than double down on anti-corporate rage.

If not they may end up, like the Luddites, on the wrong side of history. ■



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经济学人 The Economist 15-08-2023 文章:The battle between American workers and technology heats up 双语 中英 对照-八点一刻

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