ERIC Number: ED284052
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987
The Workplace in 1997. Working Paper 1987-2.
Levitan, Sar A.
Will there be radical changes in the workplace by 1997? Four predictions, two full of gloom and doom and two full of promise, are common in current literature. One recent theory holds that we are facing a polarization of American society through the erosion of the middle class. Another gloomy prediction suggests that not only is the middle class eroding, but also that there will be no work for an increasingly large proportion of those seeking work--jobs will be filled by robots. A more hopeful notion is that eliminating government regulations will boost productivity; another is that the nation is about to enter a new era of labor-management cooperation. None of these ideas has much substance, although they may be based on some fact. Rather, each serves some special interests. The actual nature of the workplace in 1997 will probably be not much different than it is today. Change comes slowly and will continue to do so. Some predictions for the future are that business cycles producing recessions will continue to occur; that the work force will continue to grow through fewer young people going to college and more older people working longer; and that technology will bring about job change, but will not bring about an extraordinary demand for new skills. At the same time, workers have changed; they are more educated and have a different family structure. These workers will need different labor-management structures. On the whole, however, the decade will not see radical changes in the workplace. Change takes much time and enormous amounts of capital, and much longer than 10 years will be needed to make an impact. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: George Washington Univ., Washington, DC. Graduate Inst. for Policy Education and Research.