Watch Out White Collar Middlemen

Automation a Job Killer

The story of the twenty-first century has been the decline of the middle class. While the xenophobic among us point to “foreigners taking our jobs” the real assailant of the middle class has been automation. No longer you can slack off in high school and then expect to land a good paying job at the local factory. The days of dropping out of college and then working your way up from admin to management are  a relic of the past. There are machines that assemble cars, computers, and phones in ways that an average worker can’t compete with.

The Problem

We are now in the early days of the second generation of massive job cuts and this time it is the well compensated banker who is at risk.

But First Some Background

So which technology is going to bring down the popped collar finance guy? You might have heard of bitcoin. Simply put, bitcoin is a peer-to-peer digital currency. One of the key features of bitcoin is that you can directly send money to people without a bank. Additionally, all transactions are kept on a public ledger. This feature brings a level of transparency to financial transactions.

Bitcoin, an Improvement Upon Banking

Back to our main thesis. What does this technology mean to the average knowledge worker in financial services? Banks and financial institutions by extension are the middleman. When you want to pay your bills, or send money you often need a bank to mediate the transaction. If you use bitcoin, all you need is your recipient’s address and you can transfer money directly to them. Bankers will no longer be needed. It would be cheaper and easier for you to settle debts, and send remittances without a money manager. Not to mention faster. It takes about several days to transfer money via ACH. With bitcoin it take minutes. Since all transactions on a bitcoin ledger are public, bitcoin adds a level of openness that is now absent from the banking industry. The Wells Fargo scandal of managers creating fake accounts would’ve been spotted far sooner if transactions occurred on the bitcoin blockchain.

Spells Trouble for Middlemen

In the future, professionals who make a living verifying, and recording the flow of money will be rendered obsolete. There’ll be far fewer account managers and accountants, because counting and sending funds would no longer be considered a human task. What does that mean for society? For starters, it would underscore that unemployment in developed countries is primarily caused by machines, not migrants. And who knows, once white collar workers start losing their jobs from automation, maybe we’ll gain the political will to figure out how to navigate this post-work world.

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