Go Into Domestic Service, Young Man

When the tsunami of outsourcing overseas began to roll, everyone assumed that it would reach halfway up the social ladder and stop. After manufacturing disappeared, they started to realise that standardised white-collar professions were next – unless they were handed over to “expert systems” instead. About a decade ago somebody pointed out that the last job to be offshored or automated would be gardener. It is now a mere commonplace cheerfully to proclaim, as does The Economist, that office-cleaning and child-minding cannot be done over the Internet from Bangalore, and so everything is all right.

They should maybe spell it out in larger letters: these outsourcing-proof jobs are almost all what used to be called “domestic service”. Not to mention “personal services”. And while office-cleaning might be automated, cleaning the houses of the rich probably will not be – by no means because this is technically impossible, but because in the long run, after the novelty of robots has worn off, people will want to mark status as they always have, by having live bodies bow and scrape, fetch and carry. For some time we have been importing brown-skinned and thereby “inferior” human beings to do both the dirty infrastructure jobs and also the monkey-grooming jobs, but thanks to downward pressure on native wages, hostility to immigration and possible die-back in the source nations – it is not so difficult for colonialists to halve the population of a country in a decade – who knows but that the status-symbol of the 2020s will be a “blonde beast” of a Swedish-American bodyguard? (Note to car manufacturers: revive the running-board, liveried footmen for the use of.)

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 09:14 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE ENSLAVING MAMMAL, The Lackey Society

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