Is Technology Widening the Income Gap?


Frank Stronach, a prominent figure in the business world, has raised concerns about the widening income gap exacerbated by technological advancements. Back in the 1980s, optimistic predictions suggested that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) would lead to the end of work and increased living standards. However, reality paints a different picture, with many Canadians working longer hours while experiencing stagnant or declining incomes.

During his tenure as CEO of Magna International, Stronach foresaw the potential job displacement caused by robotics on automotive production lines. Decades later, automation and robotics have transcended factory settings, infiltrating various industries and displacing workers globally. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently warned that AI, the most transformative technology of our time, could exacerbate income inequality by increasing incomes for high earners while displacing white-collar workers in fields like finance and law.

While technology undoubtedly plays a role in income inequality, Stronach emphasizes that societal systems are at fault. Canada’s economic landscape, focused on the digital economy over tangible manufacturing, exacerbates the problem. Stronach advocates for revitalizing the manufacturing sector and supporting small businesses as a means to mitigate job losses and uplift incomes.

Stronach proposes dismantling red tape and creating a favorable environment for small businesses to thrive. Removing business income tax, according to Stronach, could stimulate economic growth and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. However, he notes that small businesses must unite and advocate for change to make their voices heard.

Reviving the manufacturing sector through small business support presents a viable solution to improving the incomes and living standards of millions of Canadians. By shifting focus from exporting raw materials to producing value-added goods domestically, Canada can insulate itself from the job losses expected from future technological disruptions.

Stronach’s perspective highlights the need for proactive measures to address the challenges posed by advancing technology. As automation and AI continue to reshape the workforce, policymakers and business leaders must prioritize strategies that promote economic inclusivity and shared prosperity.

While technology has the potential to improve efficiency and generate wealth, it also poses risks to job security and income equality. By acknowledging these challenges and implementing targeted interventions, Canada can navigate the digital age while safeguarding the well-being of its citizens. The call to action is clear: it’s time to invest in manufacturing, empower small businesses, and create an economy that works for everyone.