[ExI] Is unemployment the future?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Tue Nov 3 11:11:49 UTC 2009

The computer engineer who thinks we're doomed


Essentially, he believes that technology is the direct cause of job
losses that will never return. In fact, his fear is that even in those
industries that are currently still labor intensive, job losses are
inevitable. Which just might mean that there will be vast numbers of
people all over the world who will have no money to spend at Zara. Not
even at Old Navy.

Naturally, Ford has found himself in a spirited debate with economists
who seem to think his arguments border on loonism.

A chap named Robin Hanson seems rather hurt that Ford isn't in the
thrall of economists' thinking--you know, the optimistic stuff about
how technology will always produce more jobs and more wealth because
we humans are, well, so clever.

End quotes

It is worth pointing out that as at June 2009 over 35 million
Americans were receiving food stamps, on a dramatically upwards
pointing trend line. (That's more than the whole population of
Canada). And overall there has been no increase in the number of US
jobs in the last ten years. So economic theory hasn't done terribly
well recently.

At least in Euroland we have the welfare state, so actual starvation
and disease can be held at bay.


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