The Robots Taking the Jobs Industry9th February 2019
There is an old saying that the economy is too simple for economists to understand. There is plenty of evidence of this all around. After all, almost no economists could see the $8 trillion housing bubble, the collapse of which gave us the great recession. Back in the stock bubble days of the late 1990s, leading economists in both political parties wanted to put Social Security money in the stock market based on assumptions of returns which were at the least incredibly implausible, if not altogether impossible.
The endless scare stories of robots taking all the jobs, or the threat of automation, fit this model. While this is a recurring theme in major media outlets, it basically makes zero sense.
Replacing human labor with technology is a very old story. It’s called “productivity growth.” We’ve been seeing it pretty much as long as we have had a capitalist economy. In fact, this is what allows for sustained improvements in living standards. If we had not seen massive productivity growth in agriculture, then the bulk of the country would still be working on farms. Otherwise, we would be going hungry.
However, thanks to a massive improvement in technology, less than 2 percent of our workforce is now employed in agriculture. And, we can still export large amounts of food.
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