Thursday, 28 May 2009

Innovation and employment

Don Boudreaux wonders
As I checked out of my hotel room -- rolling my suitcase behind me -- I wondered how many bellmen jobs were destroyed by the innovation that put wheels on luggage.
Should we ban wheels on luggage to save the jobs of bellmen? This is a small example of the issue of the affects of innovation on employment. Even a small thing like wheels on luggage will have some effect on employment and so in these times of recession, should be ban innovation to protect jobs?

On the other hand we could ask, What are the benefits that accrued to society when a greater number of people can use a service simply because technology lowers the price? And also ask, What other jobs are opened up because of innovation? But these jobs are unseen and the loss of bellmen is seen and thus there are calls to protect these jobs.

1 comment:

Stephen Monrad said...

Progress is obviously good in the long run. We just have to find a better way to cope with the transitions. I like suitcases with wheels. It's sad that bellmen lose their jobs as a result and it causes them hardship. We have to find a way to reduce the hardship so that we can have our suitcase wheels without causing misery.