Friday, 19 August 2016

Boudreaux on robots

At Cafe Hayek Don Boudreaux makes a good point about the effects of robots on employment:
Robots not only do not threaten to increase long-term unemployment, they make our lives easier and more prosperous – and they’ve done so for eons. Witness the wheel, the lever, the bucket, the shovel, the cart, the harness, the plough, the rope, the spear, the knife, the pulley, the pipe, the pump, the oar, the sail, the printing press – and, of course, the steam engine, the locomotive, the bulldozer, the bus, the jet engine, the kitchen blender, the washing machine, the light switch, the flush toilet, the microprocessor. As Deirdre McCloskey writes in her new volume, Bourgeois Equality, “[t]he repeated alarms against robots are silly, since robots are merely mechanical slaves for our benefit.”
I agree with Boudreaux and McCloskey on this. Changes in technology are nothing new and employment has kept on growing. Why should today be any different? New technology changes the types of jobs there are but it doesn't reduce the number of jobs. And it makes us richer. What's not to like?

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