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3 thoughts on employment

There’s lots of talk these days about how technological innovation and globalization are taking our jobs.

Of course, these are not unreasonable concerns. The data suggests a hollowing out of the middle class and the threat of automation feels perhaps more real than over with the recent advancements in AI and robotics.

But here are 3 things to consider and discuss:

1) It doesn’t feel realistic to believe that the jobs which went overseas will ever return en masse – as nice as it may sound to argue that. They went overseas to take advantage of a particular cost structure and those motives haven’t changed.

2) It is not guaranteed that technological innovation will destroy more jobs than it creates. In fact, historically the opposite has often been true. The jobs that were lost by technological innovation were replaced by new / more jobs and greater economic surpluses. For instance, think of agriculture.

3) But could this time be different? If we are indeed entering a new economic period, then it strikes me that 1), above, becomes even further away from the right solution. Some of the proposed solutions include universal basic income and a robot tax (links to interview with Bill Gates).

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