• Home
    • Atlanta
    • Workers: Fear Not the Robot Apocalypse Automation commonly creates more, and better-paying, jobs than it destroys. A case in point: U.S. retailing (WSJ-Economy)

    Workers: Fear Not the Robot Apocalypse Automation commonly creates more, and better-paying, jobs than it destroys. A case in point: U.S. retailing (WSJ-Economy)

    “Robot apocalypse” is a modern expression, but the underlying anxiety goes back centuries. In 1589 Queen Elizabeth I refused to grant the inventor of a mechanical knitting machine a patent for fear of putting manual knitters out of work. In 1930 the British economist John Maynard Keynes warned of “technological unemployment…due to our discovery of means of economizing the use of labor outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labor.”
    Those fears have repeatedly proven baseless. James Bessen, an economist at Boston University School of Law, has found in numerous episodes when technology was supposed to annihilate jobs, the opposite occurred. After the first automated tellers were installed in the 1970s, an executive at Wells, Fargo & Co. predicted ATMs would lead to fewer branches with even fewer staff. And indeed, the average branch used one-third fewer workers in 2004 than in 1988. But, Mr. Bessen found, ATMs made it much cheaper to operate a branch so banks opened more: Total branches rose 43% over that time.
    Workers inside Amazon’s Fall River, Mass., fulfillment center. PHOTO: ADAM GLANZMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

     

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/workers-fear-not-the-robot-apocalypse-1504631505

    Trackback from your site.

    Leave a Reply