January 25, 2013

THE DIFFERENCE BEING...:

Humans need not apply: A world where technology replaces workers : First automated toll stations, now self-checkouts at supermarkets. Martin Ford ponders a world where machines have taken all the jobs, devastating the economy, and leaving people aching for something more.  (Paul Wiseman, 1/23/13, Associated Press)

[I]n 2009 he thought through what would happen to the economy if machines kept replacing human workers. The result was his book, "The Lights in the Tunnel."

Ford, 49, describes a nightmare scenario. Machines leave 75 percent of American workers unemployed by 2089. Consumer spending collapses. Even those who are still working slash spending and save everything they can; they fear their jobs are doomed, too. As people lose work, they stop contributing to Social Security, potentially bankrupting the retirement system.

Ford knows that his apocalyptic vision defies history. For two centuries, technological advances -- from steam power to the combustion engine -- have delivered more economic growth, more wealth, more and better jobs. "The historical argument is compelling," he says. "It's been going on for 200 years."

But this time is different, Ford contends. 

...more economic growth, more wealth, fewer jobs.
Posted by at January 25, 2013 6:20 PM
  
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