September 24, 2013

DAVID HARSANYI: Are Robots Killing The Middle Class? More wishful thinking on joblessness. “The economy grows, innovation ratchets up — but jobs do not. Even during the 2000s, when productivity grew at a faster pace than it had in decades, median income declined slightly. Is creative destruction breaking the middle class? Has technology outpaced our ability to adapt? Are robots destroying the prospects of a vibrant future? Maybe. But the theory has a few holes. For starters, technology always kills jobs. American industry did not stumble upon innovation in 2007. The first ATM machine was installed in 1969, after all, and some of you may never have spoken to live bank teller. Are today’s modernizations really more disruptive than those hatched during the first half of the 20th century or the Industrial Revolution? It seems unlikely that Facebook is a bigger game-changer than the mass production of the automobile. . . . Question: Which one of these things is more likely to undermine economic activity: a) Twitter b) over 12,000 new pages of regulations added by this administration.”