Thursday, December 25, 2014

Technology and disemployment fact of the day

Nouriel Roubini has an essay on the impact of automation and technology on the economy, in particular the labor market. He points to three "downside biases" associated with the technologies associated with the "third industrial revolution" - capital-intensive (favoring those with money and resources), skill-biased (favoring those already having a high degree of technical proficiency), and labor saving (reducing total number of skilled and unskilled workers in the economy). The example of e-books and e-publishing is illustrative,
Think of what e-books have already done: with a click, you can now download almost any book for about $10 on your iPad or Amazon Kindle. This is a great service and convenience for consumers. But most of the jobs in the printing and distribution of books—and soon in the newspaper and magazine industry—are already gone. And so are tons of jobs in the pulp paper industry... 

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