2 thoughts on “Anticipating a Luddite Revival

  1. Pekka Lampelto

    You have written an excellent text where you were able to crystallize the ideas in short form that for me took a master’s thesis to express!: http://tampub.uta.fi/handle/10024/94436

    I fully share the view that it is capabilities that should be at the center of focus. Firms and goverments need to start mapping and comparing the required capabilities of today’s work to the projected capabilities of future’s technology and future’s work.

    If this development is going to mean the end of mass labor, it is arguably among the greatest changes for humanity since the diffusion of agriculture.

    Thanks and regards!

    Pekka Lampelto

  2. Steve Roth

    Exactly right.

    “Even if alternative jobs are available, how will the displaced workers acquire the necessary skills for the new tasks?”

    1. If not, there is only one answer: redistribution in it’s myriad forms. Minimum wages, EITC, government-paid health care and education, and etc. All based on a tax system that actually is progressive. (When local, state, and fed tax systems are combined, the U.S. system is not progressive at all above about $80K a year in income.)

    2. Even if they are available, it’s not clear that they’ll be available to many individuals. Median IQ, by definition, is 100. 50% of people are below that. Realistically, will they be able to do those “alternative jobs”?

    There is a limit to humans’ cognitive abilities. (A limit that the Luddites weren’t even close to.) There is no limit to cognitive skills that might be required to “complement’ the robots.

    Horses faced that cognitive limit in the first industrial revolution. They could never learn to drive tractors.

    They shoot horses, don’t they?


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