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We all know that some large portion of workers and their jobs are threatened—now and in the future—by new technologies. That’s why I’ve been increasingly writing about the conditions and consequences of robots and automation. According to McKinsey, “currently demonstrated technologies could automate 45 percent of the activities people are paid to perform and that about […]

As readers know, I have no particular nostalgia for industry. Or for the supposedly good manufacturing jobs that were the mainstay of the American Dream in the postwar period. That’s why I agree (in part) with Dietz Vollrath in his response to Nouriel Roubini’s dire warnings about the risk to blue-collar manufacturing jobs posed by the […]

We’ve been hearing this since the recovery from the Second Great Depression began: it’s going to be a Golden Age for workers! The idea is that the decades of wage stagnation are finally over, as the United States enters a new period of labor shortage and workers will be able to recoup what they’ve lost. […]

A couple of weeks ago, I published a guest post, by minimum-wage expert Dale Belman, about a controversial study of the effects of an earlier decision in Seattle to raise the local minimum wage to a level much higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Now, in Trump’s America, we’re seeing exactly the […]

Chico Harlan [ht: ja] describes the arrival of the first robots at Tenere Inc. in Dresser, Wisconsin: The workers of the first shift had just finished their morning cigarettes and settled into place when one last car pulled into the factory parking lot, driving past an American flag and a “now hiring” sign. Out came two […]

New technologies—automation, robotics, artificial intelligence—have created a specter of mass unemployment. But, as critical as I am of existing economic institutions, I don’t see that as the issue, at least at the macro level. The real problem is the distribution of the value that is produced with the assistance of the new technologies—in short, the […]

Today, thousands of scientists, science educators, and others are protesting in hundreds of cities around the world against what they see as a global political assault on science. According to Lucky Tran, who serves on the steering committee of the March for Science, We need another scientific revolution. The first scientific revolution transformed our understanding the natural […]

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin may not be worried. Nor, it seems, are other members of the economic and political elite. But the rest of us are—or we should be. As regular readers of this blog know (cf. all these posts), the robots are here and they’re rapidly replacing workers, thus leading to less employment, downward pressure […]

Millions of workers have been displaced by robots. Or, if they have managed to keep their jobs, they’re being deskilled and transformed into appendages of automated machines. We also know that millions more workers and their jobs are threatened by much-anticipated future waves of robotics and other forms of automation. But mainstream economists don’t want us to touch […]

There doesn’t seem to be anything remarkable about mainstream economists’ rejection of the new populism. Lest we forget, mainstream economists in the United States and Europe (and, of course, around the world) mostly celebrated current economic arrangements. As far as they were concerned, everyone benefits from contemporary globalization (the more trade the better) and from the […]