That the machine does in fact displace workers had been directly experienced during the Industrial Revolution by hand loom weaver and Luddite. Yet economists have always persisted in consoling workers with the optimistic notion that in the long run new techniques increase output sufficiently to create jobs for the displaced. Unfortunately, they failed to add that the process might take decades; in the meantime, the displaced have had to get along as best they could.
Now, before we begin with our analysis, let me offer several observations to avoid misunderstanding. What concerns us here is the problem of automation in the perspective of long-term change. No doubt many of the effects of technical change may be overcome by a high ...
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