Rise of the robots is crap
October 20, 2016 Leave a comment
From the Introduction to “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future” by Martin Ford:
Beyond the potentially devastating impact of long-term unemployment and underemployment on individual lives and on the fabric of society, there will also be a significant economic price. The virtuous feedback loop between productivity, rising wages, and increasing consumer spending will collapse. That positive feedback effect is already seriously diminished: we face soaring inequality not just in income but also in consumption. The top 5 percent of households are currently responsible for nearly 40 percent of spending, and that trend toward increased concentration at the top seems almost certain to continue. Jobs remain the primary mechanism by which purchasing power gets into the hands of consumers. If that mechanism continues to erode, we will face the prospect of having too few viable consumers to continue driving economic growth in our mass-market economy.
The author of this book thinks that businessmen will pay a lot for robots when nobody will buy what the robots make.
Who will voluntarily make that investment?
This book is full of blank statements like the one above. Questions like the one I asked aren’t raised or answered.
The author is very lefty. A typical extract from Chapter 2:
The precipitous decline in the power of organized labor is one of the most visible developments associated with the rightward drift that has characterized American economic policy over the past three decades. In their 2010 book Winner Take All Politics, political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson make a compelling case for politics as the primary driver of inequality in the United States. Hacker and Pierson point to 1978 as the pivotal year when the American political landscape began to shift under a sustained and organized assault from conservative business interests. In the decades that followed, industries were deregulated, top marginal tax rates on the wealthy and on corporations were cut to historic lows, and workplaces were made increasingly inhospitable to union organization. Much of this was driven not by electoral politics but, rather, by continuous lobbying on the part of business interests. As the power of organized labor withered, and as the number of lobbyists in Washington exploded, the day-to-day political warfare in the capital became increasingly asymmetric.
So businessmen asking not to have their money taxed away and their property controlled through regulation are assaulting the American political system? If you decline to pay taxes the govt uses force against you. If you don’t agree with a regulation and disobey it, the government may use force against you. Asking people not to use force against you isn’t assault.
“Rise of the robots” is a very bad book.