Automation and Employment: a new book

This Sunday’s New York Times book review had a cover story on Rise of the Robots, a new book by Martin Ford. Ehrenreich describes how Ford is talking through the ongoing threat to jobs that is posed by automation technologies.  Refreshingly, she dives into the question of “innovating our way out of this,” recognizing, as Ford does, that innovation alone is no longer going to compensate for all the job loss invoked through automation that increases company productivity with scant employment requirements. I will order and read Rise of the Robots and provide my own analysis in short order.

Ehrenreich explains that Ford’s proposed solution, a $10,000 minimum annual salary for all, is the best our clever but feeble minds can put together just now. I beg to differ. This minimum salary does not solve the problem- far from it. We need livelihoods and senses of purpose; and we need to rethink the externalities of automation, and how we distribute their true cost in society.

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