Technology, employment and the market economy

China Diapers

Established member
536 35
I was reading this (FT Alphaville » 3D Printing: Rise of the machines ) article which reminded me of something which has been bugging me for a while.

I read a book called "Economics in one lesson" a while back where the author argues that everytime people are scared about workers being displaced by a new technology the workers are absorbed elsewhere in the economy.

While I can see this has been the case in the past I can't bring myself to believe this can continue, with 3d printing, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology about to really take off I think we will reach a point of no return where the majority of work will be done by machines cheaper and more efficiently that by humans.

I don't think this will even necessarily be a bad thing. But what may happen is you have a situation where there is a class of property owners living very comfortably and a class of workers with only their labour to sell but no market for their labour.

Alternatively we may see an end to private ownership of the means of production, but if the state takes control of the economy on behalf of the people that's giving the state an aweful lot of power, isn't it?

Does anybody have any alternative scenario's?

China Diapers

Established member
536 35
I know nobody else is interested in this stuff (must be because I work in technology) but I read a book on the subject "The Lights in The Tunnel" if anybody is every interested. It describes the problem pretty well and suggests something akin to a citizens dividend to be paid out of a new tax on corporations who presumably will be making record amounts of cash with their every shrinking wage bills.


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To some extent we've seen it happening already when the British economy gradually switched from manufacturing, which spread the wealth a long way down because of the number of workers, to a finance and services economy where the wealth doesn't spread down nearly as far. All kick started by Thatcher and the erstwhile main manufacturing areas (mainly up North) are still suffering.

So your fears are very real - in future about 10000 people coining it and the other millions all on benefit.
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