Bring on the Robots, Please!

Rob Atkinson refutes an old and pernicious economic idea that technology kills jobs in the Huffington Post. Whether it is hardcore or soft, he says, this Neo-Luddism is dangerous. It leads companies to slow the pace of adopting new technologies to automate work as they fear political and consumer backlash. Even more importantly, it leads policymakers to throttle back on policies that foster and enable automation. When an organization uses technology to replace jobs, it does so to lower prices (or wages). These savings or added wages are not buried under a mattress. They are used to buy other things, in a wide array of industries. That is why higher productivity always has and always will lead to increases in demand, not decreases, and why it creates employment instead of undercutting it.