Higher Productivity Is Good for Workers

Robert D. Atkinson July 25, 2019
July 25, 2019

For most of our history Americans have supported increased productivity, even if it led to economic disruption and worker displacement. Unfortunately, over the last decade that support has weakened. Productivity gains are now portrayed as a tool for greedy corporations to jack up their profits at the expense of workers. Moreover, workers are now seen as so fragile that all automation must be feared. However, as Rob Atkinson writes for National Review, higher productivity is good for workers. Rather than an obstacle, automation is key to improving worker earnings. When companies invest in tools like robots, they usually cut costs and pass a significant share of those savings to consumers in the form of lower prices (with some going to workers as higher wages and to shareholders in the form of higher profits). These savings are not buried, but rather are recycled. As they are spent or invested, they create additional jobs.