Monday, September 12, 2016

Branko Milanovic — Robotics or fascination with anthropomorphism

Branko tells us to get over it. Technology results in greater prosperity if distributed socially and more potential for leisure including for creative pursuits. This is what intelligent beings do. Robots are our friends.
Robotics leads us to face squarely three fallacies.
Global Inequality
Robotics or fascination with anthropomorphism
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Andrew Anderson said...

Government subsidies for private credit creation mean workers can be and have been disemployed with automation financed with what is, in essence, their own legally stolen purchasing power.

Ryan Harris said...

Just as when agriculture and manufacturing became mechanized and less labor intensive, there will be disruption again as the labor in the administrative and service industries are eviscerated.

From teachers to vehicle drivers, their days are numbered. No one knows exactly how it unfolds or when, but like cattle going up their final shoot to the hamburger factory, it will be quick and painless and society will find a new use for them.

Bob said...

Hey, business as usual. Why even bother?

Ryan Harris said...

Because there remains alot of work to be done to provide the basic necessities to a couple billion more people who are currently deprive. It is not time for resting, yet.

Bob said...

Just provide them with a bolt to the head. Quick and painless.

Business as usual means continuing on the same path. The next 40 years will be a continuation of the past 40 years. We can't predict how it will play out, except that it'll all work out for the best. Because we know that the past always repeats itself.

Incentives exist for automation, so automation will proceed. Yet the author is worried about luddites stopping the process. He's not worried about mass unemployment, or the rise of the gig economy, or inequality. He doesn't mention the need for any policy changes. A job guarantee? Universal income? Immigration reform? Fair trade in place of free trade? Meh. Don't worry about it! Those are unimportant details. Just keep doing whatever it is we've been doing and everything will work out. Progress is inevitable. Growth is unstoppable. Robotics/automation will create the jobs that free trade failed to create. Renewable energy will allow us to fulfill our limitless needs with limitless energy.

Why even bother with that tar baby we call politics? Just tune in, do your gig(s), and enjoy the ride.

Time for rest? You bet it is. This guy is the biggest apologist for doing nothing that I've ever seen.

Ignacio said...

Bob nails it.

Sometimes I wonder what goes inside the brain of an economist, is like they lack any sort of fundamental logic.

Noah Way said...

"greater prosperity if distributed socially"

The only thing I know of that is distributed socially is disease.

Neil Wilson said...

"and more potential for leisure including for creative pursuits"

Using what for money? Leisure is work you pay to do. Work is leisure you get paid to do.

People need something to do with their day, and complete coverage of that doesn't pop up by magic.

I always find it entertaining that you here people moan about automation with one breath and then talk about the dependency ratio with the next - all while constantly raising the retirement age.

They can't both be right.

Ignacio said...

Raising retirement age while having record youth unemployment is one of the most nonsensical things going n with nowadays policy.

Tom Hickey said...

Neil, a lot of the growth in jobs in the US has been recreation and leisure related. And a lot of creative people are doing quite well as a result of it. While some of the high pay is in this industry, it is not only the celebs that are making a living off it.

I was listening to NPR while driving not long ago and a rather obscure indie musician was being interviewed about a song of his that had gone viral. At one point the host asked him if he minded divulging much he made off it a a buck a pop. He responded, "I don't mind at all. 500 K."

Random said...

Hello Tom,

How are those emails I asked for going? Have Corbyn or McDonnell replied?

Tom Hickey said...

I sent them.

Automatic replies.

Random said...

Grrr. That doesn't sound good.

Tom Hickey said...

Its' the same in the US, Random. If there is a "reply," it's boilerplate written by a staffer.

I don't see much hope for progressivism based on MMT happening anywhere.Even if the leadership would want to do it, it would be huge step in educating the public. I think that if it is going to happen it will take other great depression to create the conditions for it. Voters are just not smart enough to get it and it goes counter to their programming. So they will continue shooting themselves in the head.

Andrew Anderson said...

I always find it entertaining that you here people moan about automation with one breath and then talk about the dependency ratio with the next - all while constantly raising the retirement age.

They can't both be right.

I don't complain about automation; I complain that it is and has been unethically FINANCED.

So now the disemployed depend on government largess to ameliorate (partially) for what was legally stolen from them - legally stolen thanks to bank supporters like yourself, Neil. You should be ashamed.