Matt Vidal’s recent posting raised a number of important issues. One he did discuss is the role of gender—namely the way it patterns where you work—in manufacturing employment.
The Luddite sees industrial robots everywhere and, fearing negative effects on employment, begins to rage against the machines.
Seeing the same robots, the (liberal) economist exclaims, “What marvelous labor-saving technology. This will maximize productivity, and jobs that are lost in this factory will be replaced with high-tech jobs elsewhere in the economy!”
The Marxist sighs, and responds, “Is this some sort of joke? In the US today, seventeen percent of the American workforce – 27 million individual workers – is unemployed or underemployed.”
I imagined this scenario as I read the most recent entry in the New York Times’ consistently excellent series on the iEconomy, which focused on a new generation of robots being deployed in manufacturing.