We small-brain folks on the Right just don’t get. You know who I’m talking about; folks like me. We believe in free market capitalism and silly things like the economic law of supply and demand. We believe that government interfering in the market place with their fiscal and monetary polices just screw things up by their non-stop efforts to pick the winners and losers. We look at the declining workforce participation rates, the declining velocity of money, the rising fraction of the workforce working only part-time or in low income jobs, and we look at the trends in computerization and robotics and we worry about what kind of future our grandchildren will have. But, the good folks out in Leftfield laugh at us small-brain folks. They are the least bit worried about automation and robotics taking away the jobs of the future. For example, Lydia Depillis recent wrote an article for the Washington Post about eight ways robots are taking over the work of humans and Dean Baker of the Leftfield think-tank, Center For Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) thinks Ms. Depillis is an economic Luddite. Baker believes our current economic woes are due to robots not taking our jobs away quickly enough.
On the subject of robotics, Mr. baker says:
There can of course be issues of distribution. If the one percent are able to write laws that allow them to claim everything the robots produce then they can make most of us very poor. But this is still a story of society of plenty. We can have all the food, shelter, health care, clean energy, etc. that we need; the robots can do it for us.
And, about the ever-growing mountain of debt, no problem says Mr. Baker. The government only needs to print more money.
Okay, now everyone is completely appalled. The government is just going to print trillions of dollars? That will send inflation through the roof, right? Not in the world where robots are doing all the work it won’t. If we print money it will create more demands for goods and services, which the robots will be happy to supply. As every intro econ graduate knows, inflation is a story of too much money chasing too few goods and services. But in the robots do everything story, the goods and services are quickly generated to meet the demand. Where’s the inflation, robots demanding higher wages?
So, you see, small-brain people like me are making much ado about nothing. All we need to do is build a fire under the technical experts to invent those robots faster and turn the money printing presses on to warp-drive and we can all live happily ever after.
And, maybe pigs really will learn to fly.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?