, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
ECONOMIC GROWTH and technological change has always destroyed huge numbers of jobs in old industries while creating employment in new industries:
* Peasant farmers (enclosure)
* Spinners (steam engines)
* Weavers (power looms)
* Canal workers (railways)
* Coal miners (automation)
* Stokers (oil/gas replace coal)
* Railway workers (automation)
* Secretaries and clerical workers (computers)
* Printers, typesetters (automation, computers)
* Telephone exchange, telegraph workers (automation)
* Switchboard operators (automation)
* Stevedores (containerisation)
Economic growth, productivity gains and technological change have eliminated occupations which employed tens of millions of people over the last 250 years, and the future is unlikely to be any different
Employment change causes immense hardship for those in the industries affected. Standard working lifetime (40-50 years) is very long compared with the rate of technical change. Very difficult for affected older workers to retrain and find jobs with equivalent pay and status.
But impossible to stop technological/productivity change and associated employment transitions if we want to continue to raise living standards. We have to manage those transitions rather than trying to resist them, and that includes focusing on helping those worst impacted
We cannot and should not try to STOP the process of technological change, which has always been very painful for some social groups, but we MUST think hard about the distribution consequences and how to help the worst affected groups cope
That’s why I spend a lot of time reading books like this one (originally published in 1926 and focused on economic change and labour displacement caused by the early industrial revolution):
COLUMN-Energy, employment and economic growth (something I wrote earlier this year): reuters.com/article/us-glo…
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