luddites!

der Mouse mouse at Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA
Thu Oct 13 19:47:17 CDT 2005


> [Luddites] were anti-[losing]-your-job-due-to-technology.  They
> didn't think it was right that 10 people working should become 3
> people working just because a new machine was installed...

> (and, I think they had a point.

I'm not sure which side I agree with (which I suppose means I don't
really agree with either side).  To the right, I see no reason an
employer should have to pay 10 people to do something today just
because 10 people were needed to do it yesterday.  But to the left, it
can be, and often is, a societal evil in automating jobs out of
existence.

> I think economists are all smoking really good dope when they talk
> about mythical 'productivity gains')

I'm not so sure.  I suspect it's a question of definition - how do you
define "productivity"?  If you take the naïve definition and say that a
factory's productivity is the amount of product it produces in a given
amount of time, then yes, you can *easily* have productivity gains when
automating a bunch of jobs out of existence.  For more complex
definitions of "productivity", I suspect similar things can still
happen - after all, when all you measure is productivity, there are a
whole bunch of things you *aren't* measuring.

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