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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 07 novembre 2011 alle ore 14:21.


Unemployment resulting from automation in the Chinese manufacturing sector could ultimately complicate China’s efforts to rebalance its economy toward increased domestic consumption – an objective that most economists agree is critical for the country’s long-term prosperity. If consumers see only an economy in which jobs are relentlessly automated away, and if it appears that additional education or training provides little protection, they will adjust their discretionary spending accordingly. And, given their concerns about long-term income continuity, traditional policies like stimulus spending or tax cuts would be ineffective.

So, are we approaching the tipping point where automation fuels structural unemployment?

Most economists object that the very assumption that such a point exists is speculative. But when one considers today’s advanced-country malaise – years of stagnating or declining wages for average workers, growing income inequality, increasing productivity, and consumption supported by debt rather than income – there certainly seems to be ample reason to speculate. Let us hope that a rigorous analysis of historical economic data does not arrive after the tipping point has been reached.

Martin Ford is the author of The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology, and the Economy of the Future.

Copyright: Project Syndicate,


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