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#8 - A Critical Perspective on Automation in the Growth Economy P.1

Updated: May 24, 2020

Episode 8 is part one of our exploration of Aaron Benanav’s critique of the so-called “automation discourse.” But first, let’s recap: in Episode 7, Jason broke down local political discourses on automation and offshoring. Why does Andrew Yang believe that automation killed 4,000,000 manufacturing jobs in rural America? Why does Elizabeth Warren believe that offshoring has been far more destructive than automation? To answer these questions, we conducted a lit review of recent academia on the economic effects of technology; identified potentially problematic data collection techniques; and compared competing interpretations of GDP and unemployment trends. But today, Juan Pablo throws “a monkey wrench into the works” by introducing Benanav’s concept of “system overcapacity.” Is it possible that the local political discourses on automation and offshoring are missing the point? How might global excess supply contribute to waning labor demand? From Benanav’s perspective, neither automation nor offshoring is the root cause of unemployment; rather, both automation and offshoring are market responses to waning labor demand. Join us for part one of our discussion. Part two will post in a few weeks.

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