Friday, August 14, 2015

The Future of Work and the Demise of Scholarship

I've pointed out before that the future of work has a chequered past. Evidently it also has a questionable present and future.

Paul Saffo teaches forecasting at Stanford University and chairs the Future Studies and Forecasting track at Singularity University. In his contribution to the "Future of Work" project of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, Saffo wrote:
"In 1930, Keynes observed that technological unemployment was a self-solving problem. On balance new technologies create more jobs than they destroy."
Sandwichman call bullshit. Saffo's claim couldn't be further from the truth. In 1934, Keynes gave a BBC radio address titled "Is the Economic System Self-Adjusting?" His answer was "No." The "create more jobs than they destroy" refrain is a version of what is otherwise known as Say's Law, which Keynes paraphrase in his General Theory as "Supply creates its own demand." Keynes's general theory was a debunking of Say's Law.