Summary: The new industrial revolution has begun, yet we have not yet begun to prepare. An article by Matthew Yglesias, neo-lib story-teller extraordinaire, shows why. He explains that faith-based economics assures us all will work out for the best.
Last week I posted Well-meant minimum wage increases will accelerate automation. On the same day Matthew Yglesias posted “Will minimum wage hikes lead to a huge boost in automation? Only if we’re lucky.” at VOX. He provides an unusually clear example of liberals’ love of just-so stories to explain the world in a pleasing fashion — much like the follies of conservatives that liberals (correctly) condemn (e.g., Megan McArdle).
Yglesias explains the new industrial revolution in simple and non-threatening terms. No need to worry, let alone act, since the experts are in control (it’s the neoliberals’ mantra). The opening states his thesis.
“…one major line of criticism from outlets like the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Forbes’s Tim Worstall is that big increases in pay floors only lead to job loss via automation. Both critics point to initiatives at McDonald’s and Wendy’s to automate more of the service process, and warn that robots, rather than workers, will be the real winners if liberals succeed in boosting minimum pay.
“This is doubly wrong. On the one hand, there’s little guarantee that increased minimum wages really will increase the pace at which labor-saving technology is developed. On the other hand, there’s no reason to think this would be a bad scenario.”
To draw these confident conclusions he closes his eyes and makes stuff up. This is a common response to the new industrial revolution, one large reason we are so poorly prepared for its obvious effects. Yglesias supports his first assertion by saying…