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The Technology Trap

Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation

Carl Benedikt Frey

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Sozialwissenschaften, Recht, Wirtschaft / Wirtschaft

Beschreibung

"Made me look at the industrial revolution, invention, sleeping beauties, contexts and the forces that shape our societies differently."—David Byrne, New York Times Book Review

How the history of technological revolutions can help us better understand economic and political polarization in the age of automation

From the Industrial Revolution to the age of artificial intelligence, The Technology Trap takes a sweeping look at the history of technological progress and how it has radically shifted the distribution of economic and political power among society’s members. As Carl Benedikt Frey shows, the Industrial Revolution created unprecedented wealth and prosperity over the long run, but the immediate consequences of mechanization were devastating for large swaths of the population. Middle-income jobs withered, wages stagnated, the labor share of income fell, profits surged, and economic inequality skyrocketed. These trends, Frey documents, broadly mirror those in our current age of automation, which began with the Computer Revolution.

Just as the Industrial Revolution eventually brought about extraordinary benefits for society, artificial intelligence systems have the potential to do the same. But Frey argues that this depends on how the short term is managed. In the nineteenth century, workers violently expressed their concerns over machines taking their jobs. The Luddite uprisings joined a long wave of machinery riots that swept across Europe and China. Today’s despairing middle class has not resorted to physical force, but their frustration has led to rising populism and the increasing fragmentation of society. As middle-class jobs continue to come under pressure, there’s no assurance that positive attitudes to technology will persist.

The Industrial Revolution was a defining moment in history, but few grasped its enormous consequences at the time. The Technology Trap demonstrates that in the midst of another technological revolution, the lessons of the past can help us to more effectively face the present.

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Saving, New class, Hunter-gatherer, Poverty, Population growth, Supply (economics), Supervisor, Tax, Population decline, Comparative advantage, Year, Economy, Recession, Measures of national income and output, Great Leap Forward, Percentage, Assembly line, Shortage, Friedrich Engels, Working class, Requirement, Economic interventionism, General purpose technology, Wealth, Labour movement, Industrial Revolution, The New York Times, Mechanization, Productivity, Technological change, Livelihood, Politics, Workforce, Artisan, Legislation, Emerging technologies, Welfare state, Mass production, Manufacturing, Economic history, Populism, Unemployment benefits, Economist, Entrepreneurship, Electricity, Income distribution, International Chamber of Commerce, Demand For Labor, Political economy, Economic growth, Wage, Industrial society, Thomas Newcomen, Hollowing Out, Globalization, Americans, Trade union, Malthusian trap, Creative destruction, Computer, Thomas Edison, Power loom, Second Industrial Revolution, Luddite, Industrialisation, Thomas Robert Malthus, Industry, Steam engine, Economic inequality, Employment, Skilled worker, Union density, Capitalism, Agriculture, Competition, Middle class, Gross domestic product, Engineering, Technology, Human capital, The Economist, American middle class, Bargaining power, Bourgeoisie, Income, Mining, Slowdown, Technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Calculation, Unemployment, Factory, Factory system, The Great Stagnation, Backwardness, Household, Economics, Electrification, Laborer, Welfare