Sunday, March 8, 2015

Skidelsky on Automation, Economics and Ethics

The video below is a short but interesting talk by Robert Skidelsky, given on 15 October, 2014, on automation, economics and ethics, and invoking his book How Much is Enough? Money and the Good Life (2012).

It also refers to Keynes’ somewhat utopian ideas in his essay “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren” (Keynes 1930a and 1930b; Keynes 1933), which I have written about here.

Skidelsky points to something very important indeed: that the Austrian and neoclassical disutility of labour axiom is not universally true. There really are certain jobs that people find rewarding and that bring satisfaction or utility (Lavoie 1992: 218).

Moreover, Skidelsky also highlights the negative distributional effects of the neoliberal era, and the effects of automation and IT as a driver of modern structural unemployment, though some of his suggested polices to retard the rise of automation seem misguided to me.

Keynes, John Maynard. 1930a. “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren II,” The Nation and Athenaeum 48.3 (October 18): 96–98.

Keynes, John Maynard. 1930b. “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren II,” The Nation and Athenaeum 48.2 (October 11, 1930): 36–37.

Keynes, John Maynard. 1933. Essays in Persuasion. Macmillan, London.

Lavoie, Marc. 1992. Foundations of Post-Keynesian Economic Analysis. Edward Elgar Publishing, Aldershot, UK.

1 comment:

  1. It is suprising that it seems that Keynes had not heard of Ricardo's law of Rent , that is - when production provides for the necessities the income over and above that level goes to rents and land prices rather than a reduction in working hours.