Automation: Its Impact on Economic Growth and Stability

Automation: Its Impact on Economic Growth and Stability

Automation: Its Impact on Economic Growth and Stability

Automation: Its Impact on Economic Growth and Stability

Excerpt

It is a widely held contention that recent and continuing changes in production methods in the American economy have created a national problem. Congressional hearings and many private conferences have been devoted to studying the implications of these changes; newspapers, magazines and speech-makers have explained, extolled and very probably exaggerated their consequences.

This pamphlet is a survey intended to provide the reader with a background for the consideration of policy questions which relate to automation. Section II indicates the problems attendant to the definition of automation. The conclusion which emerges is, strangely, that much vagueness surrounds the word's general usage. Section III suggests the magnitude of potential economic growth which will result from the continuation of technological progress. Its purpose is to emphasize the importance of automation in the long-term improvement of economic conditions.

The problem of business cycles and periodic unemployment is treated in Section IV. The general argument advanced is that, in total, technological progress is a creator of employment opportunities, not a destroyer of prosperity. Maintaining good business conditions would be more difficult in a static, changeless world than in a dynamic and progressive economy.

The concluding section outlines some of the other problems said to be associated with automation and summarizes the main conclusions of the text.

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