To BOT, or not to BOT ... that is (no longer) the question

Author:Pankhuri Dutt - Daniela Muhaj
Pages:11-13
 
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Photo: Michael Spilotro
11IMF RESEARCH perspectives | imf.org/researchbulletin
TO BOT, TO BOT
OR NOT
...that is
(no longer)
the question
The fear of labor being displaced
by technology in the ranks of
production factors has haunted us
since the early days of the industrial
revolution. In the early nineteenth
century, the low-productivity British
cottage industry was adversely
affected by an inux of capital
investments in power looms and
weaving machines in big factories.
However, research shows that the
wages of factory workers increased
while those of independent artisans
fell signicantly. Evidence has
been similarly perplexing when
we examine more recent cases of
automation. For instance, despite
the fear of joblessness due to
automation in the United States
in the 1950s and early 1960s, a
Pankhuri Dutt
Daniela Muhaj
pdutt@imf.org
dmuhaj@imf.org
Illustration: Stefan Lipsky

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