Population and Automation

On the one hand, people are panicking about falling birth rates in Europe and on the other hand it seems very clear that automation is going to be destroying millions of jobs. Don’t these two factors wash out in the final analysis?

Why are falling birth rates a problem if there’s going to be less work anyway? Why is there so much need to increase population everywhere? So that more people will have nothing purposeful with which to occupy their time?

I’ve been saying for quite some time that the new economic challenge is to make an economy work with fewer people. This is a good chance to try that out but instead the powers that be are intent on making sure that the world gets more and more crowded even though there’s going to be fewer and fewer jobs to occupy the burgeoning population.

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1 Response to Population and Automation

  1. matt says:

    great point cliff. I have been making this literally for a few years. Most “regular people” (non-politician and academic types) seem to get the basic logic, but are only worried if their job will be replaced by automation. This rationally makes sense on a sort of level because they care (as they should) about their livelihood and about their family being able to live the same life they have.

    From a political level it makes all the sense in the world that this will SOLVE problems in the long-term. The transition is and will definitley be messy and not efficient. I am totally okay with being worried about the transition to more automation (maybe 15-30 -50 years? lots of uncertainty), but again i think many politicians and some academics are too focused on where the puck is vs where it is going (the future solution of automation making up for less workers).

    Its great to hear someone make this point besides me 🙂

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