Fears of Technological Unemployment: 200 Years of Visual Evidence

15 12 2016

Every few years, fears of technological unemployment come back to the fore. The latest round of debate in the media about job losses and the social dislocation caused by automation suggests to me that we are at that time in the cycle once again. (See here, here, and here). The idea of technological unemployment often surfaces in discussions of the proposed universal basic income (a benefit to be paid to all citizens).  I just discovered a great blog post in which Louis Anslow shares images and text from the past two centuries that capture how previous generations thought about technological unemployment. He writes:


Tchnology has always triggered fears of mass unemployment. In 1811 it was the Luddites, who assumed they were done for. In the 1930s, it was vaunted economist John Maynard Keynes, who implicated technology as one reason for the unemployment of the Great Depression.

Check out the great images he has found.






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