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路德国王仍未醒

美国剑桥—自工业化时代萌芽以来,一个一再发生的担忧是技术变革会导致大规模失业。新古典经济学家预言这不会发生,因为人们会找到其他工作,只是痛苦调整的时间可能会比较长。总的来说,这一预言是对的。

自工业化时代以来,200多年的创新史为世界各地的普通人创造了更高的生活水平,与此同时,失业并没有出现大幅增加的趋势。但是,问题仍然很多,最突出的要数不平等性的波动和越来越可怕的战争。不过,平心而论,放眼全世界,人们的寿命更长了,工作时间更短了,生活也更健康了。

但不可否认,当今技术变迁加速并从根本上深化了变革。在一片被广为引用的1983年的文章中,著名经济学家里昂惕夫表达了一种忧虑:现代技术变迁的速度太快,以至于许多工人来不及做出调整,他们将会被时代抛弃,就像汽车的出现宣告马匹退出历史舞台一样。真有数百万计的工人会经历这一命运?

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