Král ludditů je stále mrtev

CAMBRIDGE – Od začátku průmyslové éry se stále vracejí obavy, že technické pokroky přivodí masovou nezaměstnanost. Neoklasičtí ekonomové předpověděli, že k tomu nedojde, protože lidé si pracovní uplatnění najdou, byť možná po dlouhém období bolestivé korekce. Celkově vzato se tato prognóza ukázala jako správná.

Dvě století dech beroucích inovací od počátku průmyslového věku přinesla rostoucí životní úrovně pro obyčejné lidi ve velké části světa, bez výrazně rostoucího trendu nezaměstnanosti. Ano, objevila se řada problémů, zejména návaly šokující nerovnosti a čím dál děsivějších válek. V úhrnu ale lidé ve velké části světa žijí déle, pracují mnohem méně hodin a obecněji žijí zdravějším životem.

Nelze však popřít, že běh technologické změny se v přítomnosti zrychlil, což může vést k hlubším a závažnějším narušením rovnováhy. V často citovaném článku z roku 1983 vynikající ekonom Wassily Leontief vyjádřil obavu, že tempo technologické změny je tak překotné, že mnozí pracující se nedokážou přizpůsobit a jednoduše zastarají, podobně jako koně po vzestupu automobilu. Jsou miliony pracujících na cestě do kafilérie?

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