Il Re Ludd è “Ancora Morto

CAMBRIDGE – Sin dagli albori dell’era industriale, ricorre la paura che il cambiamento tecnologico generi disoccupazione di massa. Gli economisti neoclassici predissero che ciò non si sarebbe verificato, perché le persone avrebbero trovato altri lavori, anche se dopo un lungo periodo di adattamento doloroso. In linea di massima, la previsione si è rivelata corretta.

Duecento anni di innovazioni straordinarie fin dagli albori dell’era industriale hanno prodotto l’aumento del tenore di vita della gente comune in gran parte del mondo, senza alcuna tendenza ad un forte incremento della disoccupazione. Si, ci sono stati molti problemi, in particolare periodi di impressionanti disuguaglianze e di guerre sempre più terribili. A conti fatti, però, in gran parte del mondo, le persone vivono più a lungo, lavorano un numero di ore molto inferiore, e in generale conducono una vita più sana.

Ma non si può negare che al giorno d’oggi il cambiamento tecnologico ha avuto un’ accelerazione, che potrebbe portare a dislocazioni più radicali e profonde. In un articolo molto citato del 1983, il grande economista Wassily Leontief si preoccupava del fatto che il ritmo della moderna evoluzione tecnologica sia così veloce da far diventare molti lavoratori, incapaci di adeguarsi, semplicemente obsoleti, come i cavalli dopo l’avvento dell’automobile. Milioni di lavoratori sono forse destinati a diventare merce di scarto come una volta i cavalli destinati alle fabbriche di colla?

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