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Economic Possibilities for Ourselves

Although we have not yet reached the point where automation threatens to displace vast swaths of the labor force, a narrative of techno-disruption will continue to frame debates about work, education, and economy policy. That narrative should make allowance not just for the future of work, but also for the possibility of leisure.

LONDON – The most depressing feature of the current explosion in robot-apocalypse literature is that it rarely transcends the world of work. Almost every day, news articles appear detailing some new round of layoffs. In the broader debate, there are apparently only two camps: those who believe that automation will usher in a world of enriched jobs for all, and those who fear it will make most of the workforce redundant.