In today’s (Sunday, June 22, 2014) New York Times Steven Rattner Has a column that at first appears to get the economics right, but blows it at the end. Most of the column is an explanation of why increased automation will not cause unemployment. He describes past fears of automation leading to unemployment, going back to 1589, and shows that these fears have always been incorrect. (He did not mention President Obama’s fear of ATM machines.) But at the very end of the column, he presents what he believes to be the cause of unemployment. “That honor belongs to globalization, and particularly the ability of companies to substitute far less expensive and increasingly skilled labor in developing countries.” Of course, this claim is just as absurd as the claim that automation is causing unemployment. Mr. Rattner is a smart man, although not an economist, and it is not clear whether his misguided diagnosis is due to ignorance or to politics — an unwillingness to blame increased regulation and particularly Obamacare for the slow growth in employment.
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Paul H. Rubin, More bad economics from the Times, Truth on the Market (June 22, 2014), https://truthonthemarket.com/2014/06/22/more-bad-economics-from-the-times/