Economist Deirdre McCloskey will soon release her new book entitled "Bourgeois Equality:  How Ideas…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
Image of the Day: A Powerful Tribute to Free Market Capitalism

Economist Deirdre McCloskey will soon release her new book entitled "Bourgeois Equality:  How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World." It it, she describes the unprecedented transformation  and improvement of human wellbeing through the power of economic freedom, as illustrated by this graph:

. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="568" caption="The Power of Free Markets"][/caption]

. As McCloskey summarizes, that's the result of the free market revolution:

. [I]n the two centuries after 1800, the trade-tested goods and services available to the average person in Sweden or Taiwan rose by a factor of 30 or 100.  Not 100 percent, understand - a mere doubling - but in its highest estimate a factor of 100, nearly 10,000 percent, and at least a factor of 30…[more]

August 18, 2017 • 01:52 pm

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Robot Revolution Print
By Betsy McCaughey
Wednesday, April 12 2017
The economy thrives when businesses, not politicians, call the shots on technology.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is taking flak for saying he's "not worried at all" about robots displacing American workers. He's spot on. Robots will soon spark a productivity boom, leading to improved economic growth, higher wages and a higher standard of living. Just what America needs after a decade dragging along at 2 percent growth.

Scaremongers who warn that robots steal jobs are failing to envision the jobs of the future. A hotel worker who makes room service deliveries today may instead be monitoring or repairing a fleet of delivery robots in a few years. Not to mention the new jobs in every sector that will come with a surging economy, predict PricewaterhouseCoopers consultants. Robots are our friends.

And there's no going back, contrary to what critics like Microsoft mogul Bill Gates say. The tech billionaire now wants to put the brakes on the next innovation boom. He's proposing a hefty tax to penalize robots in the workplace. Sheer foolishness.

History is replete with examples of technophobes who tried in vain to stop progress. Two centuries ago, Luddites smashed machinery in British textile factories to protest industrialization. A century ago, trucks, tractors and cars put horses out to pasture and brought droves of people off the farm, sparking America's rise to economic dominance. And just 40 years ago, computers launched the tech boom. Now we're on the brink of the robot revolution.

Not a minute too soon. Economists have been griping about the stagnant world economy, claiming what's needed is a technological breakthrough. Well, here it is, assuming politicians don't try to kill it.

Robotics has already taken hold in manufacturing, especially the auto industry, where a single machine can be programmed to weld, paint and assemble, all without an operator. These machines are so efficient that U.S. factories are producing more with fewer workers on the assembly line. That gain in productivity translates into higher wages for the remaining factory workers and lower prices for consumers.

That's not lost on automakers in Japan, South Korea, Germany and China. They are also heavily investing in robots. If President Trump succeeds in bringing auto jobs back to the U.S., they won't be the same routine, repetitive tasks assembly line workers had in the past. These new jobs will require knowledge of computer-aided design, hydraulics and other complex engineering issues.

The same goes for the service sector, like retail shops, hotels, restaurants and warehouses. A staggering 94 percent of CEOs using robots say they've increased productivity. The end result: fewer jobs for unskilled workers, though in all likelihood more jobs overall as the economy grows, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The new jobs will likely pay more but demand more skills.

So it's urgent for workers and young people to get the skills needed for tomorrow's work environment. Left-wingers like Bernie Sanders are calling for "free" college at taxpayers' expense. But college is not the cure-all, especially for film and gender studies majors who shun courses that would give them work skills.

Tell that to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. In 2014, Cuomo launched a free in-state tuition program for students majoring in science and technology subjects. Now Cuomo's taking a bad idea  "free" college  and making it worse by dropping the STEM requirement.

Message to politicians: Focus on workplace readiness. It beats trying to block technological progress  a vain attempt to protect yesterday's jobs. Should Lincoln have opposed the Transcontinental Railroad to protect the jobs of stagecoach drivers?

When banks introduced ATMs, tellers panicked. But ATMs increased profits, and banks expanded. They then hired more tellers to do more complex tasks, as Gabriel Horwitz of the centrist Third Way think tank explains.

The economy thrives when businesses, not politicians, call the shots on technology. Embracing robots will create more goods and services, a bigger pie for all to share. Skills training will help everyone get a piece of the pie.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths.  
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM

Question of the Week   
How many times between 1996 and 2016 did the U.S. Congress pass a full federal budget instead of relying on continuing resolutions or omnibus spending bills?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"In 1993, when President Clinton signed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), its boosters claimed that it would solve, once and for all, a plethora of problems plaguing the nation's voter registration rolls.However, like many ballyhooed efforts, the Motor Voter Law, as it is best known, resulted in an even crazier system, with such absurdities as millions of people registered in more than one…[more]
 
 
—Robert Knight, American Civil Rights Union Senior Fellow
— Robert Knight, American Civil Rights Union Senior Fellow
 
Liberty Poll   

Are you generally satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things in the country are going now?