Weaken Workers? Or Their Children?

Senator Obama got himself into a jam today with these words: “Globalization and technology and automation all weaken the position of workers.” Oh yeah? Don Boudreaux points out the obvious problem. The things that Senator Obama laments are the things that improve people’s lives – even Senator Obama’s.

You can’t have progress without new and better things replacing older inferior things. This is bad news for the old industries and workers employed in old industries. But would it be better off if we had outlawed refrigeration in order to keep the ice man employed?

I doubt that Senator Obama is actually opposed to progress. Maybe he just wants to slow it down. Or maybe he wants to provide mitigation for the people who are adversely impacted. But any mitigation diverts resources from the system that produces progress – so it’s just another way of slowing down progress.

So here’s the thing to think about: should we slow the rate of progress in order to reduce the disruption to people ensnared in the “old ways”? If we do, we will pay a price. Our children, and their children, will pay a bigger price. Think it through.

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