Economics Technology

HBR: “Why Trump Doesn’t Tweet About Automation”

In case you missed it, Babson professor Thomas Davenport (author of Only Humans Need Apply, which I reviewed here), has a good piece on Trump lack of focus on automation in HBR.


To be fair, it’s not just Trump who finds this a difficult enemy to battle; other politicians don’t engage with it much either. And there are several good reasons why Trump and other politicians don’t tackle the automation issue. One is that automation usually comes with corporate investment rather than cutbacks. Note that United Technologies announced a $16 million investment in the Indiana Carrier plant. Who wants to criticize that?

The ultimate goal of automation technologies is increased productivity. Productivity increases are a primary factor in long-term economic growth, and U.S. productivity growth has been unimpressive over the last decade. So the economy needs more productivity growth, not less. Moreover, individual businesses usually need to improve productivity to survive over the long run. Any politician who wants to appeal to the business community would be reluctant to provoke a war against automation.

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