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Progress Paradox Interview
Old 07-12-2005, 09:26 PM   #1
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Progress Paradox Interview

I haven't read the book yet but it's in my top ten book list - here's a preview by the author himself.

http://www.pbs.org/thinktank/transcript1105.html

I remember growing up reading 20 year old issues of popular mechanics thinking that back then it's just starting to pay off - and that was 20 years ago. The payoff being that inspiring dream of automatos giving us that much needed option of leisure time to pursue one's path. I'm still waiting...

In one warped sense, i attribute the higher valuations in the US market based on this historically high period of productvity - which isn't going down in anytime soon. Once the US companies starts exploiting green energy in a good way, there'll be another great surge. But that's another story...
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Re: Progress Paradox Interview
Old 07-12-2005, 09:59 PM   #2
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Re: Progress Paradox Interview

Well, I suppose it's worth mentioning that "historically high productivity" was one of the factors that kicked off the Great Depression.* * *Speculation in the stock market was high due to all the wonderful new stuff, and then inventories started growing too large, unemployment increased and the term "technological unemployment" was coined due to outsourcing factory automation, taxes were dropped to an all-time low, the gap between rich and poor widened substantially, and then BOOM!
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Re: Progress Paradox Interview
Old 07-12-2005, 10:48 PM   #3
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Re: Progress Paradox Interview

These days high productivity sustains the economy without the need for commensurate job growth or at the very least, meaningful job growth.
So how long can that last?
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Re: Progress Paradox Interview
Old 07-13-2005, 01:10 AM   #4
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Re: Progress Paradox Interview

I envision that it'll eventually stop at the limit where the machines actually acquire their own raw materials and out pops the widget.

... but that's in the limit, but you can gauge how far that'll add to the productivity gains by adjusting the extra earnings of getting rid of the entire work force. There's still the cost of the machines, raw materials (rights at least), and i guess marketing and distribution. My ballpark estimate on the average is a bound of about 25% equivalent increase in productivity ... in the limit (especially considering health care and pensions).

I think, as pointed, out that that optimism contributed to the 1929 event - but the means was not present readily. I look at the NASDAQ promises of 2000 just showing the producivity dream emerged again with the advent of the understandings of the possibilities of computer aided productivity - but the party was stronger than the effort. But then again, who doesn't want a good party!
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