I think Rep. Jesse Jackson is getting an unfair rap for his comment that iPads might contribute to higher unemployment. Yes, it was a melodramatic argument about the impact of disruptive technology. But please, everybody, the man is not trying to ban iPads. Quite the opposite, Rep. Jackson, the proud owner of an iPad himself, recently proposed the federal government buy one for every student in America! (That kind of scaled demand would probably bring down the price of iPads, which would kill even more publishing jobs, but that's another story.)
Anyway, this story falls into one of my favorite categories: a stupid newspeg used to set up smart commentary. Riffing on the Jackson comment, here's a good bit from Matt Yglesias on the impact on technology and productivity on unemployment:
The rise of Quark XPress and Adobe PageMaker really did put people out of work, just as electrical lights put candlemakers out of work, and ebook publishing will decrease employment in book retailing. But the point is that when you take the long view it's not as if steadily increasing productivity leads to steadily declining employment--what it leads to is higher average output and rising living standards. But it only accomplishes that if the policymakers charged with macroeconomic stabilization use fiscal and monetary policy to ensure that there's a level of aggregate demand that's commensurate with our productive capacity.
Read the full post at Yglesias' blog.
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