Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Curse of Machinery

Henry Hazlit: Economics in one lesson

When reading Economics in one lesson by Henry Hazlit i found the chapter labeled as "The Curse of Machinery" to be particularly thought provoking comprising of multiple different arguments as to if machines are creating a problematic rise in un employment, or are they beneficial for the economy overall and it's employment levels. The belief that machines are on net balance with un employment is used in thesis by Hazlit as the author believes that the benefit from machines offsets the small amount of un employment they create. Although it is not argued that machines cause a loss in jobs, it is noted with logic that they also create jobs such as the employment of the creators of the machines. If the owner of a company lays off workers to impose more machinery, he may be able to reach a higher level of efficiency leading him to spend money, furthering the economy overall in 3 ways: One by expanding operations and buying more machinery to increase output, secondly, he may invest his extra profits in other industries creating more jobs, and lastly, he will simply consume more thus leading to a necessity in service and consumption industries.

Those who seek to keep new machinery low and older less efficient jobs in practice are noted by the author as Technocrats. Technocrats ran to unions in order to save their jobs such as making un necessary workers put in hours of nothing productive just to remain on payroll. Technocrats argue for the use of labor-saving machines and their idea was shot down by a Nobel Prize economist who wrote a book stating "oppose the introduction of labor-saving machines in the underdeveloped countries on the ground that they decrease demand for labor! This powerful quote accompanied with lessons from our history over time as examples work to show that although some jobs are lost by new machinery, many more are created. Without innovation and creation of new machinery our economy will not be able to flourish as quickly and productively. The use of labor unions to create un necessary jobs is toxic to the economy overall and many credible view points over time have shown that the jobs lost by new machinery cause an increase the overall GDP and the labor force in the long run through maximized productivity and innovative approaches to a better tomorrrow.

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