The most important econ book of the year?
2012-08-28 15:27:36 GMT
I recommend to many of you the book RACE AGAINST THE MACHINE by Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. I'm trying to write something about the book, and I will get something out soon. But it struck me in the midst of my struggles to write a few pages, that this is an important book for those interested in the issue of cutting working hours, so I'm sending along this recommendation while my essay is still pending. This is a VERY important book. It is also PROFOUNDLY flawed. First the important part: In about 50 pages the authors, in a very high position in the academic world, make the case that technology, specifically digital technology, is poised to speed up and wipe out jobs. They provide an up-to-date description and analysis of technology which they believe may result in astoundingly large reductions in necessary human employees. The entire book is easy to read. Second, the deeply flawed part: It is just as important to understand WHY they fail so completely in policy recommendations. Once they've made the case that jobs may be disappearing, they turn to policies to respond to that. And here they really provide a textbook example of cognitive dissonance. Their policy recommendations, a numbered set totalling 19, starts with some on education. Recommending education for some social problem is the last refuge of scoundrels, not that these authors are such. The entire 19 could have been read on the editorial pages of the Wall St. Journal over the past few years. And of course they don't recommend cutting working hours, though one of the authors seems to be getting around to that. And as I wondered why these authors fell into the flaw, and separately as I've wondered why economists in general use only a sneer to dismiss cutting the working week as a response to unemployment, I think I now understand why. Standby for that. The book is available for digital download for $3.99. I have a paper copy and that was $14.99. Sadly, it is only available from Amazon -- another flaw in the book. For a very important book, a deeply flawed book, it is easy reading and the text is only 76 pages. There are a(Continue reading)