Monday, April 4, 2016

Will minimum wage hikes lead to a huge boost in automation? Only if we're lucky.
What about the workers thrown out of jobs by the new robo-waiters? Many would get new jobs, though the way this would work is often ignored.
  • Most restaurants would keep longer hours (they're paying for the rent and the robots anyway), meaning many workers would get a raise and change shifts.
  • The advanced robo-restaurant technology would itself be a valuable American export good, and people would be employed in designing and selling it.
  • Some low-wage work would be reallocated out of the relatively low-social-value restaurant sector and into things like child care and home health assistance, for which there is ample demand.
  • Since poor people are now making more money, there will be opportunities to sell them things — things like restaurant meals! — that they couldn't previously afford, which in turn creates demand for new jobs.

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