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Economists Pin More Blame on Tech for Rising Inequality


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At least half of the rising gap in wages among American workers over the last 40 years is attributable to the automation of tasks formerly done by human workers, especially men without college degrees, according to Daron Acemoglu, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Globalization and the weakening of unions have played roles. "But the most important factor is automation," Acemoglu says. And automation-fueled inequality is "not an act of God or nature," Acemoglu says. "It's the result of choices corporations and we as a society have made about how to use technology."

Other economists also argue that computerized machines and software, with a hand from policymakers, have contributed significantly to the yawning gaps in incomes in the United States. Their voices add to the chorus of criticism surrounding the Silicon Valley giants and the unchecked advance of technology.

Well-designed education and training programs for the jobs of the future are essential, Acemoglu says. "We need to redirect technology so it works for people, not against them."

From The New York Times
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