True, the World Economic Forum isn't grasping this economics stuff either but that's no excuse. The BBC's remit is to explain to us proles isn't it?
Half of all work tasks will be handled by machines by 2025 in a shift likely to worsen inequality, a World Economic Forum report has forecast.
Machines already do more than half the work. Obviously, this is as clear as the scythe that isn't in your hand right now. Think back a millennium. 90% of the population lives and dies working in the fields by hand. The 10% we read about in the history books - doin' all that fightin' and conquerin' 'n' crusades, cathedrals 'n' stuff is just that, 10% of the population. Somewhere between then and now we get the horse collar, combines, tractors and the rest and now 2% of us (for the UK) work in the fields. We've already replaced 88% of the worlds jobs with machines that is. In just this one sector too. This applies to everything as well. The vacuum cleaner has replaced the housemaid, it's machines that get phossy jaw from matchmaking now.
The basic contention, that machines doing half the work is something we're awaiting in our future is nonsense from the very start.
The think tank said a "robot revolution" would create 97 million jobs worldwide but destroy almost as many, leaving some communities at risk.
Routine or manual jobs in administration and data processing were most at threat of automation, WEF said.
But it said...
It's all terrible that we measure the economy by what is actually produced, consumed, in the economy. We must, of course, start to measure it some other way. So says Diane Coyle, of Cambridge:
There is nothing like the biggest economic crisis for 300 years – not to mention months of lockdown – to make people ask some fundamental questions. Why are “key workers” some of the worst-paid people in our societies?
Adam Smith explained this in 1776, the diamonds and water paradox. There're a lot of people who can do that key working, it's not a rare set of skills. End of.
Why are airlines but not freelancers in the arts getting government bailouts?
Arts Council England have made some very questionable choices about who receives their “recovery fund” grants. The council boasts on its website that “to date, we have announced £334 million of investment, with much more to come.” But...
Richard Murphy, he of the three professorial positions, asks us what is wrong with his exposition of Modern Monetary Theory.
First, in a country with a fiat currency, which means that there is no asset backing to the money in circulation, which money does as a result only get value as a consequence of a government's promise to pay,....
No, not quite, the asset backing that is the ability to tax. Something that Professor Murphy continually tells us in fact. It is not rare to find him insisting that the value of a fiat currency derives from the insistence of the issuing government that taxes must be paid in that currency issued by that government.
Now, as it happens, it's not actually true that value is derived from that. Or, to be truly precise, we can agree that some part of the value is so. But most certainly not all...
As a guide to the British media this isn't bad, even as it's blindingly obvious to any who is capable of thought:
Only the over-50s believe the BBC is too Left-wing, the corporation’s chairman has suggested, as he said perceptions of political impartiality are age-related. Sir David Clementi said younger people tend to believe that the BBC is too Right-wing and part of the Establishment.
“There is a general trend. We do a lot of impartiality surveys and they show that about a quarter of our audience think we lean to the Left, and slightly less - but nevertheless a very substantial number - think we lean to the Right. But the interesting thing about it is that it’s very age-related,” Sir David said.
“Once you get over 50, there are a significant number of people who are convinced that we all live in Islington and we all, you know, whatever. They’re...
So The American Prospect wants us all to think about paying care workers lots more money. They then bring in what they think is an economics type to try to explain the problem to us. That economics type not actually knowing any economics:
The Failed Economics of Care Work
The care market is high-value but offers little reward to providers. Economists don’t know how to explain this.
Economists have this nailed to the wall by its ears rather than being unable to explain it. This is the diamonds and water thing explained by Adam Smith in the first real economics book of them all.
What is something “worth” in the marketplace? Who gets to decide that? If you ask someone steeped in classical economic theory, they will tell you that something is worth exactly what someone else is willing to pay for it. They will say that the “market” decides, through...