Robert Skidelsky revisits the Luddites’ claim that automation depresses real wages. [project-syndicate.org]

Robert Skidelsky revisits the Luddites' claim that automation depresses real wages. - Project Syndicate

The Luddites’ rampage was at its height in 1811-12. An alarmed government sent in more troops to garrison the disturbed areas than were then available to Wellington in the Peninsular War against Napoleon. More than a hundred Luddites were hanged or transported to Australia. These measures restored peace. The machines won: the Luddites are a footnote in the history of the Industrial Revolution.

Historians tell us that the Luddites were victims of a temporary conjuncture of rising prices and falling wages that threatened them with starvation in a society with minimal welfare provision. The Luddites, however, blamed their misfortune on the machines themselves.

via Robert Skidelsky revisits the Luddites’ claim that automation depresses real wages. – Project Syndicate.

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