A common topic around the web is whether automation will drastically increase unemployment. The usual scholarly answer is only a bit, and conservatives often insist that new jobs will always be found. Actually, automation has already created much joblessness. It continues to do so. We don’t notice because we have disguised the unemployment.

Consider. In 1850, everybody worked. In England, children notoriously were sweated in mines and factories and, in America, worked on their parents’ farms.

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