Summary: “A study published in 2013 by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne of Oxford University stoked anxieties when it found that 47% of jobs in America were vulnerable to automation.“ However, the “proportion of threatened jobs is much greater in poorer countries: 69% in India, 77% in China and as high as 85% in Ethiopia. There are two reasons: firstly, jobs in such places are generally less skilled. Secondly, there is less capital tied up in old ways of doing things.“ A concern especially for the underemployed in Africa and India is that, an “investment in industrial robots can be repaid in less than two years.“ Rich countries have the know-how to produce and use these machines. “Passing laws that make it less costly to hire and fire workers is likely to slow its advance. Scale also matters: farms in many poor countries are often too small to benefit from machines that have been around for decades. Consumer preferences are a third barrier.”

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Author: Economist

Language of Article: English

Publishing date: 2016, January 30