6 March 2017

The proliferation and effectiveness of new technologies to enhance economic productivity over the last thirty years has been staggering, and there is little reason to believe that this transformation will slow down at any point in the near future.  With the development of artificial intelligence, we may be facing a completely different type of economy:  one that does not require labor to create wealth.  The Guardian has an article on the impact of automation and robotization which includes this possibility:

“While the current rhetoric around artificial intelligence is overhyped, there have been meaningful advances over the past several years. And it’s not inconceivable that much bigger breakthroughs are on the horizon. Instead of merely transforming work, technology might begin to eliminate it. Instead of making it possible to create more wealth with less labor, automation might make it possible to create more wealth without labor.”

This trend will only deepen the tendency toward income and wealth inequality in the world, but it is difficult to see how this consequence can be avoided.

North Korea launched four ballistic missiles close to Japanese territory on Monday.  The launches prompted stern words from Japan and led South Korea to announce that it would deploy the US-supplied anti-missile defense systems despite the very strong protestations from China over the deployment.  World leaders were quick to condemn the launches as violations of the UN Security Council resolutions forbidding North Korea’s development of ballistic missile technology.

Europe will have three big elections in the near future: the Netherlands, France, and Germany.  The first of these elections is in the Netherlands and is scheduled for 15 March. According to The Atlantic: “Most polls show Geert Wilders, the leader of the far-right Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), running neck-and-neck with the ruling center-right People’s Party (VVD) for Freedom and Democracy, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The remaining 12 parties, which include mostly center and left-wing groups, are projected to each take anywhere between zero to 18 seats.”  The Dutch results will unquestionably have an effect on the elections in France and Germany.  Right now it is unlikely that Wilders’s party would get enough parliamentary seats to form a government.  But a strong showing would reinforce the populist movements worldwide.

 

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Posted March 6, 2017 by vferraro1971

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