Krugborg: Whatever GDP you want!

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Did someone leave the barn door open on the Chinese room experiment?  One of the Keynesian mavericks has escaped:

It’s good to have someone questioning the tech euphoria, but I’ve been looking into technology issues a lot lately, and I’m pretty sure he’s wrong: the information technology revolution has only begun to have its impact. Consider for a moment a sort of fantasy technology scenario in which we can produce intelligent robots able to do everything a person can do. Clearly, such a technology would remove all limits on per-capita gross domestic product, as long as you don’t count robots among the capitas. All you need to do is keep raising the ratio of robots to humans, and you get whatever G.D.P. you want.

Sure, I’ll see your bet and raise you one thousand! robots: let’s make all those robots perpetual motion machines, while we’re at it.


  1. Compound F

    maybe we could get a long extension cord plugged into the Sun, and have those robots turn all the carbon on Earth into…diamonds!

    Then we could buy other planets, and make…more diamonds!

    Any GDP you want?

    Is this what is known as the labor theory of value in econogeekspeak?  If so, it seems to be lacking the crucial factor of energy input, not to mention raw materials for the robots.

    If Krugman were not an economist, I would say, “ha, ha, surely you jest,” but I think he’s actually “the sky is the limit,” “the universe is our oyster” serious.

  2. banger

    In my youth they had this weird idea that automation would free up people to only work 15-20 hours per week and so and and so on.

    It never happened because the oligarchs were much happier when they knew that people were working hard and inefficiently until other countries started competing by the seventies. After retooling and with the growth of IT all productivity growth was channeled into the financial markets and lent out to us at high interest rates.

    Theoretically, advances in robotics and, more importantly, making all major industries work much better through elegant engineering could happen. But that would disrupt the stranglehold on power that the current big shots hold. Technology of all kinds is repressed, patents are bought and never used to keep political/economic arrangements static as you see them. Yes, robots are just on the verge of taking off as a technology–it’ll make a few people very rich.

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