C'mon, Obama. Don't blame technology for job loss.

Technology creates jobs as well as destroys them.

Carolyn Kaster/AP
President Obama speaks at the beginning of a meeting with the Jobs and Competitiveness Council at the corporate and US manufacturing headquarters of Cree, a leading manufacturer of energy-efficient LED lighting, June 13, 2011, in Durham, N.C.

When trying to explain the weak employment numbers in the United States, Obama argued that technology was at fault, using as an example the fact that we usually withdraw cash from ATM's rather than from bank tellers these days.

The "technological" excuse for his poor performance on jobs is quite pathetic given how other countries where technology has also advanced has not seen this drop in employment and given how in the past in the United States, technological progress has not been associated with falling employment.

Now, it clearly is true that new technology destroys some jobs. ATMs do reduce the number of bank tellers, just like industrial robots reduce the number of workers in factories.

However, as long as there are unsatisfied wants (and we are a very long way from achieving the utopia where this no longer exists), new jobs will arise. Some in creating new technology. Others in new jobs where a shortage of workers previously prevented the businesses from being created.

Thus, while in the transition process some temporary unemployment can be created by technological advances, it is not something that will in the foreseeable future create any kind of long term unemployment problem. And it is not the explanation for why the United States unlike many other nations at similar technological levels experience high unemployment.

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