In the first part of our interview with Paul Krugman, we discussed the standard topics of the deficit and the economy.
In our second part, we discuss something more offbeat: The role of technology in the debate over inequality.
This is a topic that Krugman has been writing a lot about lately, and he says that for a long time he missed a key part of this discussion.
Whereas from about 1980 to 2000, the discussion about inequality was mostly seen as labour vs. labour (high-paid, high-skilled workers vs low-paid, low-skilled workers) the new story is about labour vs. capital, a topic that is more taboo.
He notes that there have been periods before where workers went several decades without reaping the benefits of capital-favouring technologies (the industrial revolution), and it’s possible that we’re in a period like that now, which unfortunately means that easy answers like “skills training” won’t necessarily help much.
As for the specific technologies that he’s intrigued by right now, he mentioned driverless cars and speech recognition, both of which use “big data” to accomplish something that we previously thought required human intelligence.
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