Student Question

What are some examples, other than those given in the chapter, of technological change that has caused unemployment? 

Expert Answers

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First of all, we are not able to know what examples are given in the chapter you are referring to and so some of this answer may duplicate what you already know.

Technology is a major cause of unemployment and has been for a long time.  This type of unemployment is known as structural unemployment.  The classic example of technology creating unemployment is what happened in the 1910s and 1920s as the automobile became important in the US economy.  When that happened, huge numbers of people who had worked in jobs related to horses became unemployed.  A similar thing happened over a longer period of time with the mechanization of farm work.  Jobs that were once done by hand were replaced with tractor-drawn machines.  The tractors and machines got bigger, requiring fewer people even to work the machinery.  This process put many people out of work.

More recently, the process of automation of factories has put many people out of work as well.  Jobs that were once done by humans (like welding things in auto factories) are now done by robots.  The containerization of shipping has put stevedores and other dock workers out of jobs as well.

There are, of course, some technologies that make jobs.  Computers are an obvious example as they have created a huge demand for computer programmers and other such workers.  However, technology has also been a major cause of unemployment in various sectors of the economy.

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