23rd of October 2016
There is no unemployment crisis. If you are currently unemployed or are working less hours then you would like, then this would be a bitter pill to swallow. However, could it be true? To investigate, I encourage you to watch this Youtube video called "there is no unemployment crisis".
The first argument discussed in this video is that technology is displacing jobs. I would argue that most people would prefer doing leisurely activities of their choice rather than working. So if we can maintain our standard of living by using technology instead of working, how could this be a bad thing?
Next, the reason jobs that use to exist no longer exist is because of a reduced demand for them. Furthermore, some jobs are outright unnecessary, such as telemarketers, are in precipitous decline anyway.
If people are no longer earning an income through jobs, where will the money come from to allow them to maintain their standard of living? As Stephen Hawking wrote, "if machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed."  Would social welfare work? No, the video author suggests, as this would promote laziness. Instead, he argues, pay people more or allow people to work less hours.
Here is some counter-arguments which emphasis that technology cannot displace all jobs:
Technology displacing human labor has been happening since the beginning of human evolution. Humans have evolved to use tools to survive and thrive in changing environments. In one of the simplest forms, the humble wheel, in the form of a cart, can reduce the demand for humans or animals to carry load.
Today people use technology in their everyday life that reduces demand for labor. Most people would use a washing machine to wash their clothes, instead of washing clothes by hand. Similarly, some people have dishwashers which wash their dishes.
We have the had the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the digital revolution. Now we are about to begin the next revolution, the fourth industrial revolution, which will be heavily centred around the following technologies:
The benefits of these technologies is obvious; machines will be able to do more of the work once only thought humans could do. Hence, reducing demand for human labor and thus allowing humans to have more time to do leisurely activities.
The reason why we should be worried about this next revolution is that over human history, when a new technology comes along, it tends to increase income inequality rather than reduce it.
Invested capital – in the stock market, in real estate – will grow faster than income.
This sentiment about the need for redistribution of wealth is reverberated by Professor Stephen Hawking below.
If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.
Bloomberg has created a six-part series called "Forward Thinking: Making sense of Tomorrow's Problems".
 Reddit. Stephen Hawking Ask Me Anything (AMA) [Online]. Available https://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/3nyn5i/science_ama_series_stephen_hawking_ama_answers/
 T.Piketty. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 2014.