The Instigator
Con (against)
5 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
2 Points

Technological Unemployment exists in aggregate

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 409 times Debate No: 75536
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




R1. is acceptance
R2. is argument only
R3. is counter arguments

Pro has BOP.
Character limit is 4000


I accept the debate. Good luck Con
Debate Round No. 1


I am arguing that technological unemployment does not exist in aggregate. In other words, technological innovation has no negative net effect on employment.
History shows us that this is just not so. The belief in technological unemployment is known as the Luddite fallacy. This fallacy has been disproved many times over as the increase in supply increases buying power significantly. This enables new businesses to start up because business is less concerned with allocating too many resources to the necessities, and they can instead invest in the luxuries. For example, when the combine was invented, it cut farm employment drastically. Those jobs shifted to manufacturing. In this case, people were less concerned with sustenance because of the increase in the supply of food and the corresponding decrease in cost, ceteris paribus. Therefore, people could invest their resources into the manufacture of luxury items (by luxury I simply mean that they are not necessary to survive).
It is a basic marginal utility problem. The first few goods always provide the greatest marginal utility. However, after so many goods are consumed, the consumption of another good provides more marginal utility. Therefore, we can conclude that by producing more of what we absolutely need, eventually we will move to stuff that we just want, and we can further move to the stuff that means nothing but we desire it anyway (self actualization and aesthetics if you have studied Maslow and his hierarchy of needs).
Furthermore, Adam Smith and Milton Friedman have both stated that the best way to produce is the cheapest way to produce. If mechanization lowers the marginal cost of production, then it is the best economic choice for them to utilize the cheaper method. This benefit is applied to the business itself and the economy as a whole. Now, this view was initially used to discount mercantilism and promote free trade. Interestingly enough, wanting to innovate to seek methods of cheaper and more diverse production is a parallel to the free trade-protectionism argument. I would like to bring up how after mercantilism was abolished, the economies of many nations around the world grew significantly. This is because of the comparative advantage of producing goods elsewhere. Thus, goods become cheaper as the supply of them increases, and people become less concerned with the sustenance that they become more concerned with matters like psychology and philosophy. Yes, I am saying that mechanization might actually make psychology and philosophy more popular and more marketable.

Before I go, I would like to bring up another doom-and-gloom economic view that was very similar to this one that did not come to light. This was the view of Thomas Malthus and how he believed that the population of the world was growing too quickly for the amount of food capable of being produced. This was back in the 1800s, and this has clearly not come to be true. My point in arguing the Malthus point is to show that mankind is adaptable and flexible. They can change to the situation to make themselves better off. Malthus feared population growth. People today fear technological unemployment. Malthus was wrong, so to will the people of today regarding this concept.


Interesting prospective on the matter Con. I will build my case as follows:

1. Technological Convergence/Evolution [1]
In today's world more and more processes are being replaced by machines (automated). Ranging from manufacturing implementing such machines as PLC's (Programmer Logic Controllers) who in essence act as a brain, having a percentage error far lessen than that of a human, with increase of productivity [2] have successfully replaced some of the manual work in industries such as the automobiles and operator controls.

Medicine, which is one of the trailing industries that heavily relay on the human knowledge and intuition, usually performed by specialists and seniors in the field, to do complex tasks such as a Craniectomy (removal of the a part of the bone from the skull), gastric bypass and even the lessen ones that a medical graduate is able to do such as a suing a tissue after a Appendectomy are starting to move towards robotic control. [3]

2. Rise of the AI
AI (Artificial Intelligence) as some scientists predict that by year 2040 robots will be as smart as humans [4] and will be able to reenact and imitate the procedures that have been hard coded into their system by the creators with little to no error. Such a machine, if it were to be implemented in the field of medicine will drive the cost of surgeries, increase the percentage of success, eliminate human errors (due to fatigue) such as the one of Gertrude L [5] after she spend 96 hours in a surgery.

As you can see, the advancements in technology or the technological evolution will promote a job change such as people will feel more assure knowing that in the case of a complex surgery, if done by a human doctor the odds of success are 8% vs the 60% of a robotic/AI doctor.
In the end, it will not be a fight over the jobs, it will be a fight over success. Who gives more and how easy it can be replaced. With less errors come more $$. This is what drives the automation industry today. Switch from human operators of machinery to robots, being able to do the job in a fraction of the time a human will do, more precise and with better outcomes.

I will go in more detail in the rounds to follow.

Debate Round No. 2


" In domestic as well as foreign trade, it is in the interest of "the great body of the people" to buy from the cheapest source and sell to the dearest."
-Milton Friedman
This was referring to Free Trade. However, as I previously stated, free trade and technological innovation are perfect parallels.

My opponent has listed several examples of people who will become unemployed as a result of technology. This may, in fact, happen. However, I utilized the phrase "in aggregate" for a reason. This means that if you were to take the sum of jobs lost and jobs gained, you would not see a decrease in overall employment. My argument is that as the computer and robotic industries will grow dramatically. Furthermore, we will see a shift in employment from the service industry of today to the research and management industries. These fields will become more efficient. Furthermore, there is always something to research. People will go into studying space, cancer, and other forms of research. Thus, this field will dramatically expand and will provide employment for the educated individuals. So, what about the less educated people? Well, education will be a more important post innovation. However, not everyone can be expected to get higher education. Thus, the possibility of liberal arts rising into popularity is higher. With people not as concerned about sustenance, they are more likely to move up the hierarchy of needs like I previously stated.

My opponent has simply conceded that technology is more efficient. He never once said that it will lead to an aggregate decrease in employment.

In conclusion, voters should vote for con.


Bogcha forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by UndeniableReality 1 year ago
Thanks for the definitions.

This is a question where argument is essentially meaningless. One either has the data to support their claim, or they don't.
Posted by Cowboy0108 1 year ago
Technological unemployment is a term used to describe unemployment that occurs as a result of technological innovation.
Aggregate means over the entire economy. i.e. sum the total jobs lost and the total jobs gained, and I am arguing that in net, there will not be an employment loss.
Posted by UndeniableReality 1 year ago
Can you provide some definitions?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Diqiucun_Cunmin 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: Sources to Pro as Pro used the only sources. He was the only one to provide actual facts and figures, unlike the vague ones presented by Con. However, Pro missed an important step in the argumentation, which is that (s)he must show that technology has a net effect on unemployment rate in the long run. Therefore, his arguments did not support the resolution, resulting in the loss of arguments points. Conduct to Con as Pro forfeited.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff a round.