Aaron Benanav on Automation, Technological Unemployment and UBI

Socrates /

Posted on: June 3, 2020 / Last Modified: June 8, 2020

Prof. Aaron Benanav has devoted his life to studying unemployment. Given that automation, technological unemployment, and universal basic income have become hot political and economic issues across the world, it was about time to have a podcast episode exclusively on those topics. I hope you enjoy it and learn as much from Aaron as I did.

During this near 2-hour-long interview with Aaron Benanav, we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: why he is a historian of unemployment; the biggest issues humanity is facing today; why we should all care about unemployment and the problems of defining and measuring it; the relationship between automation, jobs, productivity, and output; why the term technological unemployment is inaccurate and misleading; productivity growth, job churning, labor demand and economic growth; the false alarmism on technological disruption and his own research on automation and the future of work; the capitalist incentive to replace rather than to enhance and empower; technological unemployment and universal basic income [UBI] from the left and the right; oversupply of capital, undersupply of investment opportunities and secular stagnation; John Maynard Keynes and the Economic Possibilities of Our Grand Children; modern monetary policy, post-scarcity, and capitalism.

My favorite quote that I will take away from this conversation with Aaron Benanav is:

Don’t fear technological unemployment but long term tendency for stagnation.

As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full. To show your support you can write a review on iTunesmake a direct donation or become a patron on Patreon.

Who is Aaron Benanav?

Aaron Benanav is currently a Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. He will be moving to Humboldt University in Berlin this summer to join the Excellenzcluster “Contestations of the Liberal Script.” His research focuses on the global history of unemployment. Benanav’s first book, Automation and the Future of Work, is forthcoming from Verso in late 2020. He is currently working on a second project on postwar efforts to achieve full employment worldwide. He can be found on the web at aaronbenanav.com and on twitter at @abenanav.

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