In Favour of Machines (But Not Forgetting the Workers): Some Considerations on the Fourth Industrial Revolution
This chapter aims to guide the reader in the analysis of some of the main themes proposed by the debate related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). First, we discuss the impact of the 4IR on employment by reviewing the results of the relevant economic literature, drawing some suggestions for future research. Second, we review some of the policies developed by governments to support the digital revolution. We argue that while Industry 4.0-type policies are common to all advanced countries, policies in favour of digital technologies in the service sector are more fragmented, difficult to implement, and face a stronger resistance from workers. We finish the paper with a discussion of the main policy issues related to the workers and the labour market, with a focus on robot tax, shared robot ownership, and universal basic income. We conclude by emphasizing that while policies in favour of machines are widespread and supported by wide social consensus, effective polices in favour of workers are much weaker and still unable to mitigate the negative effects of the digital revolution.
KeywordsMachinery Digital revolution Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Robots
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