The Rise of the Robots: Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads

From my perspective, here we have Mariana Mazzucato picking up on themes (not original to us by any means!) of Steve Cohen's and my Concrete Economics https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1422189821: _*Mariana Mazzucato*: _Who Really Creates Value in an Economy?: "Investment remains weak... [because] economic policy continues to be informed by neoliberal ideology... rather than by historical experience...

...In Europe, in particular, governments were lambasted for their high debts, even though private debt, not public borrowing, caused the collapse. Many were instructed to introduce austerity, rather than to stimulate growth with counter-cyclical policies. Meanwhile, the state was expected to pursue financial-sector reforms, which, together with a revival of investment and industry, were supposed to restore competitiveness. But too little financial reform actually took place, and in many countries, industry still has not gotten back on its feet. While profits have bounced back in many sectors, investment remains weak, owing to a combination of cash hoarding and increasing financialization, with share buybacks–to boost stock prices and hence stock options–also at record highs....

Growth requires a well-functioning financial sector, in which long-term investments are rewarded over short-term plays. Yet, in Europe, a financial-transaction tax was introduced only in 2016, and so-called patient finance remains inadequate almost everywhere.... Contrary to the post-crisis consensus, active strategic public-sector investment is critical to growth. That is why all the great technological revolutions–whether in medicine, computers, or energy–were made possible by the state acting as an investor of first resort. Yet we continue to romanticize private actors in innovative industries, ignoring their dependence on the products of public investment....

The inequality-normalizing notion that those who earn a lot must be creating a lot of value. It is why Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein had the audacity to declare in 2009, just a year after the crisis to which his own bank contributed, that his employees were among “the most productive in the world.”... When flawed ideological stances about how value is created in an economy shape policymaking, the result is measures that inadvertently reward short-termism and undermine innovation...

And I would also note: Friedrich Engels (1843): Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy: "According to the economists, the production costs of a commodity consist of... rent... capital with its profit, and the wages for the labour.... A third factor which the economist does not think about–I mean the mental element of invention, of thought...

...alongside the physical element of sheer labour. What has the economist to do with inventiveness? Have not all inventions fallen into his lap without any effort on his part? Has one of them cost him anything? Why then should he bother about them in the calculation of production costs? Land, capital and labour are for him the conditions of wealth, and he requires nothing else. Science is no concern of his. What does it matter to him that he has received its gifts through Berthollet, Davy, Liebig, Watt, Cartwright, etc.–gifts which have benefited him and his production immeasurably? He does not know how to calculate such things; the advances of science go beyond his figures. But in a rational order which has gone beyond the division of interests as it is found with the economist, the mental element certainly belongs among the elements of production and will find its place, too, in economics among the costs of production. And here it is certainly gratifying to know that the promotion of science also brings its material reward; to know that a single achievement of science like James Watt’s steam-engine has brought in more for the world in the first fifty years of its existence than the world has spent on the promotion of science since the beginning of time...


#shouldread

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