Rage Against the Machine

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S1: I’m Brigid Schulte, and this is Better Life Lab. This season on Better Life Lab, we’re taking a hard look at the future of work and well-being in America. So much of what we hear about the scary future of work seems almost like the tack of the killer robots. Like, Oh my God, the robots are coming. They don’t take weekends, they don’t take vacation, they don’t get hurt and filed for worker’s comp. They don’t form unions or take their daughters to work. They don’t even have daughters. They’re tireless, they’re smart. And the robots are going to take away our jobs now. So then what? What will we, the people, actually do? How will we live? That’s one big reason. I wanted to talk with David Autor. He’s an economist at MIT. He’s a fast talker and a brilliant analyst of the American workplace. He’s co-chaired Mitt, his task force on the work of the future. And he writes about building better jobs in an age of smart machines. As David and I got talking, it became clear he’s got a different perspective on AI and automation. He says it’s not the robots we really need to worry about. David Autor joins us after this. On this episode of Better Life Lab, we’re looking at work stress, automation and the future of work and what that means for workers, human workers. And to help us think this through. We’re talking to MIT economist David Autor. He’s one of the real thought leaders on this. So, David, you say it’s not the robots we need to worry about. Can you tell me what it is that we do need to be worrying about?

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S2: People talk all the time about us running our jobs, but there’s nothing that looks like that at the moment going on. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to worry about. What is really problematic is the quality and distribution of work. You know, jobs and advanced economies look more and more like a kind of a barbell with increasing kind of poundage tightening behind the bar. One thing you have professional and technical and managerial work that’s well remunerated. It’s creative.

S1: But these are the workers who’ve been able to say work from home or work remotely, and they’re the ones that might now have hybrid work or distributed work. Kind of.

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S2: Absolutely. Mm hmm. And then on the other side, we have growth of basically personal services, food service, cleaning, home health care. This kind of hands on work, some of it’s quite valuable. Right. It could be security, could be a crossing guard, you know, daycare. But it can see poorly remunerated because it uses relatively generic skills that most people have. Mm hmm. You know, even though what could be more important than caring for a child, most adults and say, well, I could. I could do childcare. I don’t need preschool for that, or I could be crossing guard, whatever. On the other hand, what has has declined substantially is a lot of the middle skill, middle paid work, and that’s traditional bread and butter of high school educated workers. Mm hmm. And a lot of that work has really been displaced by automation. Hmm. You know, bookkeeping or filing or copying or answering phones or working at a fraction line, because that work is well-described by a set of formal procedures. It’s been relatively easy over the last four decades to codify in computer code and have machines execute it. Hmm. And that doesn’t describe very well either the professional technical manager work or a lot of the in-person service work that requires flexibility, common sense.

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S1: Empathy, compassion, connectedness, communication.

S2: Yeah, absolutely. So this kind of barbell means that many people who in an early era would have been in these kind of middle school, middle class jobs. Instead, they’re pushed more into the generic, insecure, low paid service jobs where you’re probably about as productive as you’re going to be after six months as you will be over the rest of your career. Right. You’re not actually getting better. It’s not your fault. Just the job has only had so much headroom. But that means your wages are never going to be very high because no one else can show up or do your job in a few months. Right.

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S1: You’re just disposable in this place.

S2: So this is a big problem.

S1: Well, so at this point, what I’d love to do is share a story of a gentleman named Joe Lieberman, and he is the product. I suppose his story really exemplifies exactly what we’re talking about.

S3: I acquired a job back in 1993 with the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch as a zone manager. We distributed a free paper that was filled with all of the advertisements that you could get in your paid subscription. They were always big, thick papers. Business was very good throughout the nineties. I started a family with a wonderful woman. Everything was going great. And then Pulitzer sold out to the corporation in 2008 and they asked our people to cut the budget. My numbers were decent. I was I was very good at my job. You know, I was very close to my boss, but he never let me know any bad news. And January the ninth of oh nine, he said we were having a meeting. I walked in. The new owner of Pulitzer was sitting there and the president of my company was sitting there and they told me that my services were no longer needed.

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S1: So the day that you get the news and they say there is no more room for you here. What was your life like? Where were you living? How many kids did you have? Tell me what happened after that.

S3: I lived in a very nice house in in midtown Webster Groves. For those of you familiar with the Saint Louis area, it’s very nice. My children all went to a very nice public high school in Saint Louis and they loved it. Literally had a two story house with a big oak tree in front of it and a white picket fence. This is. This is why I work hard. You know, this is why I do it. The kids were having a blast. I was working hard, but it was always worth it.

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S1: So then what happened.

S3: When they when they laid me off, you know, I got unemployment, which was fine, but never enough. And things started getting tight. I spent a lot more time around the family and well around around the wife. And, you know, I could feel the screws tightening. You know, was it was getting worse and worse as the money was dwindling. My savings was going down and the unemployment wasn’t going to do it. It’s it’s a pressure like I’ve never felt. Unemployment was ungodly high back then.

S1: It was right in the middle of the Great Recession when everybody was out of work.

S3: Exactly.

S1: Not everybody, but so many people.

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S3: You know, I searched and I went through everything I could and just did not get any responses. Now, my my kids and the wife and we still had to eat and carry insurance. And. And your daily life goes on. Mm hmm. But you can see the savings dwindling and the check not coming in. Unemployment was barely enough to feed our family. We had we had five at home. So as my wife and five children at home, it was not good. I was I was 46 year old man. And I ended up working with friends in the moving industry. Believe it or not, they put me in charge of a truck and I had 325 year olds that were strong as oxes and we’d go out on a moving job. And the moving industry is, you know, only the owners are making any money. You know, you come home every day after working hard and your wife reminds you that, you know, the electric bill is due and you don’t have the money in the bank.

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S1: Were you thinking, oh, this is just a blip. I’ll be able to get back to work. I’ll be able to find something. Or were you beginning to lose lose hope?

S3: I began to panic probably around June or July, so I was in it for about five months. I thought I could find something. You know, I saw a lot of jobs on career builders, and I was like, I could probably call these guys up. I can send them resumes when they didn’t respond. And you stay home and you watch the news and you hear about the depression and the recessions and the price of everything. You you start to get a little depressed and you start to you start to panic. We lost our home in Webster Groves that was bought off of the county courthouse steps. It was too painful to go. I wasn’t going to go and watch. I watched them level the house, tear the tree down. They put up a 550. Thousand dollar house. They put that up in about ten or 12 weeks and they sold it before it was done being built. Well.

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S1: What happened? What happened to your. What happened to your marriage?

S3: Oh, the marriage went. Yeah. As the as the screws were tightening.

S1: Was it really the the kind of the financial pressures that really broke you up?

S3: Yeah. If if the financial news wasn’t getting so tight on my neck, I think we could have stayed together. I mean, we’d been married for 14 years. If I had found a comparable job in St Louis for for the, you know, high forties mid-fifties that I was making. Yeah, we would have stayed. We would have made it.

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S1: So, David, here’s Joe’s story. And he had this great middle class life, you know, working in newspapers and distribution. And we all know what’s happened to newspapers. You know, as the Internet came along and took over classified ads, then revenues started shrinking and layoffs, you know, have been ubiquitous. And here is someone who talk about a real fall. We talk about hollowing out the middle class in a very theoretical sense. This is his life. He’s now fallen to to some pretty lower rungs of the ladder. You know, is this more of what we can expect in a future of work?

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S2: I mean, first of all, it’s a really tough story and it’s very sad to hear so often. You hear examples of, you know, well, I used to do this thing and now it can be done. You know, I no one needs a typist anymore. I know it needs someone to answer phones because there’s a machine that does that. That’s not the case here. It’s that whole business model of how information is collected and distributed. So it is totally changed. Mm hmm. You know, so how might that have gone differently in a different country? You might ask how it might be. One way to think about it. Mm hmm. I think in most countries, unemployment benefits are much longer term, and they’re much more generous. So, you know, for example, in Germany, you would probably get a replacement rate of about two thirds rather than half as what you get in the United States. A maximum of a half lower in many places. Mm hmm. And in the U.S. might typically last about 13 weeks, which in Germany it would it would last free, you know, typically about a year. Well, the other thing that the U.S. doesn’t have that you might encounter elsewhere is what are called active labour market policies directed at retraining people. Mm hmm. So, for example, Denmark, people don’t have an expectation of lifetime employment there. And it’s actually very easy to dismiss workers. But they but it’s also the case that the country is set up to reactivate people. And so there’s a huge amount of reinvestment in workers. So the expectation is not security through the same job is security through continual employment. And so when people are dismissed or, you know, quite made redundant is the term you typically be used. The state stepped in to provide income support, but also to redirect them towards new, new work. And often that involves some degree of retraining. And so, you know, the U.S. is really has very minimal kind of standard organized facility for retraining people and getting them back into the labor force. Mm hmm. You know, lots of economic and psychological research shows that no job losses is extremely damaging to people. Mm hmm. It’s not just income loss. It’s loss of kind of self-esteem, of a sense of purpose. It makes people feel like someone you’re in love with is telling you, I actually, I hate you. I’m leaving you. Right? Sort of like your job is doing that to you. And so people go into this deep depression, mortality risk rises. It’s very damaging to people. So it’s not just the income loss. It’s the whole psychological trauma of it. And one consequence of that is it actually stands in the way often of people getting back into work.

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S1: Which I guess which all begs the question, why do we do it this way? Yeah. Why do we do it this way when there’s so much research that shows how doing it a different way is actually better for people. It’s actually better for the economy. You mentioned Denmark. I’ve read about there. What is it called? Flexicurity program.

S2: Flexicurity has a term they use. Yeah.

S1: And what’s so interesting is that their beloved by, you know, politicians on the left because of the social safety supports and the retraining, they’re also beloved by those on the right who, you know, want businesses to have the ability to hire and fire at will. It seems like in the United States, you know, we want businesses to be able to hire and fire at will. But then within a year, really on your own, aren’t you?

S2: Yes. I mean, I don’t want to say that there are no tradeoffs in the world. Right. I mean, if you want to be Denmark, right. You have to accept much higher tax rates. Right. We have many, many ports of entry. Yeah. The U.S. is is really a country that gives you more choices, both good and bad, more opportunities to succeed, more options to fail. And also, we pay lower tax rates. The government can do less because we’re not willing to pay for more. Right. So so I’m not I don’t think everybody in the U.S. would just vote to become Denmark if they just watched the documentary that says what it’s like. So, you know. I might prefer that, but I don’t want to say that it’s universally desirable. If I were to be really rich, I would want to be in the U.S. probably if I wanted to. If I didn’t think I would be so affluent, I would want to be somewhere else. But it is the case that many people in the U.S. who are not affluent think the U.S. system is the best system. But in fact, many voters who are not high income voters are they’re very socially conservative, and they don’t like that much sort of government involvement in their daily lives. Hmm. It would be hard to get from where we are to somewhere else. Very different. And it might be worth doing, but it wouldn’t be just flipping a switch.

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S1: You’re listening to Rage Against the Machine episode one in our new season of Better Life Lab. This season, we’re looking at the future of work and well-being. We’re examining American workplace stress and the norms and trends that so often leave workers treating their health and even their lives for a paycheck. We’ll be back with more from MIT economist David Autor after this. Welcome back to a Better Life lab. So, David, you were talking about, you know, the choices that we make and we’ve we’ve sort of made certain choices in the United States. You know, one of the things that has really struck me, though, when you talk about what’s coming next, you know, there will be jobs destroyed by automation. There will be new jobs that will be created that we can’t even imagine what they would be. And the real question is, will these new jobs be big enough to sustain life? And so I’d like to go back to Joe’s story. Ten plus years after the Great Recession and after you lost that really good job, what are you doing now?

S3: Right now, I work in a warehouse. I work in a fulfillment house, which is an Amazon wannabe. I am a picker. I worked first shift from 530 to 2:00. What I do is I pick orders that come over the Internet for our clients. And the we are fortunate enough that we pick off of robots. Our robots are automatic transporters and they’re almost in the shape of a shopping cart. My company does. It sounds kind of funny, but my company does yarn. And this robot is programmed to know every square inch of our 375,000 square foot warehouse. It tells us which yarn to pick, where it is, and where to put it. And that’s what I do. I will stop, grab the product. The robot scans it for me. I put it in front of the laser reader. I put it in the tote, hit the button, and we go on to the next pick.

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S1: Compared to your job of a decade ago, how much do you how much do you make? Are you able to, you know, pay your bills? Do you have benefits? What what kind of job is it?

S3: I do have benefits. I have I have medical benefits for my youngest son and I. But my deductible on my insurance now is 70 $600.

S1: Oh, is how much?

S3: 7600. You put in that much money before the company starts paying 100%. It’s. It’s ridiculous. Oh, yeah. And I know I pay. Let’s say it’s $50 a check is $200 a month for my insurance.

S1: And how much how much do you earn?

S3: I make 1750 an hour after five years with the company.

S1: So David, Joe has been with this company for seven years. He’s gotten a 50 cent an hour a year pay raise. So he’s earning 1750 an hour. He does have health insurance. But as you heard, the deductible is so astronomically high to make you almost wonder if it’s even worth having health insurance. And he started out as a warehouse worker, as a temp worker because he needed insurance. And that’s what got him there. And now he lives in an 800 square foot apartment all by himself. He’s in his late fifties. He works six, seven, eight miles a day following a robot on a concrete floor. And he thinks this is as good as it’s going to get for him.

S2: Yeah. So he’s obviously doing hard work and, you know, physically demanding. It takes all his attention and time. But the skill set is generic in the sense that most able bodied adults could probably do that work, you know, after a little bit of training. And that means it’s going to tend not to pay. Well, you know, like, for example, Amazon warehouse is, you know, paying 15 bucks an hour. That’s good. That’s, you know, $30,000 a year. But it’s not going anywhere. There is no career ladder out of an Amazon warehouse. And Amazon doesn’t even want you to be in that job for that long. They don’t expect that they give you money to go to college to go do something else, right? Yeah. There is no pathway from shelf box stuff to Jeff Bezos. Right? This like doesn’t exist. And that’s the problem that Joe was facing that a lot of adults are facing, is if you don’t have a specialized skill set, you’re often in this kind of generic work world where you know your capabilities are valuable to point, right? There’s a reason there’s a person doing that workout, a robot. But it’s although it’s a hard job for a machine to do, it’s most able bodied adults can do it. Yeah. And therefore there’s a limit. There’s an upper limit on what it’s going to pay you. And this is the challenge is that a lot of the middle skill were previously present was work in which you learn by doing and you gained experience and you became more valuable. Right now I don’t want to paint a picture where the machines came to change this. And that’s that’s just the way it is right now. Many countries face the same headwinds, the same technological challenges, the same globalization pressures, the same ageing of the population, the same rising educational levels, immigration, so on. But the US is a kind of the extreme of kind of cowboy capitalism. The quality of those jobs, those in-person service jobs is much lower than that states and would be in Sweden or Denmark, Norway or Germany. Wages are much lower here for similar work. At the bottom, they’re higher at the top rate. There’s no expectation of, you know, guaranteed health insurance of paid vacation, sick leave. You might not know your hours a week in advance. You might not know how many hours you can get that right. Those things are much, much more common in the United States and in other high income countries, Sweden or or Norway or Austria or are much closer, you know, I would call it cuddly capitalism, the still hungry capitalism. But there’s still a market economy now. There are a lot more guardrails.

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S1: So if we choose to do nothing, if we if we just say this is cowboy capitalism and this is just the way it is and this is the way we are, these are the norms and policies in the United States. What you’ve described is that we will have not only a workforce like those barbells, like heavy inequality, if you will, heavy on the higher end and heavy on the low end. But you say we could have a society of the servers and the served. And that’s to me, some terrifying. That sounds like Blade Runner.

S2: Well, I mean, that’s like most in human society for most in history. Right. It’s you know, it’s the the Lords and the and the service. Right.

S1: Right. Yeah. You know.

S2: There are a lot of Central American countries that look a lot like that, right? Where the wealth is extremely concentrated and most everybody else is basically serving. So, you know, how did we ever get to be where different from that? Why wasn’t it like that, you know, 50 years ago? What has changed? Yeah. And it’s also the case that our institutional structures have changed a lot. And a lot of the improvement in the quality of work, especially blue collar work, came about because of a labor organization. You know, the five day workweek didn’t happen on its own. 40 hour week didn’t happen on its own in the kind of pre war era. It was much more of the Wild West and improvements in the quality of work was partly accomplished through kind of renegotiation of the social contract, often by force or at least by aggressive negotiation. You know, government used to have these big labor negotiator positions, something you have you heard about in a while. Right. And so because the last four decades have been so abysmal, in my opinion, for people without college educations, you know, I’m a lot more sympathetic toward. Really aggressive actions that need to happen to increase Labor’s bargaining power. You know, I think all strikes are good thing. I don’t think all unionization is necessarily beneficial. But we reached a point where the majority of people have not benefited much from all the productivity growth that we’ve experienced since 1980.

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S1: Yeah, you see all of these benefits, you know, wonderful productivity. But you’re right. How do we share the prosperity? It’s a real question.

S2: For the challenge. I mean, you know, people say, look, imagine we had a world where machines did all the work for us. Right. However, who would own those machines? Right now, the mechanism we have for allocating resources is labor scarcity. You have labor, it’s valuable. You sell it. But if labor scarcely were eliminated. Well, I mean, we’re rich because we, you know, we don’t have you know, we don’t even need to work. There’s you know, everything is done by machines. However, if you don’t have scarce labor, what is your claim on that output? And so it creates an enormous distributional challenge. It’s it’s not that one couldn’t think of it. We can do it. It’s a whether we could agree on it and put in place the social mechanisms that would get people to play along with that. I think that’s really, really a challenging problem. Now, one Ponzi development right now is we are in this period of labor scarcity after the pandemic. Yeah, it came about much faster than we was expecting, but that has changed the labor negotiating environment a lot. I mean, wages are rising, you know, 12% per year in food and hospitality work, which is double the rate of inflation. The unemployment rate is extremely low, even though not everyone has returned to work yet. And of course, there’s much more labor union activity than we’ve seen in decades.

S1: Right.

S2: Happening now. If that means that we’re going to see employers having to work harder to attract workers, that’s a good thing. So I’m moderately optimistic that we’re in an inflection point where there’s really a change in the way that is happening. But I’m not sure we don’t know how long it will last.

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S1: Let’s take a short break. When we return, David Otto describes a surprising and bold effort led by America’s farm states. It successfully transformed our society 100 years ago, and it could serve as a model for the challenges we’re facing today. Stay with us. It’s better. Lifelabs I’m Brigitte Solti on this first installment of our new ten episode season on The Future of Work and Well-Being. I’m talking with David Autor. He’s vice president of the American Economic Association, among many other things. And he’s written about a fascinating chapter in American history that might offer a glimmer of hope as we grapple with the challenges of automation. It took place more than 100 years ago. The United States was still very much an agricultural economy, but automation had started to transform farm labor. New machines made farming more efficient, and it required fewer and fewer workers. People in America’s farm states saw a crisis looming, and they started something known as the high school movement.

S2: So before the turn of the 20th century, late 1800s and early 1900s, people working in Franklin easily realized that the world was changing and their kids were really going to be needed as much on the farm because of no emission, because of irrigation. But they weren’t really prepared for the next thing. And so what were their kids going to do if it wasn’t an agriculture? And so they kind of made a very expensive, somewhat crazy, forward looking decision was to require by law that their kids remain in school until the age of 16. Hopefully the expectation of getting high school degree. And that was a very expensive idea because it meant not only did you have to hire teachers and buy books and build buildings. But on top of that meant those kids couldn’t work on the farm when they were in school, which actually a big a big cost. And that decision really helped the U.S. enter the 20th century as the most educated, most productive and most flexible place, you know, to where work could be accomplished anywhere in the world. That point that put us way ahead. And the states that led that movement were the agricultural states. They saw this change faster and they invested. They made it. It was a big investment in the next generation. The moving out of agriculture and into industry went relatively well because industry was expanding at that time. Right. It was basically, you know, mass production was a way. Was it successful in taking people up very high levels of formal education and making them very productive?

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S4: Day breaks in the army and a mighty army arises, not an army marching to the deep and decimating roar of shells, but a mighty army of builders who go forth accompanied by the whistles from America’s greatest back.

S2: And we don’t we don’t have anything like manufacturing now that we just know how to take lots of people and have them do really attractive stuff. Yeah.

S1: We got warehouse workers, right?

S2: Exactly. That’s exactly. And that’s, you know, they’re valuable to a point, but only to a point. And furthermore, that warehouse work won’t be here ten or 15 years from now that the person who’s the picker is just waiting to be automated and companies are making very big investments to automate. So I would be stunned if 15 years from now that job still exists. So, yeah. So what would it mean now? Well, it’s a challenging question because we don’t have the same type of burgeoning area of employment growth. Mm. You know, most of the fastest employment growth sectors are in care work. Right. So in medical services, home health aides, which at present paid very poorly. Yes. Now you can say, well, let’s improve job quality there. And I agree. However, it is the case that a lot of the care dollars are ultimately government dollars. Mhm. Right. They’re also ultimately being paid for by taxpayers. So every time you say well let’s raise pay in the care sector because I’m saying well let’s raise our taxes a bit. Mhm. Right. So it’s, it’s a lot less fun.

S1: Well yeah. A lot less fun unless you’re until you’re the one that needs care and can’t get it right or until it’s your mom that needs care and and you can’t afford it.

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S2: Yeah, sure. Absolutely. If we want to improve the quality of work more generally, we’re going to have to renegotiate the social contract a bit to ensure that jobs that are not the highest paid jobs in economy still offer a living income for a reasonable standard of living and a degree of economic security. Right. It’s actually foolish not to do that because, you know, those families are having kids and those kids need a future. Right. And so we risk, you know, becoming a very dynastic country if the circumstances that kids grow up in are so vastly unequal. Ah, you know, how do we maintain the idea that you could just go from rags to riches, that if you just make the right decisions and work hard, you’ll, you know, you get a break. That may not be true. Mhm.

S1: So how, I guess how do we get there and where is that political will. We can’t even get four weeks of paid leave through the Congress at this point. How do we how do we find the will, like so many of those farm states did, to invest big in high school movement? How do we kind of collectively find the will to do it?

S2: Yeah, it doesn’t seem like we’re at all, you know, unified enough to really make that kind of stuff happen. I mean, you could you could say, well, some things. Once you do them, they’re hard to undo, like Obamacare. So one idea is, well, if you could just get these things through into law, not by regulation, because regulations are always reversible, not like know, but but into law. They all tend to stick around. People get used to them and will accept them as the norm. People don’t spend a lot of time questioning, Well, why are you so secured? Why do you have Medicare? Right. But those things were incredibly controversial when they were passed in the 1930s. Right. But the problem is that really says we get it done despite the politics of it.

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S1: So. So, David, you know, you’ve heard Joe’s story, this sort of fall from grace and cowboy capitalism as the future of work sort of is already here with automation. Are you hopeful about the future?

S2: Well, I mean, I. There’s enormous potential and we’re going to get a lot more productive. We’re gonna be able to do a lot more stuff because of the technologies we’re developing. I think artificial intelligence can be allow us to accomplish many more things. That’s going to increase the rate of scientific progress. It’s going to raise productivity. There’s a lot of mundane work that can be done by machines. So in many ways, the potential is there. However, to turn that kind of increasing the size of the pie to increasing everybody’s slice, that requires the social contract. And that’s what I’m afraid that we won’t accomplish that very well. We’re not well-positioned to do that. Now, if we look back a century, people, they work many fewer hours per year than they used to when they had the weekends. They have know working nowadays they work a much smaller percentage of their working lives. Right. People would start working when they worked year 12, 13, 14, 16 in 1900 and they worked till the day they died, you know, often 465. So in many ways, we have used rising productivity to reduce the amount of work we do and increase the amount of leisure time. And I expect some of that to continue. So a lot of good things can happen. Most of the challenges that we face are distributional challenges. They’re not challenges of what is feasible. It’s a challenge of how do we make sure that most people benefit. We’re getting in and get much, much, much richer. But a lot of people aren’t benefiting much from that. And that’s the harder problem is that’s a political problem. The market in earlier times, it tended to solve that a bit better because the market gave us a kind of a tailwind behind us, pushing us in the right direction. And now it’s much more of a headwind, but it’s not working that way. And so we want to get there. We’re going to have to sort of work collectively to make that happen, to make sure that that aggregate growth benefits turn into shared prosperity. And we don’t seem well poised politically to do that.

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S1: David Autor. That’s a beauty. O. R. He’s the Ford professor of economics at MIT and co-author of the forthcoming book, The Work of the Future Building Better Jobs in an Age of Smart Machines. The Future of Work and Well-Being is the theme of our new season of Better Life Lab. As David Autor makes clear, the future of work is not really about robots. It’s about power and inequality and the choices we make. Automation will most assuredly destroy some jobs, but it will create others. So the real question is how we respond to these changes and whether the new jobs we create for people are actually good jobs. I hope you’ll join us again next week when we look at work stress and the enormous, even life shattering problems that can emerge when people have high job demands and little control over their work environments. It can quite literally give you a heart attack. All right. I’m going to ask Dr. Booth. All right. Like, you know, just pain, jaw pain. And it’s like these are signs of a heart attack. And I’m like, oh, my God. So you had you had a I had a heart attack. So I found. And you had a heart attack because of all the stress at work? Yeah. Oh, it was 100% stress, cause. For more resources on fairer, healthier work, go to New America North. Click the link for Better Life Lab. On behalf of myself and my producer, David Shulman. Many thanks for joining us for episode one of our new season. Please review us on Apple Podcasts if you like the show. Tell your friends in St Louis and in Denmark. Two Better Life Lab is produced by New America in partnership with Slate. Special thanks to Alicia montgomery at Slate for all her work with us. Our podcast is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States in partnership with others. RW JF is working to develop a culture of health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive no matter who they are or where they live or how much money they have. For more information, visit WW Dot RW jf doors. And a quick P.S. Joe Lieberman is still working his warehouse job, but he’s also joined an effort among Saint Louis warehouse workers to organize and form a union. He told me that he expects he’ll be automated out of his job once engineers figure out how to give robots hands. But he sees a brighter future for his kids.

S3: The kids? I am very happy to announce my children all got good educations. They got good starts. They went on to do what they wanted to do. They all make more money than their mother and I, and they are very happy. They have kids of their own now. Big houses. You know, for the holidays. I’m in a 800 square foot apartment. Very, very comfortable and very happy. That’s all I need.

S1: For Better Life Lab. I’m Bridget Shelton.