Book Review: Rise of the Robots

Any argument, any policy proposal, is at its very best only as good as the premises it rests upon.

Rarely do we take a hard look at those premises.

Enter Martin Ford. Ford’s Rise of the Robots will make you think. It will make you question those old premises. Wherever you are on the ideological spectrum, you stand to learn something from Ford’s analysis, even if you don’t agree with it.

Here’s one small example (so as to avoid spoiling): You’re a proud progressive. You know that we could create a lot of jobs by bringing back all that manufacturing that left for China. Actually, Ford explains, manufacturing is returning to America. As manufacturing becomes more mechanized, the savings associated with cheaper labor diminish and, at some point, it makes sense to manufacture where the consumers are. So the manufacturing is returning, but the jobs aren’t. Bottom line? Bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States is not a viable solution. It’s time to move on.

Is college education the magic bullet? Many of us, progressives and conservatives both, are sure it is. Ford will make you question that premise.

Don’t be misled by the title. Rise of the Robots is about much more than futuristic technology.

Whatever your political stripe, there’s a lot to learn from Rise of the Robots. I highly recommend it.

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