Just Heard on NPR …

Teasing an upcoming story …

“Is the Internet harming the economy?”

I think that’s how it was phrased, anyway.

Imagine a tool that makes you better at hundreds of tasks right now and many tasks you cannot yet imagine. Without it, the following tasks would be more costly: banking services, research, keeping in touch with friends and family, finding a job, professional development, writing, art, music, shopping, consuming news, doing business locally and doing business around the world.

Now imagine someone told you the tool, which dramatically lowers the cost of doing everyday tasks for everyone, is harming the economy because it eliminates jobs. What on earth could be their solution to correct the apparent problem? Would you even want to contemplate it? And aren’t there other innovations that have the same kind of impact on some kinds of employment? Refrigerators, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, preservatives, plastics and cellphones come to mind.

Update: My eye rolling was not rewarded with a somber discussion of how the Internet breaks down society. The “expert” featured on the program said that the Internet is a net plus. Thank heaven! What a great use of airtime!

Archives