Björn Wahlroos, Finnish banking magnate and chairman of the board for multiple big-name companies in the Nordics, says robots are slowly replacing skilled labour in the marketplace. He predicts that many Finnish residents will soon be faced with two alternatives: low-paid work or unemployment.
One of Finland’s staunchest defenders of laissez-faire economics, business guru Björn Wahlroos, appeared on Yle’s Ykkösaamu programme Saturday morning with bad tidings. Among other things, he said that the new digitalized market economy will lead to a dearth of middle-income industrial work and an increase in low-wage jobs.
Economists are notoriously bad at making predictions. Comparative advantage arguments would affirm that these blue-collar workers are benefited by automation when the obvious fact is that they simply lose their jobs. Without a job, how can they buy the cheaper products that automation creates?
The same problem exists whether their jobs were automated in Finland or relocated to China. What can a native, blue-collar worker do if he loses his job to a cheaper method of performing it?
Given that the middle-income industrial work is no longer available, he has a few options. He can go to school to learn how to participate in the digital economy as a computer programmer, or he can start his own business. Law and medicine are also options.
The libertarian economist’s answer to this problem follows one of these two strains:
1. All of the research on intelligence is wrong.
2. They can FOAD.
Unless automation and job-offshoring creates new work for these people that is appropriate to their inherent skill level, then ardent capitalists should not offer advice.
People have a duty to their own family over other political concerns. Laissez-faire, capitalist, libertarian economics is a vile evil for radical individualists.
The benefits of libertarianism, anarcho-capitalism and free trade are mythological. What happens to a worker’s job if it is off-shored? Does he get a new job? Does his standard of living rise? Blue-collar workers have the most experience when it comes to answering these questions in spite of the ideologues’ dogmatic protestations.