From the Archives: Technology and Jobs

While cleaning out some of my old archives, I found a letter my colleague Ryan Radia and I sent to the New York Times in 2010. I don’t believe it was published, so I share it now:

Editor, New York Times:

Catherine Rampell’s September 7 article “Once a Dynamo, the Tech Sector Is Slow to Hire,” mourns the decline of data processing jobs. Much of the decline is due to automation of previously tedious tasks.

May we suggest one way to get those jobs back: ban the use of computers for data processing. Imagine how much information flows through today’s global economy in an average day. Computers handle most of the load. That takes away millions of jobs.

The effects would reverberate far beyond the tech sector. The paper, pen, and pencil industries would boom.

Companies are dead-set on doing more with less. True, that creates more jobs in the long run by freeing up resources — and employees — for new opportunities. But if only they would consider doing less with more, they could create more data processing jobs.

Ryan Young and Ryan Radia
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Washington, D.C.

The great economist Joseph Schumpeter coined the term “creative destruction” to describe entrepreneurs’ ongoing quest to do more with less, rather than the opposite.

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