Technological Anxiety and Economic Growth

Technological Anxiety and Economic Growth


TechnologicalAnxiety and Economic Growth

TechnologicalAnxiety and Economic Growth

Thepurpose of the authors is to discuss the anxieties that areassociated with the use of technology. To do this, the authorsexplore the history of the anxiety associated with technology and thefuture of the resulting economic growth. According to Mokyr,Vickers and Ziebarth (2015), technology leads to three mainanxieties. The first anxiety is that unemployment will be high due tothe substitution of human labor with technology. The second anxietyis that technology will increase human immoralities as technologywill increase vices and conflicts. Thirdly, the authors explore theanxiety of how the future will be, with the hope that the majortechnological development period over.

Thecentral question that the authors seek to answer is whether thecurrent time is different in terms of the experience with technologyor not. The authors use the understanding of the three anxieties toconsider their roles in influencing the perspectives of economists inthe past, especially the eighteenth, the nineteenth and the earlytwentieth century. By exploring the impact of the anxieties in thepast, they compare how the three anxieties have been observed in eachof the centuries. In exploring this question, the authors explorewhether the current time is truly different from the past. Thisquestion explores whether the impact of technology in the world willbe different in the future or it will be observed in a similar waywith anxieties like the past.

Theauthors seek to explore the two sided impact of technology in theworld. Mokyr,Vickers and Ziebarth (2015) evaluate the history of the progresstechnology has brought into the world as well as the culturalanxieties it has caused.The authors present an understanding of the history of technology bydescribing the developments that mark the journey. The authors writethis article with a view to discussing the impact that technology hashad in the world not only in the current century but in the past. Theauthors further explore the economic impact of technology with a keenview through the Keynesian perspective. By reviewing the cases of thepast century, the authors` purpose of the article is to illustratethe positive and the negative impacts of technology.

Concernfor care in Modern World

Theissues presented by the authors of the article present seriousconcerns that the modern world should care. This is because theissues discussed in the article have direct effects on the social,political and economic lives of people today. First, the world shouldcare about the concern that the impact of technology is yet to beexperienced in full in the world. This is because the developments inthe past are only giving the basis for future developments. Based onthe reaction that human beings have responded technology in the past,it is probable that more anxiety lies ahead. This is what the authorsdiscuss about when they question whether the current time isdifferent from the past. With these issues discussed, they indicatethat the future may portray more extreme impacts of technology.

Secondly,the modern world should care about technological unemployment.Technological unemployment is the type of unemployment that iscreated when human labor is replaced with machines and moderntechnology(Mokyr et al, 2015). This is a concern that more labor will bedisplaced by technology, rendering people jobless to an extremeextent. High levels of technology will negatively affect the balancein the economy between employment, production and consumption will belost. This may lead to negative impacts on economies as there will besevere short-term effects as the long term benefits may take longerto be realized. The authors in this case offer an unconventionalwisdom by proposing that the effect of technological unemploymentwill not impact heavily on the future.

Thethird and perhaps the major concern that the world should beconcerned about is the moral implications of technology for thewelfare of human beings. The modern world should be concerned aboutthe adoption of negative technology and the effects it has onhumanity. According to Mokyr et al (2015), technology has over timeenhanced warfare through the adoption of complex technology in humanconflict. This has in some instances been marked by high levels ofdehumanization, especially where technology is harmful. Mokyr et al(2015) revisits the impact of technology during the industrialrevolution by citing the worry that people had in regard to the useof technology to harm people. While this period was marked by thepositive use of technology, the current times are marked by fast useof technology for negative results. This is a cause for concern forthe modern world.

Methodand Steps to the Arguments

Toargue their case, Mokyr, Vickers and Ziebarth use two main methodsnarrative history and case studies. The two methods are used by theauthors is to link the impact of technology on the society over theyears since the eighteenth century. The use of the narrative historymethod is applied to discuss the specific issues in history that havearisen over the years. For instance, the authors describe theindustrial development to explore the developments in technology andtheir impacts on the society during the time.

Thesecond method used is case studies. The case studies allow theauthors to demonstrate how the developments in a given historicalevent changed the society and impacted on the three anxieties. Inciting the cases, theauthors used the conventional wisdom to understand the economies atthe time, and evaluate how the impact of technology at the time ofthe historical cases relates to the modern society. They thereforeenhance an ongoing debate about whether the impact of technology onthe society is worthwhile. In every case study, they look at howtechnology has good results in economic progress as well as negativeimpacts.

Theauthors present their case and arguments in four main steps theintroduction, the historical cases, the future perspective and theconclusion. The authors introduce the topic by citing thetechnological anxieties and the role of technology in the society andthe historical developments. Secondly, they explore the historicalcases of technological developments and the anxieties that arerelated to the technological progress. This gives an historicalperspective of the impact of technology on the society.

Afterthe historical perspective of the progress impacted by technology,the authors discuss the past cases to present a futuristic view ofthe impact of technology. Mokyr et al (2015) concludes by suggestingthat the current time is different in terms of the anxieties thatpeople have on technology in relation to the past. They suggest thatpeople should transition to the future with caution, but shouldembrace the culture of preparation of human destiny throughexperimenting, art and encouraging activities of human purpose. Whilethese steps do not follow chronologically, they are distinctivelypresent in the article.

ConcludingCritical Review

Thearticle presents a valid argument about technology and presents aquestion that is worth asking. This is because the article seems toevaluate the anxieties that are associated with technologicaldevelopments. The question offers a sense of comparison between thecurrent technological developments and the past technologicalprogresses. However, the answers provided by the authors are notfully persuading. This is because the answers provided in theauthors’ arguments are not conclusive enough to determine whetherthe current times are different or not.

However,the article presents a strong evidence to present a case for thethree anxieties. The authors present cases of anxiety forunemployment during the industrial revolution and the late nineteenthcentury economic developments, by citing specific technologicaldevelopments, the authors give strong evidence about the areas ofconcern for the current time in relation to the technologicalprogress. However, the authors have a weakness in linking the effectof technology with the anxieties. They have not provided a strongexplanation as to what causes the anxieties among people in relationto technological developments.

Therefore,the question what is the cause for the three anxieties still remainsin relation to technological progress. Similarly, there question ofwhether the past impact of technology on human beings will be thesame in the future still remains unanswered. A good elaboration ofthis article would be described of the anxieties, and a sectiondiscussing what causes them. This will give a link between thedevelopments in technology and the human anxieties. By understandingthe causes, the reader will be better positioned to conclude whetherthe time is different or not in relation to the historical anxietiescaused by technology.


Mokyr,J., Vickers, C., &amp Ziebarth, N.L. (2015). TheHistory of Technological Anxiety and the Future of Economic Growth:Is This Time Different? Journalof Economic Perspectives—Vol.29, No.3, 2015, Pp. 31–50