Mapping the world's opinions

Labour displacement is normal

Technology has always resulted in the displacement of human labour

history labour technology


From the development of industrialised farming, to factory mass production, and the growth of the service industry: the system always adapts

The Argument

Fears over the changing role of technology in work have always proved to be unfounded. The creation of industry, factories, and the production line was thought to lead to mass unemployment, but ultimately it led to a whole new society with a lot more work to be done. Technology has never permanently ended work itself, merely transformed and displaced it from one sector to another. The advent of automation is likely to be extremely similar - and, like the replacement of horses as transport with motor vehicles as transport, it could lead to many, many more jobs.

Counter arguments

The replacement of horses with motor vehicles did end a type of work - but only for horses. That's exactly what automation will do, but this time it's humans being replaced.


Technology doesn't necessarily lead to the long-term displacement of labour, but instead usually leads eventually to the creation of new forms of work.

Rejecting the premises

Automation is unlike all other technological transformations, and will in fact replace human labour by transforming society.


Content references here ...


Do you agree?

Sign up or log in to record your thoughts on this argument

Explore related arguments

This page was last edited on Wednesday, 6 Mar 2019 at 19:54 UTC