This should lead to greater demand for these products, which in turn creates greater 28Henry J. Holzer, ‘Will robots make job training (and workers) obsolete? Workforce development in an automating labor market’, Brookings, 19 June 2017. Available online at -development-in-an-automating-labor-market/ (Last accessed on 1 July 2019). 29Ibid.30Richard Conniff, ‘What the Luddites really fought against’, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2011. Available online at -against-264412/?all (Last accessed on 22 June 2019). 31Daniel Akst, ‘What can we learn from past anxiety over automation’, The Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2013. Available online at -jobs-gone/theres-much-learn-from-past-anxiety-over-automation/ (Last accessed on 22 June 2019). 32Delphine D’Amora, ‘A brief history of the idea that everyone should get free cash for life’, Mother Jones, 26 December 2016. Available online at -history-income-inequality-minimum-wage/ (Last accessed on 22 June 2019).
SCO103 The Social and Political Impact of the Rise of the Tech Giants SU3-10demand for the workers involved in the creation of these products.33Amazon, according to the journalist Sarah Kessler, seems to confirm the optimistic view. By 2016, Amazon had 45,000 robots working in its warehouses.34But the growing deployment of robots in its warehouses has been accompanied by steady growth in its employee headcount. This could mean that the lower prices made possible by Amazon’s investment in automation eventually led to greater demand, which in turn made it necessary for Amazon to increase its employee headcount.35The additional profits created by automation could also lead to higher wages for workers. This would boost consumption, which in turn leads to even more production.36But this will only work if the higher profits resulting from automation are indeed shared with workers in the form of higher wages. There is no reason to expect employers to do this of their own accord. The optimists, however, are confident that wages will rise. Furthermore, even if wages do not rise, workers will still benefit due to lower prices. As Kessler explains, ‘if companies can make more money with the same number of workers, they can theoretically pay those workers better. If the price of goods drop, those workers can buy more without a raise.’37The optimists also believe that automation and technological progress will create entirely new categories of jobs, though it is hard to predict the types of work that will emerge.38Technological progress, moreover, rarely results in the automation of entire jobs. New technologies often lead to the automation of only one aspect of a particular job, allowing the worker to keep his or her job and to focus even more on the other non-automated aspects of the job. This is why Amazon does not fire its warehouse workers whenever new warehouse robots are introduced.