The Indian Journal of Labour Economics

, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 715–729 | Cite as

A Critique of Economic Literature on Technology and Fourth Industrial Revolution: Employment and the Nature of Jobs

  • Ishaan GeraEmail author
  • Seema Singh
Research Note


Technology has come to the centre stage of the capitalist framework after the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Almost all schools of economic thought have realised the importance of technology in the production process. For the classical economists, technology is a tool to increase the output of the economy, ultimately leading to an increase in employment. However, Ricardo of the classical school differs in his approach from others. Despite being optimistic about the adoption of technology, he contends that labour will be worse off with the onset of technology. The issue of jobs remained the same for Marx and Keynes. For Marx, technology represents a duality which is both advantageous and disadvantageous for labour. For Keynes, it is a root for unemployment and a structural change in society and nature of work. Schumpeter, Veblen and other economists also address the issue of technology. Despite the focus, technology is not central to the theory of development or labour. However, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there needs to be more emphasis on the role of technology. By refining the existing literature and using anecdotal and subjective evidence, an attempt is made to put forth a modified idea of technology.


Fourth Industrial Revolution Technology change Job losses Computerisation Robotics 3D printing Automation Artificial intelligence 

JEL Classification

B12 B13 B14 B24 B25 B51 B52 O30 O33 



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Copyright information

© Indian Society of Labour Economics 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesDelhi Technological UniversityDelhiIndia

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