Can Effective Demand and the Movement Toward Further Income Equality be Maintained in the Face of Robotics?

  • Paul Davidson


In her Essays in the Theory of Economic Growth, Joan Robinson analysed ‘A Model for the Future’ (1963, pp. 17–21). In this 1963 vision of a futuristic capitalistic economy, where the industrial sector is manned mainly by robots while most ‘workers’ are employed in the service sector, severe difficulties can develop in either maintaining effective demand levels sufficiently to absorb the full employment output and/or in preventing ‘workers’ in the service sector from suffering a severe fall in real income.

how easy it is, in this [robotic] model, for the economy to be let down by its bootstraps … The queer appearance of this model is due to the fact that it represents an economy in which conventions and rules are being observed after they have ceased to be appropriate to the technical situation (Robinson, 1963, p. 21).


Real Income Income Equality Effective Demand Inequitable Distribution Political Popularity 
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© Paul Davidson 1991

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  • Paul Davidson

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