Even mild inflation should change how we think about policy
Efficiency and expanded labor supply are good; further stimulating demand? Maybe not so much
When Andy Stern, the influential former president of the Service Employees International Union, was promoting his book about universal basic income, his go-to example of looming technology-induced job losses was the impact of self-driving trucks on the trucking industry.
That was five years ago. Today we still don’t have self-driving trucks, but we do have 35,000 fewer truck drivers than we had at the beginning of 2020. And as people continue to order goods shipped by truck, the shortage of drivers is one of many factors disrupting global supply chains, causing shipping delays and higher prices, and potentially undermining the Biden/Powell push for highly stimulative macroeconomic policy.
In other words, we could really use some self-driving trucks. This would be a sad story for the impacted truck drivers in just the way that the invention of desktop publishing software was bad for my mom’s career as an analog-era magazine designer. And a decent …