A Crisis of Faith

Michael Mandel

If a lot of the high-paying jobs are moving overseas, what will take their place. Edward Hugh writes:

creation of jobs in high value end activities is a contingent matter, there are no guarantees about time scales here (timing again). Investment in new drugs would be a case in point (or in genetic therapies, or whatever). I have no doubt that in the long run "miracles are possible", but the question is when *will* the future arrive, and if they're all bankrupt before it does? Economics isn't simply technology + innovation + good management.
What I'm getting at here is that there are no guarantees ex ante that the kinds of jobs needed to replace those that move out will in fact arrive. I take pharma since the 'medical revolution' is one of the areas which is often touted as a high value activity which fits the needed profile. If the pace of worthwhile discovery isn't sufficiently rapid, and the economics don't work, then it won't be the 'sure thing' some people think it is.

The economic payoff from new technology is never a sure thing, and hasn't been for 200 years. It requires faith in the future, and faith by its very nature is not provable.

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