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Vox ran a longish interview with Paul Krugman, who has some interesting insights on a number of issues that are regularly featured on AEIdeas. The Q&A between Krugman and journalist Ezra Klein is worth reading just for the back-and-forth about what the economist and New York Times columnist thinks is really happening with automation, innovation, and US productivity growth.
Krugman sides with techno-pessimist Robert Gordon when it comes to dismissing claims that old-fashioned productivity stats are missing more growth than they used to. For instance, kitchens — a place where we spend a lot of time and do a lot of work — were a lot different in the 1950s than they were around the turn of the century. But someone today would manage just fine in the Cleaver family kitchen of the 1957 sitcom “Leave It to Beaver,” even they if griped about the lack of a dishwasher or microwave. “But if someone from 1957 walked into a kitchen from 1897, they’d be horrified,” Krugman says.
But Krugman is less confident than Gordon about whether information technology, particularly AI, will radically change how we live and work. Krugman: