Automation need not be feared. Many of the dooms we fear will disappear along with the lost jobs. Automation improves productivity, giving us more national wealth and income. We need only adapt our society to gain its benefits, minimize the trauma of the transition, and share the benefits (which we have failed to do with the gains from the last 30 years). We want to succeed like Britain did in the 1760 – 1840 period, with internal peace and prosperity. We do not want to follow France’s path during that period.
Planning for success requires reassessment of America’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, economists consider as strengths our relatively high fertility and attractiveness to immigrants. Not so as automation destroys jobs by the millions during the next few decades.
In the 21st century population growth will not be necessary for economic growth. Perhaps the 21st century will reverse that, making Japan is the nation best prepared for the next wave of automation — as seen in the below graph from “Japan Meanderings”, Christopher Woods, CLSA, 5 December 2013: