Will technological progress lead to mass unemployment? People have been asking that question for two centuries, and the actual answer has always ended up being no. Technology eliminates some jobs, but it has always generated enough new jobs to offset these losses, and there’s every reason to believe that it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

But progress isn’t painless. Business types and some economists may talk glowingly about the virtues of “creative destruction,” but the process can be devastating, economically and socially, for those who find themselves on the destruction side of the equation. This is especially true when technological change undermines not just individual workers but also whole communities.

This isn’t a hypothetical proposition. It’s a big part of what has happened to rural America.

This process and its effects are laid out in devastating, terrifying and baffling detail in “White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy,”

Keep reading this article on Paul Krugman - Column New York Times.

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