From Cost Disease to Cost Cure: Embracing Expensive Automation
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Economists have long lamented the "cost disease" in services: their propensity to rise in price relative to products subject to the efficiencies of manufacturing. Theorists of disruptive innovation have proposed to "cure" the cost disease by standardizing, automating, and even robotizing service-intensive sectors like health care, finance, and education. From massive open online courses to robotic companions for the elderly, these innovations aim to displace workers (or at least work) with mechanical imitations of human labor....