There's been a small, but influential, hysteria surrounding the idea is that a huge wave of automation, technology and skills have lead to a massive structural change in the economy since 2010. The implicit argument here is that robots and machines have both made traditional demand-side policies irrelevant or naïve, and been a major driver of wage stagnation and inequality. Though not the most pernicious story that gained prominence as the recovery remained sluggish in 2010 to 2011, it gained an important foothold among elite discussion. That is over.David Autor and Larry Summers tear apart the idea that a Machine Age is responsible for our economic plight.
"HS Dent, an economic forecasting firm, compiled Census data [PDF] on spending behavior and presented them as a series of demand curves... The curves measure average annual expenditure for a given product over the age of the consumer." [more inside]
The Espresso Book Machine. A photocopier-size machine that can print and bind a paperback in a few minutes. This is the first fully-automatic book printer designed for retail locations, it is envisioned to be a kiosk. Current beta tests in DC and New York Public Library, also in talks with the Internet Archive and others to support the growing world of online scanned books. Further out, Kinkos, Starbucks, etc.. could become major book sellers and the practice of overstocking (and discounted books) could be reduced. Machine will probably be about $100,000.