The two historical debates studied here are concerned with the impact of technological change on unemployment and on the economy generally. The topic is of enduring interest among both economists and the public at large. The history of these 20th century debates has not previously been studied in detail, and the book provides valuable insight into the evolution of the understanding of a fundamental issue in the economy. By providing insight into idea evolution and economic methodology, the book is a valuable description of the ways in which economists work and react to each other.
?Economists have generally been optimistic about the effects of technological change, but occasionally fears have arisen that it will cause significant, perhaps enduring, unemployment. In this book Woirol...focuses on two periods in which the optimism was challenged--the late 1920s and 1930s, when economists grappled with "technological unemployment," and the 1960s, when they debated the importance of "structural unemployment." Woirol makes a solid contribution to the history of economic thought and provides an evenhanded, concise (though encyclopedic and well-documented), readable, ...chronological survey of both the theoretical and empirical literature.... A useful addition to graduate and research collections in labor economics or the history of economic thought.?-Choice