Does automation lead to higher unemployment?

Here's a comment to a blog post at:

Full Decent says:
I've considered this extensively, Here's a perspective:
I know homeless people with cell phones and college kids who will forego food to make a car payment. To me, this reaffirms what I learned in marketing class: if you want to sell something, don't make people want it; make people need it.
Please consider another definition of employment: farming. Farming provides food, and aside from a few leaves to cover the body and a cave to keep warm, that's all you require to survive and reproduce. A few hundred years past, "unemployment" was low, most able-bodied people worked in agriculture. Now, in America, "unemployment" well over 99% ( Are people today free from banks and power of the rich? I would say yes: due to automation, a person in America today can purchase food for sustainment with a MODEST salary from minimal employment.
To put that back in context, people will want (read: need) things other than food. The things one can buy will get more and more abstract because the "simple" things are produced with automation. Someone out there today is putting in a full day at work so that they can buy new templates and smilies for their MySpace page. When people "need" ever more trivial things like that, there can never be sustained unemployment so high. 


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