There is already a long-term trend towards lower levels of employment in some rich countries.
The proportion of American adults participating in the labour force recently hit its lowest level since 1978, and although some of that is due to the effects of ageing, some is not.
In a recent speech that was modelled in part on Keynes’s “Possibilities”, Larry Summers, a former American treasury secretary, looked at employment trends among American men between 25 and 54. In the 1960s only one in 20 of those men was not working.
According to Mr Summers’s extrapolations, in ten years the number could be one in seven.