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The impact of technological revolution on poverty: a case of South Africa

Hannah Dunga ()
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No 9010709, Proceedings of International Academic Conferences from International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences

Abstract: The world has experienced a massive transformation since the establishment of the first industrial revolution which seemed as a breakthrough for humankind. The first industrial revolution transformed from an agrarian and handcraft world to the use of machines that were powered by water and steam. This was followed by what is called the second and subsequently the third industrial revolution the two led to an establishment of electric power to create mass production and the use of electronics and information technology to automate production. In a short while technology evolved rapidly birthing what is so called the current fourth industrial revolution. Unlike the past three evolutions, the fourth industrial revolution has rapidly transformed the way of life to a sophisticated digitalized world where everything is made instant. In as far as such improvements in the technological sphere are important, the fourth industrial revolution is receiving so much critic in most industries, this paper highlights the effects of the fourth industrial revolution on the poor people or those on the boundary of poverty. The premise of the paper is that Industry 4.0 as it is also known, has made life better and easier for those that are involved and has paradoxically made the gap between the educated and the uneducated even wider. The usage of technological advancements is associated with income in a way that those that do not have access to such income as would enable them to afford any technological gadget and hence know how, are left behind by unprecedented gaps. This paper therefore analyses the relationship between technological advances proxied by access to cell phone and data, and poverty in South Africa. To achieve this the paper will employ data obtained from 2017 General household survey data from STATS SA. The apriori expectation is that households that are able to move with technology do so at very high opportunity cost and hence may trade off technology with basic needs that end up pushing them deeper into poverty.

Keywords: Fourth industrial revolution; poverty; technology; households; trade-off (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 11 pages
Date: 2019-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ict and nep-pay
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Published in Proceedings of the Proceedings of the 45th International Academic Conference, London, Jun 2019, pages 47-57

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