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The statistics linking new technology and unemployment are examined, and it is concluded that the direct effects of technology are outweighed by its indirect effects, via long term economic cycles, whose behaviour is similar to that of any unstable feedback system. The social changes associated with previous troughs in the cycle are considered, and a parallel is drawn between the present recession and that of the 1830s, which triggered the principal social changes of the industrial revolution. The equivalent socioeconomic effects of the present technological revolution are discussed. The impact of new technology on third world employment is also considered, together with the possible implications of global economic recovery.