>It's not "logic", it's a question.
Are these mutually exclusive concepts in your book ?
>Well, you can think that all you want, but that's not how arguments or reasoning work.
Actually, yes, that is exactly how they work. The burden of evidence is on the extraordinary claim - which is, in this case, that none of the massive changes in our society over the past decades could possibly cause the event to have a different outcome than it had before.
>Economics is quite clear: automation generally improves the standard of living and makes society better off,
No it isn't. That's just not true. What would be a true statement is: "Economics is quite clear that up until now automation has generally improved the standard of living and made society better off and has not hitherto caused mass unemployment".
Anything beyond that is unproven, untestable and unscientific and no economist worthy of his degree would dare say it (so what does that tell you about those who might ?)
I gave you no less than two examples of aspects of the context which may very well cause the outcome this time to be different - your unwillingness to consider even the possibility that they may change the outcome is narrow-minded to say the least.
>If you want to convince people that a theory that has been empirically tested time and time again doesn't apply this time,
You don't seem to know how economics work - this is not a theory and it hasn't been tested. Economics is not "science" in the classic sense of the word - to quote economist Stephen Levit - economics is more a form of a mathematical engineering that develops tools used to identify trends from large sets of data which can be used to draw useful conclusions.
But these trends are contextual. Change the context - and the trend MUST change as well. Good economics must consider all the aspects of the historical context on the event - it cannot just assume that the trend will apply.
> you need to come up with some pretty good reasons and data. So far, you're only handwaving.
No I don't actually since I am not questioning the theory at all - I'm telling you that you don't know what the theory actually says.
Its a bit like this - you perform an experiment in a lab, you get a certain result, but you cannot be assured that outside the lab in an uncontrolled setting the result would be replicated because there are so many factors which may interfere - even the cat knocking over the beaker could prevent the reaction you were expecting from happening. An experiment is considered repeatable if another lab under the same controlled circumstances can get the same result - there's no requirement for the result to happen in all circumstances, all the time.
What you are doing is to ignore the "lab conditions" of the theory. The theory accounts for what was observed over the 19th and 20th centuries - in the industrial context of the time. It does not and cannot predict that the same thing will happen in all contexts all the time - not least because the "lab" here is the entire human race and everything that impacts them and their behaviour and responses - something which is most certainly not a constant.
As it happens the theory is limited to national observations not international ones (no such theory exists that speaks for internationally) so the ease of modern day international trade along with it's side effects like outsourcing massively changes the dynamic (in the Cartesian meaning of the term - what I have described using the layman's term "context") and may very well cause the outcome to change.