Robert Theobald

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Robert Theobald
Economist and Futurist

Theobald, Robert


Born 1929 in India. American economist.

Theobald is a professor at Columbia University. He is the author of the theory of the “cybernetic revolution” and of the well-known manifesto “The Triple Revolution in the US” (1964), which was signed by a number of economists and social figures of the United States and other countries. Theobald’s writings provide a technological interpretation, from a bourgeois-reformist point of view, of the contradictions engendered in capitalism by the scientific and technological revolution. According to Theobald, automation and cybernation of the production of goods and the supply of services will by the 1980’s lead to unemployment for more than one-half of the world’s work force (with only 10 percent of the work force in the United States employed by the end of the 20th century) and to a break in the link between employment and income. Together, these consequences threaten to bring about new economic crises and a revolutionary overthrow of capitalism.

Theobald believes that the scientific and technological revolution renders untenable the Keynesian theory of achieving full employment and avoiding economic crises through governmental regulation and intervention. It is also seen as undermining the neo-Keynesian theory of economic growth. In order to save capitalism, Theobald proposes that economic policy should be less concerned with capital investment and the acceleration of economic growth than with reforms in the distribution of wealth. These reforms include a guaranteed income for all unemployed. Unemployed workers would receive one-half the subsistence wage, while unemployed managers and members of the petite bourgeoisie and bourgeois intelligentsia would have a minimum income equivalent to twice the subsistence wage. The reforms would produce an unlimited expansion of markets and an increase in monopoly profits. Theobald’s ideas helped form the basis for the bourgeois theory of the postindustrial society.


The Challenge of Abundance. New York, 1961.
Free Men and Free Markets. New York [1963].
Economizing of Abundance. Chicago, 1972.
Futures Conditional. New York, 1972.


Dvorkin, I. N. “Teoriia ’kiberneticheskoi revoliutsii’ Roberta Tibolda.” In Kritika teorii sovremennykh burzhuaznykhekonomistov. Moscow, 1966.


References in periodicals archive ?
Robert Theobald is a graduate of Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri, and completed his residency in proctology at Grandview Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio.
The hotel would be an independent facility and not part of a chain, said city Planning Director Robert Theobald.
Of course this won't happen, but as Jose Ramos Horta and Robert Theobald have recently warned, the greatest threat to peace and security is poverty and we have already seen it cause violence and chaos in many parts of the world.
Futurist Robert Theobald has given much thought to this shying away from the issues that most affect our common future.
Futurist Robert Theobald has designed workshops which specifically "set up a space where creativity emerges" to empower participants for change (Page & Theobald, 1989).
Plans call for the Las Virgenes district to provide and maintain the building for Russell Ranch Preschool, while the city of Westlake Village will lease the district a 10,000-square-foot lot for $1 a year, said Robert Theobald, Westlake Village's planning director.
By diverting recyclable aluminum, glass and plastic from the landfills since 1992, the city already has reduced the city's trash by 28 percent, Planning Director Robert Theobald said.
One of the questions on my mind for some time has been what kind of development will end up at the Eaton site,'' said city planner Robert Theobald.
In response to residents' concerns, the city has eliminated plans for an amphitheater while adding noise barriers, said Robert Theobald, planning director.
Robert Theobald, the city planning director, said later that the plot of land in question may originally have been slated for development, with sewer and water connections hooked up.
Other commercial ventures have proposed plans to take over the area, but Planning Director Robert Theobald said officials were concerned about traffic around the facility.