Robert Theobald

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Robert Theobald
Economist and Futurist
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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