Bloomberg has an article out this morning showing the economic zones where the Robotics industry is taking jobs away from humans.
This is a fact of modern economic life and it is one reason why Donald Trump’s promises to America’s rust belt workers will go largely unfulfilled. Ref. Protection Will Lead to Great Prosperity.
Robots and automation will shift the economy but all other things being equal (and given the aggressive economy-distorting inputs from Central Banks, all other things are not equal) automation in all its forms is a positive for the greater economy, as it helps companies run more efficiently to their bottom lines and keeps certain consumer costs down to boot.*
An economy cannot just sit, stagnating. It must evolve just as society evolves. There is no hearkening back to the good old days when Grandpa had a cradle to grave job at GE, with what was then a nice middle class living wage and pension. Protectionism will not work because it is a global economy and progress is going to play out with those countries or zones that cling to the past left behind. I mean, we’re going to open up the old factories and smokestacks while even China continues to automate its cheap workforce? I don’t think so.
Of course, this all happens at a snail’s pace. Robotics was already in play in various forms for years before I left manufacturing. Automation in manufacturing was in play – in my experience – as far back as 1978, crude though it was then. Efficiency is Thing 1 and in an evolutionary continuum, complete with its inherent positives and negatives, you don’t go backwards. It is a self-driving (no pun intended, ha ha ha) process. The question is ‘what new jobs will the evolving economy provide?’ because the old ones are gone.
* Isn’t it interesting that the consumer costs that just keep rising, like Housing and College tuition a) cannot be effectively automated and b) are tethered to a massive credit creation scheme, where the funding money appears out of thin air?
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