Saturday, February 4, 2017

Call the Luddites

The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It’s Automation.
Excerpt: Globalization is clearly responsible for some of the job losses, particularly trade with China during the 2000s, which led to the rapid loss of 2 million to 2.4 million net jobs, according to research by economists including Daron Acemoglu and David Autor of M.I.T. People who work in parts of the country most affected by imports generally have greater unemployment and reduced income for the rest of their lives, Mr. Autor found in a paper published in January. Still, over time, automation has had a far bigger effect than globalization, and would have eventually eliminated those jobs anyway, he said in an interview. “Some of it is globalization, but a lot of it is we require many fewer workers to do the same amount of work,” he said. “Workers are basically supervisors of machines.” When Greg Hayes, the chief executive of United Technologies, agreed to invest $16 million in one of its Carrier factories as part of a Trump deal to keep some jobs in Indiana instead of moving them to Mexico, he said the money would go toward automation.

Robots want half of your jobs. That’s $16 trillion in worldwide wages. Can’t blame China for that.
Excerpt: Employers could feasibly swap out machines, using existing technology, for humans in 50 percent of today’s jobs, says a new McKinsey report.
That’s not just low-paying work but plenty of white-collar employment as well, and that works out to $16 trillion in wages worldwide and $2.7 trillion in the U.S.

RPT-U.S. investors see more automation, not jobs, under Trump administration
Excerpt: Jan 19 When U.S. President-elect Donald Trump criticized United Technologies Corp's Carrier unit in November for its plan to move some 800 jobs to Mexico, the parent-company made a swift decision to keep the factory in Indiana.
Yet, the move did not translate into saving jobs. Instead, the company decided it would move toward automation as a way to cut costs. "We're going to make up $16 million investment in that factory in Indianapolis to automate, to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive," chief executive Greg Hayes said on CNBC last month. "What that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs." ... Declining costs of technology are expected to accelerate the growth of robotic manufacturing. Some 80 percent of companies that plan to cut jobs in the next year expect to partially replace workers with automation, according to a survey of chief executives by PwC released Monday.

Editor's Letter, The Week magazine. Theunis Bates

Excerpt: Some 200 years on, advances in automation continue to cause political and social upheaval. President Trump routinely blames the disappearance of U.S. manufacturing jobs on bad trade deals and cut-rate competition from China and Mexico—attacks that have struck a chord with Rust Belt voters. But that populist rage should really be directed at the robots (see Technology). A recent study found that 85 percent of manufacturing job losses from 2000 to 2010 were caused by automation, not outsourcing. American firms have been steadily cutting employees and replacing them with machines that are cheaper (they don’t need benefits) and more efficient (they don’t take vacations). U.S. factories now produce twice as much stuff as they did in 1984, but with one-third of the workers. 

No comments:

Post a Comment