Making America Work Again… With Robots
Part of the promises by the Trump-Pence campaign, as well part of the promise Trump made to the voters who backed him up, it was that he would bring factories back to the country; the idea sounds quite romantic and it perfectly appealed to the middle class that were “enchanted” by his speech as it appeals to a Post-War Era were factories where on the boom, and the Baby Boomers and the Generation of the 29 were mesmerized by a new wave of industrial revolution.
It is quite a romantic ideal, in which society changed and if we adapt it, is not far-fetched, the world economy and social panorama are shifting towards a new macro-depression but also to an era where automation has become the standard of the execution of major factories and trade occupations are becoming obsolete.
China as an example is investing US$3 billion a year in robots – way before on 2009 and to lower cost of the developing nation. Trump on February the 28th of 2017 that he “will bring millions of jobs” We should consider that this is not the job of one person but a conjunction of a group effort towards re-establishing the hegemony of the American economy and the power of the middle class as if it was on the Post War Era. The problem to face is that the North American Free Trade Agreement face China low base prices on the manufacturing jobs and how companies are outsourcing jobs outside.
Another debacle towards the economic stabilization is that due China’s influence on the world free trade market is that if the U.S.-based manufacturers want to compete against China, they must reduce cost of operations at the moment they are again based on the United States soil, and by default whenever they are back they will need to do massive deployment rounds of employees in order to save costs.
A study made by the Boston Consulting Group in 2015, found a comparison on a hypothetical base in which an automaton can execute the job with minimum wage, US$8.00 per hour which will cover installation, maintenance and operating costs while an employee would be earning US$25.00 per hour plus benefits and the gap is expected to get wider as technology becomes efficient and cheaper.
Even with political pressure and the relocation of the line of ensemble, all to restore middle class jobs in the trade or manufacturing fields, the results can be disappointing as a physical task is considered high-cost labor in the market which could consider the companies to employ robots instead of massive lines of employees.
Tax incentives could be an option and the differential cost of operations could be a turning point in the capital investment to create more jobs on American grounds, but whenever you can pay your employees the less of the minimal wage and keep the products cheaper, then it wouldn’t be strange that companies rather go out the country and find other locations in which they can earn more revenue by investing less.
ADIDAS is one of the many examples on how outsourcing to different Asian. We can name one example as Cambodia; had placed them on the eye of watchdog groups because they fail to bring labor laws to a fair trade of business, in which there is a constant violation of overtime and work conditions that has been violated and over-watched over and over by the Cambodian government.
Brands and corporation should disclose and be open about their suppliers in order to help vulnerable workers; such as discrimination of pregnant women in the workplace, anti-union and forced overtime. Yet is good to know that ADIDAS on 2017 implemented and developed a factory in Germany known as the Speedfactory in which the factory is run by robots; the idea of the factory wouldn’t be only in Germany but also the U.S. which will have a base of operation in Atlanta.
The turning point is going to be that there is going to be a decline on the blue-collar worker force and a rise on the white-collar one; the idea of Trump “bringing millions of jobs” is ludicrous and he isn’t far oblivious towards the implementation of technologies for easy manufacturing. The white-collar workers would adapt quickly to the creation, implementation and maintenance of new technologies that would run on the factories, creating a disproportion in the workforce of America.
What about the auto-industry? The one that Trump based some of the promises of his campaign?