26 January 2017

R.U.R. for Our Times

R.U.R. meets RoboCop?

The thinking folks have been banging the drum that Kim Jong-Don is a con man, who managed to convince 77,000 idiot white folks in the Alabama areas of three otherwise rational Northern states that their problems are caused by dark folk, rather than the billionaire class of Kim Jong-Don. The biggest of the Big Lies from Kim Jong-Don and his cabal is that China, et al are the cause of manufacturing employment's decline. Not close to true. Which has been mentioned here once or twice. All that "carnage" trumpeted by Kim Jong-Don in the Rust Belt North started with the capitalists fleeing to the union busting American South. Those 77,000 angry white folks most definitely voted against their own self interest. Reagan played that card, and so have Republicans ever since.

The editors at the NYT give their headline writers rather a long leash, it appears. Today's story describing what's really been going on carries the title "How to Make America's Robots Great Again". Cheeky, that. But true, of course. Of note: robots really were invented and developed in the USofA; still are, too.
In 2016, the United States hit a manufacturing record, producing more goods than ever. But you don't hear much gloating about this because manufacturers made all this stuff without a lot of people. Thanks to automation, we now make 85 percent more goods than we did in 1987, but with only two-thirds the number of workers.

Stated more explicitly, we make 85% more stuff with 33% fewer humans; not as one might immediately think, 85% more stuff with 33% more folks. In the words of economists, productivity has soared. In the words of capitalists, they've kept nearly all of the added value of that productivity. Wages for those still working in manufacturing should also have soared. But thanks to the likes of the lunatic right, all those good paying jobs don't exist. Demonizing Chinese and Mexicans won't change that.
In 2013, China became the world's largest market for industrial robots, according to the International Federation of Robotics, an industry trade group. Now China is working on another big goal: to become the largest producer of robots used for factories, agriculture and a range of other applications.

I'll remind Gentle Reader of the outcome of the Trump/Pence Carrier shadow dance:
GREG HAYES: Right. Well, and again, if you think about what we talked about last week, we're going to make a $16 million investment in that factory in Indianapolis to automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive. Now is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost of labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we'll make the capital investments there.


GREG HAYES: But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.

The standard whipping boy of the lunatic right, who are clearly conflicted, is the unionized auto worker. On the one hand, they've spent decades demonizing such folks, just the Rust Belt angry white folks who're now out of work. But, now of course, Kim Jong-Don claims that he's their savior. Baloney, of course. Here's a detailed analysis of the way the world really was, at the time of the auto rescue.
A final note on all this: Labor costs only account for about 10 percent of the cost of producing a vehicle.

With further robotics, I'd wager even less in 2017. As one component of cost diminishes in absolute share, cutting said cost by X% means less and less to total cost reduction; you don't get X% total cost reduction. It's that pesky arithmetic, again.

IOW, unskilled uneducated white folks will never again live the life of 90210. And dark folks have nothing to do with it. Despite the Big Lies from Kim Jong-Don.

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