Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Erik Nieves
Erik's posts

Post has attachment
Erik Nieves commented on a post on Blogger.

I appreciated the blog. A couple of thoughts:

1) I acknowledge that you are presenting the fully automated or 'lights out' operation as a thought experiment in order to make your point that robots don't cost jobs. I agree with your conclusion that 'keeping service jobs is better than losing all jobs,' even if it is a negative thesis. Negative theses are always problematic in that they mean having to choose between bad and worse; losing factory jobs is bad, losing all jobs is worse. We don't like either choice.

2) The scenario you present presupposes a brownfield installation that replaces labor with capital and keeps the service jobs local. Ok, but likely not a candidate for a new factory in a new area. Chances are a new factory would locate in the same town to take advantage of the services already available rather than build in a new town and have to create all those same jobs. Simply due to efficiency, each new factory adds fewer and fewer service jobs. In essence, manufacturing labor scales but service jobs don't.

3) I argue that the optimal factory is one that keeps labor for the purposes of flexibility. Our principal value as people is our agility across the breadth of activity required. Automation is great, and the new capabilities of collaborative robots will support small batch manufacturing, but while that new robot may be able to handle several tasks, it isn't going to pick up a broom and sweep the floor, gather its own materials, or make suggestions on process improvements. People do this everyday in the course of their 'manufacturing duties.' The real value of labor is that it can pivot so readily.

Wait while more posts are being loaded