Nonlinear Thinking: Robot Run Warehouses

By Global Macro Monitor

Here’s an interesting video clip that reinforces our view that almost all new innovation and technology is labor saving/destroying and that U.S. unemployment is much more structural than most perceive (click here to view video). Even the military, with the advent of drones and robots, is moving to a smaller “boots on the ground” force.

There are lags in the Schumpeterian creative destruction process as the labor force has to be retrained for the new high tech economy. It also illustrates, at least to us, why corporate profits are at record highs while unemployment is also stuck at historically high levels.

This is the future of what the private sector is looking to employ and, unfortunately, the political economy doesn’t fully comprehend these trends and is trying to pour old wine into the new wineskin. Trying to reinflate bubbles and the housing and stock market ghosts of Christmas past, which are the root of current macro woes, are futile quick fix attempts in our ADD political and economic culture.

Labor policy needs more emphasis on math and science training and less quanto easing, in our opinion. Zero percent interest rates ain’t gonna bring back these warehouse jobs and is destroying the wealth of savers and seniors who are so dependent on interest income. We’ll have much more on this.

Stay tuned.

3 Comments
  1. David Lazarus says

    I have been critical of the Zero Interest rate policy because of the implications for savers. It also does not create a way of sorting what to invest in. With the GOP not even worried about job creation the US is clearly its own worst enemy.

  2. john says

    With regard to robotics, a few years ago I was working on a business plan for urban goods distribution. The intent was to get green grants by proposing a system that would reduce the number of trucks on the road in New York city by up to 60%: trucks average 16% payloads on a typical run in the metropolitan region for reasons that are primarily about information and coordination. WallMart style information logistics combined with the application of warehousing technology to trucking coordinated by barcode over the internet, all existing technologies, could transform urban logistics making urban distribution lower cost than suburban. The tech is amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUCkDrICkqo&feature=related
    But the jobs end of this is a perfect disaster. I concluded there was no chance I had the cred to attract the huge capital that would be required, and that this green initiative would be better in a world in which workers were secure somewhere in employment. But the jobs loss portion of my business plan was the single largest cost benefit by an order of magnitude once the thing was running. It’s only a matter of time.

  3. Oldrich says

    The US needs more free-market capitalism and everything will be fine:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foqwqJHIihw

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