The fear of robots has been poisoning our lives for many generations. On the picture above you can see the covers of two American magazines with the difference of 60+ years. One would say that things haven’t been moving anywhere. But they have indeed. Because in the recent years robotization has been ousting thousands of people from their warm workplaces.
Moreover, electronic stuffing of those robots was far less advanced than these days…
We are well aware of the apocalyptic prophecies for the nearest 20-30 years. They say that tens of millions will lose their workplaces all over the world. Their work will be taken up by robots – faster, higher quality, and cheaper.
Of course, this model has another side. Higher work efficiency and lower production costs open a highway to price reduction. A similar example is transfer of a number of industries to China, where workforce was cheaper and capital expenditures – lower. This has almost killed light industry in such average countries as Russia, which were not able to compete against Chinese consumer goods neither in prices, nor in unique quality.
It goes without saying, the USSR weaving, garment, foot-wear etc. factories that were not shut down in 1990-ies are still puffing. And some of their owners feel pretty fair, though you cannot say that about their employees. Nevertheless, thanks to China, among others, the real purchasing power of their meager salaries, is perhaps higher compared to the USSR. At least if translated into consumer goods, equipment, and even food.
In some sense, robotization is going to pull the prices down in the same way. And there is a future, in which a certain minimum of human needs will be provided by means of a universal basic income paid to everyone. And probably, it will be funded from taxes on robots.
On the other hand, there will be something exclusive – the workforce and goods. Prices will be determined according to relevant market rules with certain specific features.
A small illustration of this exclusivity may be the same two magazine covers. If you pay attention to the prices, you shall see how the prices have risen for paper weeklies in the USA. Another example – here is the same “The New Yorker” of 60 years ago.
The price rose by 45 times in 60 years! Which corresponds to the annual level of inflation of 6.5%. And if calculated according to the average consumer price index for the same period, the price of one magazine would have been $ 1.81. The difference is almost fivefold – and this is an extra charge for the uniqueness.
So if you don’t want to be afraid of robots, all you have to do is become unique, and therefore enjoy high demand. Have you found something unique for yourself yet? And for your kids, who will have to face this problem to the full?