Rise of Robot Laborers in China Could Change Global Trade Game


contributor-80x100-fmartelFrances Martel reports:  2013 was a banner year for uncalled for expansion of China’s borders, from the Senkaku Islands Air Identification Defense Zone to a state TV show claiming the entirety of the Philippines for China. But on the economic front, China plans an expansion of a completely different kind: the use of robots to make manufacturing even cheaper.

Canada’s Globe and Mail has a feature out this week on China’s increased push to replace human labor with automated work. While China boasts some of the cheapest labor in the world–hence their domination of the manufacture of many simple to make items–salaries are, by necessity, increasing. This, argues author Scott Barlow, is pressuring the Chinese government to stay competitive economically with other nations by suppressing the growing wages. And to do that, he continues, businesses need to hire fewer people.

The Globe and Mail’s business team has been on the forefront of covering the shift from human laborers to robotics in the global economy, first reporting last December on the increase in their presence in our lives. Within the next 15 years, predicts that article, “robots will increasingly being to populate a new domain– the physical realm.” An example: a restaurant in China that fully gave up on using waiters and waitresses and employs “20 life-size robots” to cook and serve meals.

One of the easiest ways to use machines to manufacture what was previously the purview of humans is 3D printing, a developing phenomenon that The Week reported this week is very much in the aim of Chinese industry. The reason for such a passion for automated manufacturing is the same as for the increased use of robots: China is simply not the cheapest place for corporations to send their unskilled labor anymore, and the Chinese government is panicking…

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2 Comments on “Rise of Robot Laborers in China Could Change Global Trade Game”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet Frances Martel reports: 2013 was a banner year for uncalled for expansion of China’s borders, […]

  2. […] Rise of Robot Laborers in China Could Change Global Trade Game […]

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