Show of HandsShow of Hands

r3VOLution July 15th, 2013 3:47pm

Robots used in manufacturing: good or bad for the economy?

134 Liked

Comments: Add Comment

07/20/13 11:57 am

It is good and bad at the same time. How is it bad? It's bad because the unemployment rate will be even lower than it is. How is it good? It is good because people wouldn't have to work that much.

07/19/13 7:22 pm

Good for the consumer, bad for the economy.... Robots don't buy goods or pay taxes.

david suburban DC
07/19/13 4:19 pm

Just not good for the EMPLOYMENT part of the economy. Every advance has a cost!

mrcoyote Casa Grande
07/17/13 9:08 am

To a point its good, such as repetitive tasks, but after it gets to the point where they are taking jobs way too often, they need to cut back

LRM20 A Hoosier in Lincoln Land
07/17/13 5:06 am

robots simply open up the potential for more desk jobs for higher trained people. If the people continue to be more educated, there won't be a problem.

07/16/13 5:49 pm

If your job can be replaced by a bot. Then you need better job skills. Bots mainly used for repetitive tasks and highly accurate tasks. Will never replace a job that requires critical thinking skills.

07/16/13 8:16 pm

Not everyone is a critical thinker.....there are ppl who rely on being busers or data entry etc because they simply can't handle anything else....if bots take these jobs what happens to lower intellect ppl?

07/16/13 9:13 pm

Erica, there are always jobs that people need filled that require a lower skill set. There is no shortage of demand, and with an increased labor suppy, we will get things we previously could not have had,

07/17/13 9:35 am

I wouldn't say never but most likely not for a Long long longggg time to replace critical thinking skills . Also Erica it has been shown that IQ is not the dominant factor in lifetime success , character and willingness to work hard is

07/16/13 3:21 pm

Hurts many at the moment but better in long run. Progress...moving and changing.

07/16/13 7:17 am

While robots may take people's jobs on one aspect, more jobs are needed for the up keep, programming, design, etc. depending how you look at it, more jobs may be created for it...

evo Tampa
07/16/13 5:29 am

Any job (repeat ANY) job that is repetitive can and will be either automated by a computer program or replaced with robots. This is a reason why kids need college, the jobs of the future are highly technical to support this trend.

Jayseph Wasatch Front
07/16/13 12:14 am

Anything that takes away human jobs is BAD. N'Kay.

07/16/13 9:04 pm

All machines do that. Let's get rid of all the cars, and move all goods by hand. It would create jobs.

BadWolf The Library
07/15/13 10:58 pm

This is why economics should be mandatory in school.

07/16/13 9:14 pm

This is one of those litmus test questions. The "lump of labor fallacy" is alive and well.

pmurray00 New Jersey
07/15/13 10:45 pm

Bite my shiny metal ass.

bnnt Los Angeles
07/15/13 9:49 pm

As long as they don't go haywire and attack humans...

07/15/13 9:44 pm

So machines aren't robots I take it In this scenario? Soh asks very relevant questions

GiantRobot Pennsylvania
07/15/13 9:42 pm


Vincere Seattle
07/15/13 9:17 pm

I think some people get caught up in how politicians define good economic performance. They start to think that a good job market drives economic performance. In reality it is the other way around.

PinkysWifey Wisconsin
07/15/13 7:51 pm

Factories/manufacturing yes, but I refuse to use things like "self checkouts"... I won't put people out of work if I can help it.

evo Tampa
07/16/13 5:32 am

It's a noble pursuit, but those kinds of jobs are going to go away. This is one of the many contradictions of capitalism. Corporations need consumers to buy products, but corporations want to pay consumers as little for work as possible.

07/16/13 9:07 pm

It's not a "noble pursuit", it's economic ignorance. There are no "contradictions of capitalism." None. Consumers want to pay as little as possible to corporations. The market equilibrates these forces.

evo Tampa
07/16/13 9:32 pm

Nuwriter, the contradictions aren't debatable...I'm not making this up for the fuck of it, it's economics 101. When's the last time a consumer changed the price of a product? Apple has been selling their products at the same price for 10 years.

07/17/13 3:27 am

Evo, yes, it's economics 101, and you've fucking failed it. Consumers choose prices all the time, by not purchasing products priced above what they are willing to pay. The "contradictions" are bad economics - as you've shown.

07/17/13 3:32 am

And as for Apple selling their products the same price for 10 years - they're different products. There was no iPhone in 2003. But even since 2007 the quality has vastly improved. In 2007, the original iPhone was $399.

07/17/13 3:37 am

Right now you can get an iPhone 5 for $129. That doesn't seem like the same prices. You really should get try to get a refund for econ 101 if you think consumers don't in the real sense set prices.

evo Tampa
07/17/13 5:46 am

Sure, consumers have that power, if and only if the products they want are available elsewhere cheaper. You can't buy an iPhone 5 for that price...only with a contract (in which you pay for it).

evo Tampa
07/17/13 5:48 am

Corporations are in the business of wealth accumulation. Anything that can be done to accumulate more, they will do. The contradiction lies here. The price of the product has absolutely nothing to do with it. If consumers are paid by corporations...

evo Tampa
07/17/13 5:51 am

And corporations depend on consumers to buy their product, therein lies the problem. It's a circle of dependency in which the corporation has opposing goals(aka a contradiction).

evo Tampa
07/17/13 5:53 am

They want to pay employees as little as possible (hence wealth accumulation) but they depend on the consumers(employees of other corporations) to buy their product. Moving jobs overseas is a perfect example, one which makes the problem very clear

evo Tampa
07/17/13 5:58 am

I hosted a radio show for a while and had a PhD in economics and professor at a major university on, and the very first thing he wanted to talk about we're the contradictions of capitalism...If a man of that stature thinks it's a problem, I'm going

evo Tampa
07/17/13 5:59 am

Going to listen to him.

07/15/13 7:37 pm

Robots are good. They can't join unions.

seandolan93 Cascadia
07/15/13 6:33 pm

The question implies that we will actually start manufacturing again. So it's good.

goodquestion CA
07/15/13 6:19 pm

Um, how are robot "workers" not like overseas laborers, the ones who reduce the number of jobs in this country and drive down salaries/min. wage for American workers? Isn't the whole Made In China problem then replaced by one called Made By Droid?

evoecon nearest binary system
07/15/13 6:28 pm

Same argument made during the industrial revolution against mechanization. This argument overlooks the fact the mechanization, substantially, reduced the cost of products, which increased disposable income available to purchase other products.

Rosebud Ohio
07/15/13 9:32 pm

Better to have half the jobs here than all the jobs overseas.

MissN The Experiment
07/15/13 6:17 pm

More efficiency. The displaced workers will gradually redistribute to other needed areas as robots are phased in, and our economy will be improved as a whole.

SomeDays Atlanta
07/15/13 6:15 pm

Good for consistent product quality (or lack thereof) but bad for the people who's jobs are being replaced. Kind of reminds me of the toothpaste factory scene in Willy Wonka.

07/16/13 9:09 pm

At one point, over 90% of the people in this country worked in agriculture. This was needed to produce enough food. Now it's 5%. New jobs are created meeting needs that previously went unfulfilled.

tidford My little piece of heaven
07/15/13 4:05 pm

In the long run this results in much greater wealth per capita - a good thing. In the short term there will be severe economic displacements, often leading to civil unrest, perhaps war and a new government. That's a dangerous & scary prospect.

ScrewU Gone
07/15/13 4:15 pm

How can we just assume that the guy who spent 20 years tightening the same bolt on an assembly line can just learn computer programming. I think a lot of people won't be "displaced," they'll be "discarded."

07/15/13 4:36 pm

Sad thing is that if the only that u know how to do is to turn a bolt, then u need to educate yourself and go to college, this is the knowledge age and if ppl actually opened there eyes they'd see it's an opportunity at a better life

07/15/13 4:39 pm

*sad that no one sees it that way

Praetorianus Fair enough.
07/15/13 4:42 pm

It gets interesting if you get replaced at one job by a robot you designed at another ;)

07/16/13 9:12 pm

ScrewU, why do you assume he'll have to? There are mechanical jobs not in factories. What has happened to the telephone operator, the elevator operator, the milkman, or the horse and buggy repairman?

smacc DunningKruger
07/15/13 3:44 pm

So they make things safe. Obviously because there's no one to hurt. Jobs of hundred shift to engineers. I guess they can buy all the products. They are faster. Again the engineers get their stuff faster.

smacc DunningKruger
07/15/13 3:48 pm

Robots are not bad but we have to be committed to reeducate all displaced worker. That cost should come from the increased profits of these industries.

smacc DunningKruger
07/15/13 3:48 pm

After all if the only gain from the use of robots is profit for a few then they are bad for the economy.

07/15/13 3:34 pm

Technological advancements increase the production possibilities curve. More diversified and efficient economy is awesome.

BadWolf The Library
07/15/13 10:56 pm

Holy crap. Real economics words on soh. Its like a unicorn.

07/15/13 11:01 pm

Haha well thanks. Sadly, I feel as if you're one of 5 people who have a clue what I said.

BadWolf The Library
07/15/13 11:17 pm

A degree in economics does give me a bit of an edge.

07/16/13 9:33 am

That's true. I'm a rising college sophomore and just took micro which also gives me an edge but it's pretty simple. I'm planning on majoring in Econ as well

think4yourself Not a safe space
07/15/13 3:30 pm

Look around the world. The countries with the most automation are the most prosperous countries in the world.

Praetorianus Fair enough.
07/15/13 3:56 pm

Exactly. Japan even plans to have robots as caretakers for the elderly. I don't know what the future has in store for me, but hope I won't need assistance before 2040. I'd gladly accept a robot or wear an exoskeleton. I embrace modernity.

ScrewU Gone
07/15/13 4:17 pm

Japan's economy has been stagnant for 30 years.

think4yourself Not a safe space
07/15/13 6:30 pm

Japan has been stagnant for years because their government has been micromanaging their economy like obama is doing here. They are still one of the most automated and wealthiest countries in the world.

ScrewU Gone
07/16/13 5:50 am

That's great if you like living with your parents and having a doll for a girlfriend.

MadCow True GOP
07/15/13 3:26 pm

Good! More time for Americans to sit around, get fat, and shoot guns.

We have a track record of good decisions when we have too much time on our hands.

cato Santa Barbara, California
07/15/13 2:58 pm

Good!!! They keep the US competitive.

07/15/13 2:52 pm

Good for large corporations-bad for American workers

arborfamilia on top of the hill
07/15/13 2:40 pm

...SOMEBODY has to make the robots...

MJSeals J.D.
07/15/13 2:42 pm


brharper13 New York
07/15/13 2:36 pm

Not good for manufacturing jobs, but good for engineering jobs. Plus someone has to make the robots.

Praetorianus Fair enough.
07/15/13 2:38 pm

Robots can make the robots. But humans design and supervise them.

brharper13 New York
07/15/13 3:29 pm

and service. You'd be surprised how often engineering doesn't hold up

Praetorianus Fair enough.
07/15/13 2:25 pm

Unemployment has reasons other than robots. Compare Japan and Germany to Greece and Spain. The former are better off due to leading in export, like, cars. And that's highly roboticized. They replace industrial job loss with jobs in the service sector

Praetorianus Fair enough.
07/15/13 2:28 pm

It was the same with transition from agrarian to industrial.
There always will be enough jobs if your economy is stable in general. Service industries can not be completely robotic. High unemployment is due to crappy economy.

think4yourself Not a safe space
07/15/13 2:25 pm

Robots won't come to work drunk or high or steal from you.

notalib Trump Supporter
07/15/13 2:09 pm

Robots don't unionize. :)

Praetorianus Fair enough.
07/15/13 2:29 pm

Robots don't strike or demand higher wages.

07/15/13 2:54 pm

...but someday they will enslave you.

Praetorianus Fair enough.
07/15/13 3:19 pm

Only if we let them.
Long time ago, I programmed a Sony robotic arm. If anybody was stupid enough to open the screen and grab into the workspace, opening resulted in a hardware stop. Cannot be overridden, power disconnect and that was that.

pinkyusuck The Carribean. I wish.
07/15/13 2:05 pm

Not great for low tech jobs, but good for the economy. Now if we could just build the robots here, that'd be a start.

Diknak Ohio
07/15/13 1:54 pm

prior rust said bad are really stupid. Sorry, but you're just wrong. do you enjoy paying $1.00 for a bottle of water? maybe you would prefer to pay $5.00, because that it's what it would be without automation.

Vincere Seattle
07/15/13 2:00 pm

Ignorant is a better term. They somehow never leaned basic macroeconomics.

ScrewU Gone
07/15/13 2:55 pm

I can buy a $5 bottle of water a lot easier with a job than a $1 bottle of water without on.

07/15/13 1:50 pm

As technology advances, fewer and fewer people are required to work for our societal system to function. Increased production is nearly always a good thing, however we live in a society that fears socialism, so people look for work that isn't there.

beanD California
07/15/13 1:35 pm

I can't believe this many people said it's bad for the economy.

Praetorianus Fair enough.
07/15/13 1:53 pm

The problem was getting hot in the 80s. Then, some predicted horrible unemployment by 2010, others predicted a leisure society. Neither happened, though I'd love to see robots do all the work and me just playing video games. Against robots ;)

07/15/13 1:29 pm

If mechanical advances resulted in job loss, there'd be 90% unemployment.

07/15/13 1:25 pm

Granted, the robot will take a job that a human could do, but creating the robots/improving and maintaining modern technology, etc. provides jobs. Furthermore, it increases efficiency and lowers prices.

DavesNotHere where am I
07/15/13 1:32 pm

One robot can potentially take the job if 10 people. More automation, less employment.

Diknak Ohio
07/15/13 1:57 pm

stats don't agree with you. unemployment would be off the charts around the world if that were the case. jobs just change from unskilled to technical.

07/15/13 2:01 pm

Think of all the jobs in that field of technology. Engineers, programmers, maintenance/installation and technical workers, teams of innovators. It's a growing field that outweighs the loss of employees in the production line -- a workforce shift.

Diogenes FreeMeBe
07/15/13 1:22 pm

Bad until the population decreases. Morbid? Yes. But with robotics replacing jobs from fellow humans, the inevitable outcome is increasing poor on food stamps.

Praetorianus Fair enough.
07/15/13 1:25 pm

No, because there is no lack of supply. We'd get a deflation. You don't have to fire people, just cut the hours.

07/15/13 1:55 pm

Or, we can recognize that society doesn't need 100% of the pop. employed, for our system to function. The rest of us could use government grants to design, and create new technology, and even educate ourselves, branching efficiency to innovation.

think4yourself Not a safe space
07/15/13 2:23 pm

Just have people do more productive stuff instead of the unskilled jobs robots could do.

07/15/13 2:49 pm

The trick is to constantly educate the population, in tandem with expanding technology. That is our problem now. We allow technology to progress, while education is in regress. That is why there is high unemployment. We don't value education.

Praetorianus Fair enough.
07/15/13 1:16 pm

The work is done cheaper and more efficient.
If the buying power goes down due to fewer jobs, thenso will prices.

chrismisen atlanta
07/15/13 1:13 pm

it's generally a good thing, as the wages lost by the workers are less than the savings consumers have on the final product.

HopefulChaos ohio
07/15/13 1:08 pm

Its bad bc it provides less jobs but its good for society since it pushes us to more intelligence based careers.Not that I dont appreciate people who do those jobs,but making them nonexistent,putting people in other jobs,would help make more progress

TiltonAllStarz Outside Ur Comfort Zone
07/15/13 12:55 pm

Good for pricing to the consumer.
Bad for the employment of the consumer.
Pros and cons.
I'll go with "good" because I'm employed.