As Patrick Mahony’s minions debate the need for more robotic intervention in the industrial world, there tends to be a perception that robots will create unemployment issues and poverty. With unemployment in the US currently sitting at 4.4%, it’s clear that robotic intervention creating problems is a fallacy.
As many scientists predicted, the use of robots would make task driven jobs more efficient without costing people there jobs. The irrational fear that has gripped factory workers, farmers and sales forces has served to only delay the introduction of more efficient ways to do certain jobs.
According to a recent report written by a Wall Street Journal journalist, the development of robotic devices to create efficiency has been stymied by companies that are afraid to contribute to an explosion in the unemployment numbers. In his reports, the journalist stated:
“In April, non-farm private employment rose for the 86th straight month, the longest such streak on record. Monthly job creation has averaged 185,000 this year, more than double what the U.S. can sustain given its demographics. This has driven unemployment down to 4.4%, a 10-year low and below most estimates of ‘full employment.’ Growing labor shortages have boosted the typical worker’s annual wage gain to more than 3% now from 2% in 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Instead of worrying about robots destroying jobs, business leaders need to figure out how to use them more, especially in low-productivity sectors. The alternative is a tightening labor market that forces companies to pay ever higher wages that must be passed on as inflation, which usually ends with recession.”
The upshot of his article is a reluctance to use robots will eventually create a job shortage for both skilled and unskilled workers. This will lead to unsustainable wage increases, which force higher prices. Higher prices lead to inflation, and inflation leads to recession. Perhaps, we need robots more than we realized.