November 23, 2016

How do you build a wall against the robots, the biggest threat for manufacturing workers here and there?

Sir, Martin Wolf quotes Richard Baldwin, author of the “The Great Convergence”, with that workers in South Carolina “are not competing with Mexican labour, Mexican capital and Mexican technology as they did in the 1970s. They are competing with a nearly unbeatable combination of US know-how and Mexican wages.” “Trump faces the reality of world trade” November 22.

That has an element to truth in it but, in many ways, the worst competition both Mexican and American manufacturing workers face in the future will come from technology, like robots.

How do you build a wall against job-stealing robots? No matter how that wall was built, your own consuming citizens would end up paying for it by paying higher prices.

One idea I have been toying with lately goes someway along the line of placing some type of payroll taxes on robots; first so as to permit us humans to be able to compete with these on a more level ground; and second so that with those revenues we could partially fund a Universal Basic Income, a Societal Dividend, which could provide us with a step-ladder to easier reach up to the growing gig-economy. 

That said, with respect to Trump and trade-deals I would just remind him of that no nation can be kept strong by cuddling up in comforting isolation and that probably the last legacy any President would want to leave behind him, is that of having weakened the Home of the Brave.

To top that up, quite gently, I would also point out to Trump that USA’s Declaration of Independence clearly states as one of its justifications, the need to stand up to “the present King of England… For cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World”.

PS. In this context only as curiosa, the Declaration of Independence also mentions as a justification that “the present King of England…has endeavored to prevent the Population of these States… obstructing the Laws of naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither”