2015 September 15 Tuesday
Japan Labor Shortage From Aging Population Boosts Robots

Great news from Japan.

“The labor shortage is such an acute issue that companies have no choice but to boost efficiency,” says Hajime Shoji, the head of the Asia-Pacific technology practice at Boston Consulting Group Inc. “Growth potential is huge.” By 2025, robots could shave 25 percent off of factory labor costs in Japan, according to the consulting firm.

With a much smaller population of low skilled workers the United States could have been an even bigger innovator in robotics. But hopefully the big push to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour (why not $20!) will give American businesses the incentives they need to develop robots.

In our robotic future I expect an even bigger acceleration of the global decline in support for democracy. Support is even declining in the United States. The people with stagnating incomes think the system no longer works for them. The cognitive and financial elites feel more separated and feel less shared common interest with voters in poorer towns. If you are making your living selling high end stuff to cognitive elites around the globe then the more the income and trade takes place within the global upper class the less they feel loyalty to any one elected national government.

Click thru and read the article. Over 40% of the top quintile would like a leader who is unaccountable to Congress or elections. Wow. The neoreactionaries who favor a return to monarchy aren't as fringe as I thought. The challenge is going to be how to select a competent and correctly motivated dictator.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2015 September 15 07:31 PM 

AbelardLindsey said at September 15, 2015 10:38 PM:

The neoreaction people are essentially advocating the Singaporean model. Funny how they never mention Singapore when discussing their ideal political system. Singapore is the best example of a successful non-democratic state in the world. If the neoreaction people are not advocating the Singaporean model, then what hell model are these people advocating? Perhaps they are not as smart as they think they are.

Jim said at September 16, 2015 4:34 AM:

Democracy tends to exacerbate internal conflict. It works in a highly genetically homogeneous country like Iceland where nearly everybody speaks the same language, shares the same culture, belongs to the same church etc. Democracy in Singapore would be disastrous leading to bloody conflict between the Chinese and Malays. For most of the world democracy is at best a highly unstable form of government. In Latin America democracies have existed since the first half of the 19th century but the pattern in that continent has been for the most part one of unstable democracies alternating with periods of dictatorship and marked by episodes of enormous violence such as the Mexican Civil War and La Violencia in Columbia. The history of Venezuela is a typical example of this pattern. Venezuela had periods of democracy in the 19th century followed by dictatorship and this pattern is being repeated today. Unstable democracies followed by strong man rule eventually succeeded by another unstable democracy. In Africa democratic governments were set up in virtually all the former colonies but nearly all were quickly gone.

JerseyGuy said at September 16, 2015 7:13 PM:


How is Israel doing with its robotics development? They don't seem willing to take in vast amounts of cheap labor either.

Also, I keep reading about these "catastrophic" GDP reports out of Japan. However, it seems like they are able to develop basically in line with the West. Has GDP at this point become obsolete?

Jim said at September 17, 2015 8:21 AM:

AbelardLindsey - I don't believe that there is any universally applicable model that works everywhere. Democracy seems to work OK in Iceland, it would be a disaster for Singapore. The "Singapore model" works, at least for now, in Singapore. That doesn't mean it would work in Zimbabwe, too few Han Chinese. There is no ideal political system. Humanity is a huge diversity of different races, cultures etc., frequently in conflict, constantly changing and evolving. This process has no goal or equilibrium state.

Brett Bellmore said at September 19, 2015 6:09 AM:

"They don't seem willing to take in vast amounts of cheap labor either."

Unsurprising when the local vast supply of cheap labor plans to commit genocide against them.

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