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Not even yesterday’s war

November 10, 2016

The Christian Science Monitor summarizes some research into US factory jobs:

A study at Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research last year found that trade accounted for just 13 percent of America’s lost factory jobs. The vast majority of the lost jobs — 88 percent — were taken by robots and other homegrown factors that reduce factories’ need for human labor.

We are on the cusp of a great wave of new automation. Self-driving cars are just the start. It will eliminate entire categories of service work. Mark the teamsters as irrelevant. Politicians fighting the trade war with China not only are failing to think about tomorrow’s problem, they misunderstand yesterday’s problem. It’s as if the French, in the years following WW I, were to focus on defenses from the English longbow.

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