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Robots and reshoring in the US

December 9, 2012

In an opinion piece in the NY Times, Paul Krugman cites a report about the growing evidence of “reshoring” of manufacturing. The principle reasons are rising wages in Asia; lower energy costs in the US; higher transportation costs; and robots. The report concludes that since labor costs don’t matter that much since most of the costly components are already robot-produced in the US, you might as well locate where the markets and infrastructure are.

Krugman calls this “capital-biased technological change” which shifts income away from workers to the owners of capital and that media and academic literature have incorrectly been focusing on skill bias and have overlooked this situation.
Besides the article, what is interesting to me are the eloquence and clarity of the readers who commented. It seems that people involved in technology already know these facts – they are acknowledged at work for their skills when their software will be used to replace x many workers. They see it in action.
I urge you to read at least a few of the comments. You’ll be talking to your friends about the subject for the rest of the week.

Frank Tobe
guest author
Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.

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