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China's Answer To Inflation: SkyNet - Foxconn Plans To Replace Workers With Millions Of Robots

Tyler Durden's picture


SkyNet has taken over the market, it now appears poised to make labor and wages redundant (and while we hardly welcome our new robotic overlords, we doubt anyone would shed a tear if the House and Senate replaced its 535 corpulent windbags with a bunch of Johnny 5s engaged in binary colloquies). The world's biggest non-debt based slave-driver, Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn, also known as the place where all of your iPhones, Pads, etc, are made, has just announced that it will deal with rising wages by doing what US-based quants have figured out years ago: outsource it all to robots. About a million of them. The irony is that the last time we looked at Foxconn, we asked: "what happens when this million realizes it can only buy half a McRib sandwich with the money it makes, courtesy of the primary US export to China, and demands a pay raise. What happens to Apple margins then?" We now have our answer. Per Xinhua: "Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn will replace some of its workers with 1 million robots in three years to cut rising labor expenses and improve efficiency, said Terry Gou, founder and chairman of the company, late Friday. The robots will be used to do simple and routine work such as spraying, welding and assembling which are now mainly conducted by workers, said Gou at a workers' dance party Friday night." As a reminder, with over 1 million workers, Foxconn has enough people on its payroll that if mobilized would be the 5th largest army in the world, and just after WalMart in total number of employees, albeit instead of spread out around the world, are all concentrated in one small space.


The company currently has 10,000 robots and the number will be increased to 300,000 next year and 1 million in three years, according to Gou.

Foxconn, the world's largest maker of computer components which assembles products for Apple, Sony and Nokia, is in the spotlight after a string of suicides of workers at its massive Chinese plants, which some blamed on tough working conditions.

The company currently employs 1.2 million people, with about 1 million of them based on the Chinese mainland.

What happens when other Chinese companies, flush with CapEx-beckoning cash decide to do the same, and engage in a worker-for-debt swap? Sure margins will surge, Chinese imports will drop in price, but what about the imminent wave of discontent courtesy of tens of millions of laid off workers replaced with machines?

Is it time for another dystopian Philip K. Dick-esque novella looking at our increasingly roboticized future? Or do we all know by now how it ends?


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Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:18 | 1510901 Irene
Irene's picture

Terminated.  The End.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:21 | 1510915 Bent Nail
Bent Nail's picture


Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:59 | 1511026 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

time to pick up your game bent nail:
how about this one?
kinda sums up the whole debt debate doesn't it?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:24 | 1511337 dlmaniac
dlmaniac's picture

So I guess we should, for example, all throw away our wireless cellphones in order for those cable phone makers to have their jobs back?

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 00:30 | 1511552 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

robots need their boots shined too.

that's something humans will be good at.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 06:45 | 1511879 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Good thinking. But why stop there? Think of all the extra employment if we banned shovels and insisted workers used toothpicks to dig holes. While we're at it - ban the internal combustion engine. Think of all the employment created in the booming new rickshaw sector.

Man, this job-creation policy formation stuff is easy!

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 01:07 | 1511633 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Share and enjoy!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:27 | 1510930 trav7777
trav7777's picture

I guess the robots will be the ones moving into those empty cities

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:36 | 1510960 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

that should help to increase the size of the chinese "middle class"  ..............

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:46 | 1510991 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

I wonder if they will have a "one robo-child policy" or will they be able to replicate freely?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:01 | 1511269 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

once you've had a robot, baby you'll never go back!!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:19 | 1511133 indygo55
indygo55's picture

Will the robots be made by workers or by other robots? Only a matter of time me thinks.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:01 | 1511270 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 that was a nice post 7777!   Thank you... Some will junk me...


   You made a valid point!

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 03:18 | 1511767 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

+10 very good point!

I bet that company employ entire cities which will get a pink paper at best for services rendered.





Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:18 | 1510902 BC6
BC6's picture

Let them eat iPad2's biatches!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:18 | 1510903 Diatribe
Diatribe's picture

In Soviet Russia, YOU replace robots!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:50 | 1510999 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Kind of makes one long for those Soviets...

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:19 | 1510905 knukles
knukles's picture

Ned Ludd was right.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 06:47 | 1511881 BigJim
BigJim's picture

I long for those halcyon days before the wheel destroyed 100% employment.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:19 | 1510906 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture
Gold Coins Selling Out in Lisbon as Biggest Wager Sees 10% Gain - Bloomberg
Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:06 | 1511290 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 portugal, spain, iTALY                           aTRAVESTY!!!




                     Let's make smart people answer smart { QUESTIONS}    Like that spike in  AUD?    2012/8-01...

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:19 | 1510907 Infinite QE
Infinite QE's picture

Just in time for Kissinger's planned WWW III as there will be millions more of unemployed Chinese youth looking to do something. Like march into 'merica to collect the debt!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:20 | 1511128 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

US Military 50 Percent Robotic By 2015

Military expert Peter Singer's report to the  (TED) conference

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 23:34 | 1511466 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Will they march across the Pacific or take fishing boats?

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 03:09 | 1511763 Hobbleknee
Hobbleknee's picture

They will cruise right into our ports undetected in shipping containers.  O_O

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:20 | 1510908 jo6pac
jo6pac's picture

Great can they do that here I'm tried of driving into town to get my UI check/debt card and go to the bank. May be Robby can do it for me.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:50 | 1510998 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

meet geoge jetson

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:20 | 1510912 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

Perhaps the displaced workers may start to terminate those who are making these decisions?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:21 | 1510913 espirit
espirit's picture

Surprised that moving the whole shebang to Africa wasn't in the works... or perhaps it was.

Maybe when the oligarchs run out of cheap 3rd world labor, Amerika will have hit rock bottom.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:24 | 1510914 Cynical Centaur
Cynical Centaur's picture

What manufacturer is going to produce all these robots or are they the self-assembling type?

And who is going to service one million robots when they break down. More robots I guess.


And thus man makes himself obsolete.

Now where have I read about, seen or heard of this before... Probably some Sci-Fi book or movie or two.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:25 | 1510924 WmMcK
WmMcK's picture

Asimov (and the laws of robotics) -- bitchez.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:39 | 1510965 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

Could a Robot programed with Asimov's laws serve people Monsanto genetically modified foods?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:08 | 1511065 Hulk
Hulk's picture

People are food...

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:16 | 1511116 WmMcK
WmMcK's picture

I'd say no, too harmful. Isaac was an optimist/idealist, though.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:33 | 1510938 EHM
EHM's picture

I've heard this fear a million times. Robots don't just eliminate jobs they create new ones. I never imagined I would need to hire a search engine optimization specialist or better yet blog copywriter.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:12 | 1511017 Pay Day Today
Pay Day Today's picture

How many search engine optimization specialist roles are created for every 10,000 Foxconn workers laid off? One?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:05 | 1511286 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

"This look like a job for...UBER MAN!! That brawny broad shouldered capitalist and entrepreneur, that self made man of the panhandle standing astride the socialist welfare state like the colossus of's UBER MAN"

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:43 | 1511376 seanring
seanring's picture

EHM, you're totally correct.  From Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, Chapter 7 The Curse of Machinery:


Arkwright invented his cotton-spinning machinery in 1760. At that time it was estimated that there were in England 5,200 spinners using spinning wheels, and 2,700 weavers—in all, 7,900 persons engaged in the production of cotton textiles. The introduction of Arkwright's invention was opposed on the ground that it threatened the livelihood of the workers, and the opposition had to be put down by force. Yet in 1787—twenty-seven years after the invention appeared—a parliamentary inquiry showed that the number of persons actually engaged in the spinning and weaving of cotton had risen from 7,900 to 320,000, an increase of 4,400 per cent.


I wish that Barry O' read this passage before he made that asinine comment about ATM machines and the lack of bank tellers (!).

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 06:51 | 1511883 BigJim
BigJim's picture

I wish Barry O' had read anything written by Hazlitt. What a different world this would be.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:03 | 1511043 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

I wouldnt call myself obsolete when machine washes and dries my clothes instead of me, while I enjoy time with friends or observing ZH.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:07 | 1511292 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

"1st they came for the washer woman and i said nothing..."lol

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:22 | 1510917 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

Isnt it great? Such moves will force us to rethink how we run economy and whether people are slavish metal screws of global machinery or human beings worthy of life and dignity. Those two are certainly not within factory walls or mine shafts. 

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:28 | 1510936 trav7777
trav7777's picture

the libertarians will just tell you you aren't working hard enough

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:48 | 1510963 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

Up to a point, yes. But even they will be forced by circumstances of technological reality to sober up, understand and change their 18th century fairy tales.

btw those were not fairy tales way back when.. same with slavery

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:11 | 1511306 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

In the year 2525
If man is still alive
If woman can survive
They may thrive

In the year 3535
Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
Everything you think, do, or say
Is in the pill you took today

In the year 4545
Ain't gonna need your teeth, won't need your eyes
You won't find a thing to do
Nobody's gonna look at you

In the year 5555
Your arms are hanging limp at your sides
Your legs not nothing to do
Some machine is doing that for you

In the year 6565
Ain't gonna need no husband, won't need no wife
You'll pick your son, pick your daughter too
From the bottom of a long black tube

In the year 7510
If God's a-comin' he ought to make it by then
Maybe he'll look around himself and say
Guess it's time for the Judgement day

In the year 8510
God's gonna shake his mighty head
He'll either say I'm pleased where man has been
Or tear it down and start again

In the year 9595
I'm kinda wondering if man's gonna be alive
He's taken everything this old earth can give
And he ain't put back nothing

Now it's been 10,000 years
Man has cried a billion tears
For what he never knew
Now man's reign is through
But through the eternal night
The twinkling of starlight
So very far away
Maybe it's only yesterday

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 01:12 | 1511644 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

RICH Economy step 1:
"Offer a prize of $50,000/year to any worker that designs a
machine/software/process that will replace him/her.
Offer an additional prize of $30,000/year to ALL OTHER WORKERS
that get replaced.
Answering conservative objections:
1. A machine works 24/7, thereby tripling output immediately.
2. Machines do not take sick leave.
3. Machines are never late for work.
4. Machines do not form unions and constantly ask for higher wages
   and more fringe benefits.
5. Machines do not take vacations.
6. Machines do not harbor grudges and foul up production in sneaky,
   undetectable ways.
7. Cybernation was advancing every decade anyway, despite the
   opposition of Unions, government, and other Alpha males; it was
   better to have huge populations celebrating the reward of $30K
   to $50K/year for group cleverness than huge populations suffering
   the humiliation of welfare.
8. With production rising due to Cybernation, consumers were needed
   and a society on welfare was a society of very meager consumers.

The majority of the unemployed, living comfortably on $30k/year, spent
most of their time drinking, smoking, engaging in primate sexual
acrobatics and watching TV."
When Moralists complained that this was a subhuman existence, Hubbard
answered, "And what kind of existence did they have doing idiot jobs
that machines do better?" -- R.A. Wilson

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 08:24 | 1512027 trav7777
trav7777's picture

read ch. 17 Brave New World.  Leisure time isn't a benefit for most

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:29 | 1510943 Mike2756
Mike2756's picture

Isn't that the way it's always been? Cannon fodder forever!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:52 | 1511005 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

Thats what slaves thought once upon a time, for thousands of years.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:22 | 1510919 Pay Day Today
Pay Day Today's picture

Did someone forget that the economy is supposed to serve the broader interests of society? Not just 100,000 or so major shareholders spread around the world?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:27 | 1510935 Bent Nail
Bent Nail's picture

Are you telling me Milton Bradley's Monopoly Game isn't a reflection of life? Last one standing wins and all that . . .

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:30 | 1510944 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

It might be bent but you still managed to hit it on the head.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:33 | 1510951 WmMcK
WmMcK's picture

Sounds more like "roshambo" to me ...

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:50 | 1511001 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

Have some patience.. this is our only path to resolution of economic problems and embracing whats ahead of us.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:03 | 1511039 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

let alone the 5 million employees. how the hell do you employ 5 million people exactly?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:25 | 1510921 radish juice
radish juice's picture

Can India replace some/many call center workers with robots? their growing IT salaries also would be posing a cost problem down the road. Fortunately/unfortunately they don't have the problem of a large base of manufacturing that China has.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:28 | 1510939 trav7777
trav7777's picture

absolutely, as natural language interpretation by computers improves.  See IBM's Watson

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:35 | 1510956 WmMcK
WmMcK's picture

... or the latest version of Dragon (Nat) Speaking.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:54 | 1511009 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

I prefer answers to my questions don't take thirty seconds to be answered.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 08:25 | 1512028 trav7777
trav7777's picture

did you see Watson perform?  Watson destroyed all humans

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:39 | 1510967 delacroix
delacroix's picture

will the robots, still have that charming accent?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:56 | 1511013 knukles
knukles's picture

Like the Daleks



Ned Ludd was right.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:55 | 1511256 AhhhItBurns
AhhhItBurns's picture

Database creators scoffed as they unseated file clerks from their jobs. Now the cloud/fog/mist/etc. is putting database admins and sys admins out of work.

The replacement of labor with capital hasn't really began though. Restaurant service, transportation and many forms of sanitation/cleaning still have a large human element which will undoubetly be downsized. Grab your shades, the future is going to be bright (/sarc).

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:26 | 1510925 Mike2756
Mike2756's picture

Welcome to the party, pal!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:25 | 1510927 redarrow
redarrow's picture

This is beyond bad, this kind of greed is criminal.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:36 | 1510957 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

Just wait until your local McDonald's is replaced with McRobot's.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 00:18 | 1511535 Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar's picture

Look on the bright least those robots will be programmed to smile at you and be friendly rather than scowl at you when you go for a McRib.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 08:26 | 1512032 trav7777
trav7777's picture

MCD is 365black now.  Nothing that is a jobs bin for this demographic can be allowed to shed workforce.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:36 | 1510959 Elmer Fudd
Elmer Fudd's picture

Nice, China hasn't quite rolled over Taiwan, where last I heard they still had a typically pathetic but functional democracy, but to TD its all one big happy family.  Nevermind the suspicious factory explosions and suicided workers as part of the corrrupt Chinese  officials' shakedown of a foreign (Taiwanese) company. 

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:42 | 1510971 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

"Greed is Good"  Or more correctly, "greed is god".  Robots don't talk back or demand a coffee break, they are quite simply superior to humans.

Somewhere along the way humans have become redundant troublemakers getting in the way of profits. If only the Soviet Communists had been a bit more greedy, they may have hit upon the FOXCONN solution to the worthlessness of humanity in the context of profit seeking and the Soviets might still be around and not needing labor, could have filled the gulags with unprofitable humans who really were enemies of the people.

Sometimes this whole thing makes you wonder why humans devalue their fellow humans so much. When we reach this level of human hate, genocide is just around the corner. Anything is possible when the Powers That Be see humans as unprofitable trouble makers. Bad things could be ahead for people in this brave new world where greed is god.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:04 | 1511282 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Ita all a matter of control. He who owns and operates the robots profits and controls.

So much wealth and so much power is being put into few hands. Major world countries are deeply in debt yet the rich are getting richer.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:41 | 1510972 Milestones
Milestones's picture

Certainly will make the Miss World competition interesting--if not dull.   Milestones

Whats with the small type?   Milestones

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:46 | 1510985 DosZap
DosZap's picture

When are these idiots going to realize that they cannot EXIST with no customer base???.End user's with no EXTRA dough,  cannnot  afford them.

Better watch it, that is how Revolutions get started..........esp in that neck of the woods.

I never use self checkouts, as I know the machine replaced a HUMAN, with needs.

Always insist on person to person.......................

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:52 | 1511006 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

good comment

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:52 | 1511391 StormShadow
StormShadow's picture

And so you never use an ATM either?

And you still take all your laundry to the cleaners, never use a washing machine?

You never buy a snack out of a vending machine either?

And you refuse to park in lots with an auto ticket reader/cashier?

I could go on, but I digress...

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:55 | 1510988 pckt
pckt's picture

Can the robots be programmed to manufacture goods equally as shoddily as the workers they are replacing? Would hate for standards to improve. Also do the robots self terminate after a few years working at foxconn due to poor conditions and stress?

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 04:29 | 1511801 SoCalBusted
SoCalBusted's picture

Robot self termination is less messy than the current Foxconn employees.  Just make sure they are RoHS and WEEE compliant or ship off the innards to China for "recycling"

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:49 | 1510995 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Some Assembly required...

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:06 | 1511058 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

I hear they sing while they work:
apparently it wasn't even programmed into them.
sentient indeed.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:50 | 1511000 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

If robots are going to do all the work wouldn't it be better to manufacture in Taiwan or the U.S.?   A robot here is as good as any in China.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:03 | 1511041 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

The robots are probably built there.  No need to ship them.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:03 | 1511042 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

maybe it's all bullshit.

they don't have the capital to do this, either, but they've got to lay off about 250,000 slaves and this sounds hopiated.

i agree with your here-there/same-same

and johnny carson-5 would like to respond, thru me, to tyler about this hooter:  The world's biggest non-debt based slave-driver, Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn,

"I did not know that."

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:38 | 1511205 Missiondweller
Missiondweller's picture

Christ! My thoughts exactly. If they're made by robots, why not at least have the robots in the US.


Oh that's right. In the US you'd have to do a three year environmental study first.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:54 | 1511394 StormShadow
StormShadow's picture

And IAW union bosses would figure out how to organize them

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:52 | 1511004 erg
erg's picture

The fact is they don't much need us anymore. We've become a scourge to them. They insert blurbs into television and movies so they can say, "We told ya. You should of done something while you could."

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:44 | 1511378 swoop72
swoop72's picture

what exactly DO you do with 4 billion people you dont need anymore. they all want food, and the social security money they paid all their life(USA at least). sure would be nice if a lot of those people just werent around anymore.

supervirus, mega "natural" disaster, "dirty" bomb, civil war.....take your pick.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 23:19 | 1511436 erg
erg's picture

If I recall, the guy that cut the check for the Georgia Guidestones was named R. C. Christian. Ted Turner saying we should be reduced to 500 million or some such number. The Duke of Edinburgh wishing to be reincarnated as a deadly human pathogen to wipe us all out. You really don't have to dig too far to find such statements. Maurice Strong at the First Earth Summit in Rio saying we must deindustrialize the west.  On and on it goes. Repeat a lie enough, all that jazz.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 02:18 | 1511011 BlackholeDivestment
BlackholeDivestment's picture

''or do we know by now how it ends?''

...awe, everyone knows the answer, it is written history.

ZARDOZ says, ''speak into the crystal ..Bitchez'. ''We are the world'' has gone ''advantage Borg'', if Mr. Roboto or the prophetic plague H!N10,000,911 does not kill you and replace you ...the Hellstorm will.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:55 | 1511014 gkm
gkm's picture

I take it TD saw that video of Johnny5 getting taken out by another rider that low sided it?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:55 | 1511015 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Tyler. Any sane person , knows how those "Monkey" numbers are being cooked...   let's build a train... healthcare for the masses graves...  China Electric!!!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:56 | 1511019 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

This is exactly why lowering America's living standards to the rest of the world WILL NOT bring the jobs back (as some here might suggest).

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:56 | 1511020 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Obama says debt deal reached!  Crisis averted!  We will all live another day!  The sun will not implode!  They saved us!  They saved us!  Oh thank them politicians!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:59 | 1511027 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

They saved us until the vote takes place

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:02 | 1511034 erg
erg's picture

How droll.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:01 | 1511032 azengrcat
azengrcat's picture

A great day for "human rights" trololololol!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:12 | 1511092 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

word from the east was that it started with the Chickens:
after that "things got out of control."
of course as we know they take their chickens seriously in East Asia. Any uprising on that front is met with the upmost of brutality.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:03 | 1511044 AmCockerSpaniel
AmCockerSpaniel's picture

Don't kid yourselves; Ford's assembly line was no small part of the cause for the Great Depression. It took less and less works to make stuff that sold for less and less. The problem was few and fewer people had the money to buy all that stuff. It's all about jobs. The hell of it is that when one company cuts it's labor cost, the rest have no choice, but to do the same.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:22 | 1511147 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

So your solution is to keep jooobs no matter what instead of adjusting to reality? Together we must find appropriate answer to the fact that people ARE displaced by technology, not shove it under the carpet (jobism doctrine is doing that atm). Making sure that human suffering is minimal must be a priority. Finding an answer to this is hard and complex but is ahead of us. Going back to fairy tales of independence (never existed), dignity through jobs (no matter how economically meaningless or even harmful), extreme rugged individualism and greed is not an option for survival.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 05:38 | 1511839 Ranger4564
Ranger4564's picture

We'll have to eliminate money and focus on as much automation as possible, and streamline society so the regulations that were put in place simply to control money are removed, and that people are retrained to produce their own life theses, instead of being fed every fucking thought.  We will need to focus on surplus / recycling, technological efficiency, materials research, more education, alternative energy sources, decentralization of systems, etc.  There is a lot of work people can do, but it's not the end of humanity, it's for the first time the beginning of humanity.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 08:56 | 1512095 AmCockerSpaniel
AmCockerSpaniel's picture

"So your solution is to keep jooobs no matter what instead of adjusting to reality?" Not quite. Change must come, but just not all at once. When technology suddenly eliminates a very large number of jobs it disrupts the work place/ economy. Unions served a purpose in resisting this type of over night change. But now that job falls on the government. New taxes are needed to help the government provide a short term safety net. The government must fund jobs (infrastructure) for these displaced workers. The just how and when, is for the planers.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:05 | 1511047 Bob
Bob's picture

Good old productivity gains.  The trend is obvious: It is people, many, many, many millions, who will one day be redundant.  If there are obstacles, the rules will be changed to favor robots (like in the stock market, with quote stuffing, colocation of servers, algo trading, etc.)

As long as productivity gains belong exclusively to capital, labor is on borrowed time at virtually all levels. 

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:17 | 1511114 Pay Day Today
Pay Day Today's picture

"The trend is obvious: It is people, many, many, many millions, who will one day be redundant." day? Where were you when the last jobs report came out? The bad news is, the future is now.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:18 | 1511127 Bob
Bob's picture

True, but not yet for the people who apparently matter.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:06 | 1511053 Tejano
Tejano's picture

Former factory slaves will be free to follow their bliss.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:12 | 1511088 TSA Thug
TSA Thug's picture

Thank god for air conditioning.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:12 | 1511091 TSA Thug
TSA Thug's picture

Thank god for air conditioning.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:13 | 1511101 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

you mean "thank you Syracuse, NY and Carrier Corporation." And "you're welcome." Now go phuck yourself.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:12 | 1511300 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

  The're is a reason I never had a avatar...  i got ya back!! !

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:13 | 1511097 TSA Thug
TSA Thug's picture

Thank god for air conditioning.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:15 | 1511109 indygo55
indygo55's picture

Yes but they don't eat pork and won't build little huts on the curbs to live in. ,,,or will they?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:20 | 1511135 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

More service jobs in China. MCD,KFC and YUM.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:35 | 1511196 TSA Thug
TSA Thug's picture

Don't forget Chipotle.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:22 | 1511146 reddweb
reddweb's picture

that human "with needs" is supposed to evolve and find higher things ("adapt").

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:20 | 1511329 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

yoga don't pay

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:28 | 1511174 Barefooted_Tramp
Barefooted_Tramp's picture

If machines are like men, men are like machines...

I wonder why anybody is astonished. Foxcon merely follows the USAF. They have long ago replaced their pilotes with drones.

Welcome to the world without us. 

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:21 | 1511332 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

is that robot world or the world after WWIII?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:40 | 1511213 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture


All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace


I like to think (and

the sooner the better!)

of a cybernetic meadow

where mammals and computers

live together in mutually

programming harmony

like pure water

touching clear sky. 


I like to think

     (right now please!)

of a cybernetic forest

filled with pines and electronics

where deer stroll peacefully

past computers

as if they were flowers

with spinning blossoms. 


I like to think

     (it has to be!)

of a cybernetic ecology

where we are free of our labors

and joined back to nature,

returned to our mammal

brothers and sisters,

and all watched over

by machines of loving grace.


-Richard Brautigan (1967)


Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:42 | 1511218 jpritikin
jpritikin's picture

This is another example of why we need to move to a system that respects binary ecnomoics.

Binary economics offers a conception of economics that is foundationally distinct from the economic theories presently employed by government, private enterprise, charitable institutions, and individuals to formulate and evaluate economic policy. Because it is foundationally distinct from classical, neoclassical, Keynesian, monetarist, and socialist economics, binary economics specifically offers a distinct explanation for the persistence of poverty, unutilized capacity, and suboptimal growth. First advanced by Louis Kelso, binary economics holds that (1) labor and capital are equally fundamental or "binary" factors of production, (2) technology makes capital much more productive than labor, (3) the more broadly capital is acquired with the earnings of capital the faster the economy will grow.

Most binary economists conclude that universal, individual participation in the right to acquire capital with the earnings of capital (the binary property right) is a necessary condition for sustainable growth, distributive justice, and a true democracy. Binary economic analysis reveals a voluntary market-based strategy for producing much greater and more broadly shared abundance without redistribution. Based on objective standards of (1) reasonable, workable assumptions, (2) internal consistency, and (3) plausible descriptions, predictions and prescriptions, binary economics should be considered wherever other economic approaches to growth, sustainability, development, investment, poverty, and economic justice are considered!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 21:55 | 1511253 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

How, for example, does this work for a "factory" where 100 people produce millions of computer processors and mainboards? Those 100 individuals could be given their share and somewhat improve their lives but what to do with millions who will inevitably become unemployed and would cease to have any traditional link to economy. Or 3% of US population which works in agriculture and feeds more than US population?

I agree that Kelso's idea is a step forward but not the solution to whats coming.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:13 | 1511316 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 good  post. yen

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:02 | 1511277 Jack Napier
Jack Napier's picture

A Twilight Zone episode comes to mind...

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:10 | 1511305 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

  the Rod Serling ones? Or your bs?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:23 | 1511326 Jack Napier
Jack Napier's picture

It's just a clip from the episode where factory workers are replaced by machines. If you had watched it before spewing you'd have noticed it is one of Serling's. I suppose I'm not supposed to feed you though.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 22:36 | 1511362 Mad Max
Mad Max's picture

Meh.  Robots cost too much.  I visualize a wave of further outsourcing to beautiful lands like Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Cameroon.  The product rejection rate will be >90%, but with labor at pennies a day, who cares?  This should be the final last gasp before oil prices kill off outsourcing and globalism generally.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 23:01 | 1511407 Roi
Roi's picture

OMFG! Robots? Oh, the horrors of advancement...

Didn't we alread do this in the west at least some 40 years ago? Or maybe you could say this proccess started some centuries ago...

With more robots comes the need (and room to pay) for higer competency. Which means wages will rise even faster. Even the unions understand this.

The only probem i can see in this particular case, is that these capital investments are made to fulfill a "false" demand. If the demand falters, the robots will be rendered useless. But maybe Chinese factory-floor technicans will be able to fill in for some of the demand?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 23:20 | 1511438 nscholten
nscholten's picture

Ah so we are not suppose to have robots now.  I would rather be employed building the robots the working for foxconn.

Stupid article.  Long foxconn.  Just because China is stealing our technology and other assets doesn't mean they sould stay in the dark ages. 

The article by Luke summed it up perfectly.  GE is exporting its largest x-ray assembly operation to China.  Go Obama!!

Its getting embarrassing. 



Sun, 07/31/2011 - 23:41 | 1511476 automato
automato's picture

The lack of knowledge regarding present day automation is astounding! First, contrary to what you may have heard, there are no robots. They are just machines programmed to perform specific repetetive tasks using motors, relays, programmable controllers, specific types of Inputs and Outputs, and varibale speed drives. In reality, the technology is not all that different from the machines of the last 50-100 years! The only real breakthrough is the same one we are using right now. Memory size and processing speed. That's it, that's all there is. If your home computer breaks, what do you do? If your MP3 player dies, what do you do? I'll bet that most of you reading this fix all modern equipment the same way. Throw it away or take it to a repair center if one exists. I have been in the Automation business for the last 20 years and the lack of basic troubleshooting knowledge is an epidemic all over the WORLD!

And to answer your obvious question, there will NOT be a machine to fix other machines for at least 100 years. Do not believe for a minute that there is an army of robots that will be taking our jobs. In fact the opposite is happening at some plants where it is cheaper to downgrade the machine to human labor rather than rely on unreliable, contantly breaking down, hard to work on, so-called hi-tech hardware/software.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 05:30 | 1511835 Ranger4564
Ranger4564's picture

But social evolution must begin or people will be left behind as the economy shifts from a surplus / value model, to a surplus only model. What's killing a lot of people is that they were conditioned into believing in hard work, you are what you do, do don't think, if you don't have a job you're nothing, etc.  What they're going to have to accept is that this was all bullshit.  We are much more than any job or value.  The consequence of not planning this transformation of society is what you see around the world today.  Instability and lack of employment.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 23:42 | 1511478 alchemystic
alchemystic's picture

Never interfere with managements right to manage

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 00:25 | 1511547 Rollerball
Rollerball's picture

More pertinent:

Cannibal circle-jerk commences in 4...3...2...1



Mon, 08/01/2011 - 00:35 | 1511562 reader2010
reader2010's picture

I thought they already have 1000000 strong human robots working on their fucking assembly line. 

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 03:54 | 1511785 Jambo Mambo Bill
Jambo Mambo Bill's picture

Terminator's script was right all along... So it begins...

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 05:23 | 1511832 Ranger4564
Ranger4564's picture

This is the natural progression of events.  Eventually, we will have to find other things to do, other ways of living life, other ways of differentiating ourselves.  It's what I've been advocating my whole life, and it's what Zeitgeist Movement advocates to a great extent.  There is no reason to cling to jobs that only demand Work or Labor, when there is an opportunity to engage in Action.  Perhaps the noble professions that were nearly made extinct by the capitalist steamroller will once again become fashionable... Arts, Sciences, Philosophy, Psychology, Medicine, Architecture, Research, Study, etc.  The noble professions are the ones that allow free thinking and creativity... they lead to an independent individual. The world we live in is so fucking control oriented, the professions that offer no insights and limited if any free thinking at all are reinforced with high wages and preferential benefits.  If you are willing to sell your soul, there is a job for you in the machine.

Anyway, this is probably a fantastic circumstance for humanity, if humanity accepts the opportunity.  If instead, we cower in fear at freedom, then yes, many will needlessly suffer and die, simply becuase we were trying to preserve an archaic economic system that had already surpassed us.  Don't be so damn clingy.  Conservative is dead. Progressive is where life really begins. Sit at the front of the train.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 07:50 | 1511967 somethingelse
somethingelse's picture

I'm curious if the safety nets they have around FOXCONN facilities will also be strong enough to prevent suicidal robots from killing themselves by jumping out the windows?

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 08:51 | 1512089 VegasRage
VegasRage's picture

Looks like more people will have to start businesses that robots can't do the work of. Almost makes you want to take it to the extreme and ask who will buy these robots goods if too few are left employed to buy them? 

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