Saturday, June 1, 2013

On the danger to the U.S. from cheap foreign.....robots

Pardon me while I geek out for a moment. 

Here's the BMW F30 3-Series production video.  Truly amazing. 

Because of spending about a quarter million dollars with Peterbilt a few months ago, I got to tour their mega-factory about 45 miles north of Fort Worth in Denton, TX. 

What this video doesn't properly show is how little inventory of parts there likely is on the BMW factory floor.  Nobody wants to pay for a 3-month supply of parts.  You have to pay for the space that the parts require, money that could be invested elsewhere is tied up in the parts, etc etc etc.  Auto and truck makers save themselves (and therefore you) a staggering amount of money by getting the parts just in time.   The Peterbilt factory, for instance, seemed to have no more than an hour's worth of tires at any given moment. 

Another thing the video doesn't reveal: there are probably different models going down that assembly line.  The robots don't care.  The suppliers all have their parts and components arriving in the correct order.  God, I love this stuff!!! 

But there are always Luddites who don't appreciate the glory of something like this, that the time and money saved by these robots can be applied to other purchases and desires.  Saving the last BetaMax factory (to save the jobs there) doesn't make sense.  Wait a couple of years, and saving the last VHS factory (to save the jobs there) doesn't make sense either.

Here's one idjit Youtube commenter, typical of the tribe:
james alphajet 1 month ago

this robotisation is a shame to the face of human future. thousands of people lost their jobs and millions were spent to fit machines into these transformers factories.
At the end the consumer pays the same and his neighbour lost his job!!
James doesn't understand that what was once the toy of the top .0001% is now available to even the lowest-paid American worker.  Yes, in America, even commoners drive these "horseless carriages". 

Here's Don Boudreaux, chiming in on the video:
Oh, to any of you who watch this video and lament the fact that so very much of the work that was once done by humans is now done by robots, I’ve a question for you: if a bizarre meteorological event occurs that causes millions of brand-new automobiles – indistinguishable in quality, comfort, and performance from the 2014 models now rolling off of the assembly lines at BMW, Toyota, Hyundai, Ford, etc. – to rain down safely into everyone’s driveways and parking spaces, would people, as a result, be made richer or poorer?
Here's The Whited Sepulchre, kicking it up to the next level:
Oh, to any of you who watch a random video of South Korean laborers manufacturing your pants and shoes and water hoses, work that was once done by Americans, I've a question for you: if a bizarre meterological event occurs that causes millions of brand-new pants and shoes and water hoses (all of excellent quality) to rain down safely into everyone's homes, would people in the USA, as a result, be made richer or poorer? 
It's called the Law Of Comparative Advantage.  Nations (but not many consumers who are given a choice) ignore it regularly. 

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