Flexible automation

Paul Cockshott wpc at clyder.gn.apc.org
Fri Sep 1 23:03:37 MDT 1995


Flexible manufacturing

Its flexibility is limited. One does not see a car factory able
to switch to producing textiles or semi-conductors. On the other
hand, general engineering shops have always been pretty flexible,
able earlier this century to switch from locomotives to marine
engineering to heavy electrical equipment. The automatic tools
for these environments have to retain the same flexibility. It
has taken longer for them to develop. You are bound to be right
that we are going to see more automation in the future, but
you would have been equally right saying that 100 years ago.

>From the standpoint of the original question, can automation be
seen as a cause of rising unemployment, I still say no, because
were it true, employment would have been in decline for two
centuries.


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