The technological revolution is not only the emergence of a large number of intelligent robots, but more importantly, it is based on the production of information technology and big data. At present, the new technology revolution is emerging and spreading around the world. Based on the new technology revolution, some countries have thrown out different versions of strategic plans, such as Germany's Industry 4.0 and China's â€œMade in China 2025â€.
Regardless of how different countries have reacted to the new round of technological revolutions, they have embraced new technologies and industries, and have been forced to accept the by-products of the new technological revolution: resource allocation and changes in the organization of production.
The new round of technological revolution has two main characteristics. First, based on automated, intelligent robot production; Second, based on information technology and big data production.
Let's talk about robotic production based on automation and intelligence.
Capital is a roundabout way of production. The technological revolution is a revolution in the way of production. The history of changes in the mode of production of human beings is a history of change in the way of production. It frees workers from heavy and dangerous physical labor, but at the same time it brings about the evil of technological progress: the exclusion of machinery from workers. Carnegieâ€™s childhood was overshadowed by the industrial revolution. His parents were originally engaged in home textile workshops in Scotland. Prior to the emergence of machine production, the days of the Kars family would have been more prosperous. After the appearance of the Jeanne spinning machine, Carnegie's family workshops were eliminated by machine-based production. Carnegie was forced to sail across the ocean and live a life out of town. Carnegieâ€™s unhappy childhood was a microcosm of the adverse impact of technological progress on ordinary people. When Marx spoke of socialized mass production, he once said that the machine took away the rice bowl of the workers; it robotized a large number of unemployed people created by large-scale production, and provided the industrial reserve army for the production of capitalism. In our words today, machine-intensive production creates a huge amount of cheap surplus labor. Therefore, the tide of unemployment seems to be a natural and inevitable byproduct of technological progress.
However, Carnegieâ€™s early life did not represent the overall impact of technological progress on the labor market. Looking at the global changes since the industrial revolution, despite the continuous advancement of technology and the emergence of automated production, no country has long maintained a high unemployment rate. Greenspan wrote in his autobiography that, throughout the history of the global economy, the unemployment rate has not risen due to technological progress. This is because, although technological progress is "creative destruction," it will cause frictional unemployment that cannot adapt to new technology to rise, but it will also bring new labor demand. And because technological progress has led to the growth of income and final consumption, under the equilibrium conditions of new technology and the formation of a new capital-labor ratio, it will endogenously increase the additional demand for labor. Whether it is the application of the first or second technological revolution, it still has to rely strictly on well-trained labor. Although capital employs labor, the production of capital still depends on labor. Therefore, the labor cost is still the global division of labor and trade. Important economic variables. It is precisely because of this that there is a "Made in China" theory that relies on labor cost advantages.
However, the current production technology revolution may have a completely different effect on the labor market than previous industrial revolutions. This has led to a series of problems.
The current production technology revolution is reflected in the emergence and widespread application of informationized and intelligent robot production. Machine replacement will become the basic trend of production. This not only means that the labor force is no longer an important factor in the international industrial division of labor. According to statistics, China has become the largest market for industrial robots in the world. In 2014, sales of industrial robots in China increased by 54% year-on-year, and unmanned factories in the Pearl River Delta are rising. According to reports, after Changying Precision in Dongguan implemented the "machine substitution" plan, 80% of the company's processes will be uninhabited; the replacement of its realized machines will allow one robot to replace 6-8 workers. More importantly, robots produce lower defective products. This is a microcosm and portrayal of the machine substitution plan. The machine substitution plan is sweeping across China, a global manufacturing hub.
Undoubtedly, if industrialization in the past liberated the labor force from monotonous and heavy physical labor, the emergence of new technologies would create new higher levels of labor demand while eliminating part of the labor market. For example, accounting computerization freed finance personnel and clearing personnel from the tedious â€œdrawingâ€ accounting process, and agricultural mechanization techniques freed agriculture from a series of heavy labors such as sowing and harvesting, not only allowing industrialization Adequate agricultural raw materials, but also have ample industrial reserves. The results of every industrial revolution in the past have generated new demands for industrial workers. After all, the production of any instrument (production materials) still requires labor to complete; industrial organizations have always been capital-intensive and labor-intensive. Those laborers who have mastered the new technology can not only easily obtain the corresponding rice bowls, but also have more abundant bowls.
However, the current technological progress and the previous industrial revolution have a completely different effect on the labor market. The new technology revolution represented by robots will make the current labor-intensive industries become capital-intensive. In traditional capital-intensive steel companies, it will be difficult to see work wearing hard hats under high temperatures; even labor-intensive products such as clothing and shoes will be produced by the robots. Not only the emergence of machine replacements in the manufacturing industry, but also the absorption of the most labor-intensive service industries, there will be a large-scale phenomenon of machine replacement. In the food and beverage industry, robot attendants serve dishes and wash dishes, and even serve as chefs wearing high hats. In the construction industry, integrated buildings will make all the building blocks completed by robots at the factory. High unemployment rate will become the new normal under robot production.
Therefore, as Marx said, the machine will take the rice bowl of the workers and become a "cruel" reality in the new industrial revolution. Many workers (including many service staff in the service industry) were forced to â€œlay offâ€ due to the large-scale production of machines, and the streets were full of people who â€œlost the industryâ€ in the competition with the machines. Capital no longer employs labor. Capital will employ capital itself. As a result, the proportion of labor force in production factors has dropped to an unimaginable level today, and the proportion of capital has risen further to a very high level. Expressed by the semantics of Marx's theory, the technical composition of capital will be greatly increased due to the wide application of robots.
Changes in the composition of factors in production mean that in the initial distribution of national income, the proportion of capital gains will rise further, which in turn will increase the concentration of wealth. Capital of the 21st Century pointed out that the ratio of capital income to GDP has been rising over the past several hundred years. Undoubtedly, the deepening of the new industrial revolution will strengthen this trend: income distribution will further concentrate on capital, and the share of labor income will further decline. This is not just a change in the pattern of factor income distribution. More importantly, it will completely impact the traditional theory of income distribution that we have been relying on.
Under this circumstance, the people who lose their jobs will depend on what they want to live in. This requires the government to play a role in redistribution. The market-oriented reform of the economy requires a â€œsmall governmentâ€, but in the environment in which the robots produce and organize new production systems, it is the weakening of the functions of the government in the production and distribution of resources in the production sector, and in the distribution field, A more efficient "big government" is needed. The government taxes the capital, and then through transfer payments, "relief" is pushed out of the job market by robots. They took the revenue from government transfer payments and purchased the products and services they needed. This led to the circulation of production-income-consumption. Because robots produce and work tirelessly, even if they are treated poorly, they will not â€œstrikeâ€. The material products of the society will not collapse because of peopleâ€™s â€œdeprivationâ€. On the contrary, the material products are rich and colorful enough to be eliminated by machines. The workers who come down can lead a decent life, and some have leisure and relaxed feelings. At that time, "good restlessness" was no longer a simple moral criticism, but rather became an important representation of technology and social progress. People are no longer laborers and producers, but they become pure and pure consumers, and they consume various kinds of material products that the robots have worked hard to produce.
Robot production will not only impact the combination of production factors, but will also fundamentally impact existing economic theories and macroeconomic policies. For example, the unemployment rate or employment rate is no longer a good indicator of economic growth; whether monetary policy still has to use full employment as the ultimate goal? In the existing economic theory, the unemployment rate is an important indicator of economic prosperity and recession. index. In the period of economic upsurge and prosperity, the unemployment rate drops below the natural rate; conversely, during the economic downturn, the unemployment rate will be higher than the natural rate. Monetary policy means that by adjusting the level of interest rates, the unemployment rate achieved is equivalent to the natural rate. At this time, the overall macro economy will also be at an equilibrium level. However, under the robot production, labor is no longer an important production factor, and the labor cost will be only a very small part of the production (variable) costs. Therefore, the â€œunemployment rateâ€ is no longer related to macroeconomic fluctuations. This means that the so-called "natural unemployment rate" theory, the Phillips curve, and dynamic inconsistencies that explained the macroeconomic fluctuations in the past will all be thrown into the theoretical historical trash can. By then, the Fed chairman and council members will no longer set an â€œunemployment rateâ€ threshold for interest rate adjustments, nor will they have a hawk dove sentiment because of differences in employment and inflation.
At the same time, production no longer depends on labor costs and workersâ€™ proficiency in labor. Therefore, the international labor division based on the current labor market and the international trade system will also be covered. The ratio of global trade to GDP will increase with the production of robots. Use has dropped sharply. Since the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008, the â€œglobal economic imbalancesâ€ that countries have been tying up have automatically corrected robotsâ€™ participation in the new round of global industrial chain restructuring, and can even automatically achieve rebalancing of the global economy. Or, to take a step back, even if global imbalances still exist, it is a new imbalance process. It is not based on global imbalances above labor costs, but is a new global economic imbalance based on capital and technological autonomy and application rates. Under this imbalance, the trade flow of the world's best products does not flow from the developing economy with â€œman-to-manyâ€ to the advanced economy with â€œhigh labor costsâ€ but from the advanced economy with capital and technological advantages to â€œpeopleâ€. In developing economies with many relatively backward technologies, the imbalance at that time will eventually manifest itself in the fact that developed economies have a trade surplus, while developing countries have a trade deficit. From the viewpoint, various international rules based on current trade imbalances and global capital flows will lose its original meaning. TPPs and various bilateral or multilateral free trade agreements that are hotted by the media will become a waste paper. It does not matter that China does not have to worry about being excluded from the TPP.
Robot production will also be impacted by economic theory and policy practice based on population aging. According to the traditional economic growth model, capital and labor are the two most important production factors in economic growth. The increase in labor supply can increase the potential growth rate, but vice versa. One of the important points of the so-called â€œdemographic dividendâ€ is that the abundant labor supply and the increase in the labor participation rate make it possible for a countryâ€™s economy to take advantage of the cost advantage of cheap labor and absorb a greater amount of capital, thereby increasing the potential growth rate. The advanced economies represented by Japan and some European countries have experienced long-term recession or low growth because of the aging population. The aging of Japan has caused Japan's manufacturing industry to lose its global competitiveness and it has also caused the Japanese economy to fall into a 20-year recession. The inflection point of China's population structure has already appeared. People are full of worries and even extreme pessimism about the future growth. Now, some domestic people have called for China's family planning policy to be liberalized. One of the main reasons is that Chinaâ€™s aging population is eroding Chinaâ€™s labor cost advantage. Therefore, it needs new labor supply to make up for the aging labor market.
This view precisely ignores the subversive impact of current technological progress on the substitution of traditional labor. As the ratio of capital to labor rises to a very high level in the future combination of production factors, â€œhumanâ€ labor will become a very insignificant part of production. The relationship between changes in demographic structure and economic growth applicable to Japan in the past may have become less relevant in China due to the emergence of robots and their wide application in production. The birth of the robot is about to change the world's manufacturing landscape. Labor-intensive countries will no longer be the center of global manufacturing. Global manufacturing will develop and deploy around capital and technology. In his speech earlier, Sun Yizheng said that if Japan is to become the worldâ€™s largest manufacturing country in 2050, its confidence comes from industrial robots that are changing the embarrassing situation facing Japan due to aging, and robots can work â€œforgetfulâ€. The cost is less than one-tenth of the "natural person". This tells us that if it is meaningful to relax China's family planning policy, then it should not be based on the need to address the problem of insufficient supply of labor due to "aging" in China's long-term growth. In the robot production system, population aging and the unlimited supply of labor (as opposed to labor demand) coexist. In view of this, the upgrade of China's future industrial structure is not only the upgrading of the final product quality and brand, but also the upgrading of the operations of the former worker assembly line into the production of intelligent robots. Only robots with higher â€œIQâ€ will flow into Chinaâ€™s â€œlabourâ€ market, and Chinaâ€™s future manufacturing industry will have a way out and hope. In short, in the future, the global highland of manufacturing is not a sufficient and cheap labor supply, but it is the world's leading intelligent robot technology.
The new technology revolution is not only the emergence of intelligent robots, but more importantly, it is based on the production of information technology and big data. In the traditional market economy, manufacturers organize production on the basis of price signals, but there is no central planner to direct what products the manufacturer should produce, how much it should produce, and everything goes around markets, prices, and profits. The trait of market competition is exactly the decentralization. All market participants are only the recipients of market prices. In this situation, resources can flow and reconfigure through price signals and can allocate resources to more efficient companies. There is a saying that the emergence of big data has led to a decentralized trend in social organizations and production methods. The marketization reform in China is to decentralize and decentralize. Through market-based decentralized decision-making and price signals, producers can better meet the needs of consumers; the reason why the planned economy in practice is hitting the wall is an important one. The reason is that the central planners do not know exactly what the consumers need, and the information between the consumers and the central planners is not good, making it impossible for the planner to determine the products to meet the needs of the consumers. The combination of planning and regulation has created a general shortage. It is not a good way to organize production.
In the traditional market economy, when the market price rises, manufacturers will increase production; conversely, when the price falls, it will reduce production and achieve a balance between supply and demand. However, when prices rise, companies also tend to increase supply excessively, resulting in excess product; when prices fall, they may also cause manufacturers to excessively reduce production. It can be said that the market economy is looking for a balance in the cycle of price fluctuations and overproduction cycles. In this process, waste is often unavoidable, and even a new equilibrium must be established through the extreme means of â€œcrisisâ€. This shows that although the price signal is the baton of the market economy, it is not perfect. In economic practice, people have also been trying to seek a balance between the market and the government, through the government intervention to compensate for the lack of spontaneous market "blind" competition. Regrettably, the government's intervention in the economy has not been so successful.
However, the emergence of big data based on information technology will weaken the role of price signals in resource allocation. Therefore, even if it is also dressed in a "market economy," the profit maximization is still the manufacturer's heart pacemaker, but the robot production The market economy in China will also be very different from the market economy that used the pure baton as a baton. We often say that in the market economy, prices carry the function of signal transmission, but information asymmetry is always present, which makes the theoretically perfect market economy always encounter all sorts of embarrassing reasons in practice. However, based on modern information technology and big data production, information transmission channels and mechanisms from consumers to producers, or from producers to consumers, have played a fundamental role. Consumers can not only rely on modern information technology to search for product supply information, but also determine which product to vote for currency votes based on user ratings (points). Dripping conveniently communicates information between passengers and taxis, which not only facilitates passengers but also reduces the occupancies caused by asymmetric information. More importantly, consumers can directly put forward consumer demand to producers. Manufacturers do not need to judge the changes of consumers' tastes and their quantity with the help of price fluctuations, and thus are less likely to cause excess product; consumers themselves It will also participate in product design, not only has a richer user experience, but also full of sense of accomplishment in the design of their own products. Therefore, modern information technologies and big data can directly communicate consumer demand information to producers, who organize and arrange production accordingly. In the past, the "lean manufacturing" and "zero inventory" proposed in Japanese business management will be better practiced because of big data. We may speculate that, based on the production of information technology, lean production will gradually evolve into "precise production" globally. For this reason, the organic combination of intelligent production and informationization is the fundamental difference between the current technological revolution and the industrial revolution of the past.
This leads to an important question: Is the essence of the market economy in the past - decentralized decision-making, still valid in the information and intelligent robot production system? The answer is likely that since the transmission of consumer signals is no longer simple Relying on the rise and fall in prices, the efficiency of decentralized decision-making on the allocation and use of resources may decline accordingly. On the contrary, a certain range of centralized and planned production not only becomes possible but also necessary. We can even make such a judgment: In the era of big data production, the more concentrated the production, the lower the possibility of surplus products. Further, robot production based on big data itself may increase the concentration of production. To take an extreme example, assuming that a product is produced and supplied by only one company, and consumers pass the product's demand information through the company's APP, then the company can arrange and organize production based on this information. The amount of production it produces just meets the amount of consumer bookings, not much. Therefore, we can also say that production under big data may evolve into full â€œorderâ€ production instead of organizing and arranging production based on price and inventory changes.
If this is the case, then the volatility of the unintentional stocks of companies will decline, and the macro economy will thus truly move toward the era of "great easing." The demand for government â€œsmoothing cycle fluctuationsâ€ in economic operations has decreased. Based on modern information technology and big data production methods, the government is burying ubiquitous economic intervention. The economic system at that time will evolve into a new era of "planned market economy." However, the "plan" here is not an instructional plan for the government, nor is it an instructional plan, but rather a market-oriented plan based on orders.
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