Logic - 31 Aug 2018
This longish article (reads in about 10 min) explains in great details the immense intricacies of today’s supply chains and makes us realize why they are so difficult to disentangle. The industry of supply-chain management (SCM in the jargon) is both vast and secretive; what we call global supply chain looks more like “a network of waterways, with thousands of tiny tributaries made up of sub-suppliers trickling into larger rivers of assembly, production, and distribution.” Supply chains are phenomenally complex, even for low-tech goods. A small apparel company might have 50,000 suppliers in its supply chain!
Published in Weekly selection 11 August 2018
Foreign Policy - metered paywall - 16 Jul 2018
This article puts forward the argument of “premature deindustrialization” that every investor in emerging markets should carefully consider: for two centuries, countries have used low-wage labor to climb out of poverty, but what will happen when robots take those jobs? If automation prevents today’s poor nations from developing the kind of manufacturing that would allow them to increase urbanization, train low-skilled workers, and accumulate capital, the long-term economic impact could be disastrous (reads in 6-8 min).
Published in Weekly selection 20 July 2018
Quartz - 14 Apr 2017
Robots will wipe out many jobs - somewhere between 9% and 47% of workers in the West over the next two or so decades according to various estimates, and more in emerging markets. Workers will adjust but the transition could be agonizing and the backlash monumental. We won’t stop the robots, but robotization won’t happen unfettered. A tax on robots, “affirmative action for humans” and “back to the basics”: all these are ideas that will gain traction. Long (9-13 min) but a must-read.
Published in Weekly selection 21 April 2017