- More and more companies are beginning to replace workers with robots
- This will not necessarily bring manufacturing back to rich countries
- Even if it does, the phenomenon will not create industrial jobs
- A neo-Luddite reaction to this trend is possible
Globalization has led firms to offshore many of their production processes to take advantage of lower labor costs. Notably, they have established affiliates or outsourced to manufacturers in Asia. With recent trends toward economic nationalism, calls to “bring industry back home” have grown louder.
One important feature of globalization is that various locations around the world are gradually specializing in particular production processes. Adam Smith’s proverbial pin factory is now better represented by the “global factory” of products such as the iPhone, with a fragmentation of processes around the planet. Many of our products come from global value chains (GVCs).