Rise of the Machines: Adidas Announces Move Back To Germany To Use Robots As New Labor Force

images-1150px-Adidas_Logo.svgAdidas, the German maker of sportswear and equipment, is moving back to Germany after shifting its operations to Asia for cheap labor. However, wages are increasing even in Asia so Adidas has found workers even cheaper: robots. Adidas will be making shoes again in Germany by 2017 but will employ relatively few actual Germans.

It has been 20 years since Adidas moved its factories to Asia. Now the shoes will be made in the new prototype “Speedfactory” in Ansbach, southern Germany. It is likely to be a scene repeated in the future as humans are replaced by robots in manufacturing and service industries.

The implications of the trend are chilling. The price of goods may indeed fall and improve but it also suggests a huge segment of the population that will become increasingly obsolete and locked into the lowest income bracket. That will force the current income inequalities to even more extreme levels.

18 thoughts on “Rise of the Machines: Adidas Announces Move Back To Germany To Use Robots As New Labor Force

  1. @Paul Schulte. When the McDonalds secret sauce shifts to molybdenum grease, then we will know that humans are really in trouble.

  2. After manufacturing becomes automated, the ‘meat’ workers won’t have money to buy these products… Economics is circular – without consumers, there is no need for producers.

  3. We live in a consumer based economy but corporations somehow think that their profits will continue to rise even though consumers are losing their jobs and wages are low. Who on earth do they think will buy their products?

    Short sighted, very short sighted. Good grief even Henry Ford knew that products won’t sell if workers aren’t paid!

  4. If Robots wear shoes then who will buy the shoes? If the company hiring the robots has to buy the shoes then it will be making shoes for itself. Of course a robot without shoes is probably a better robot. It would be appropriate to replace Angela with a robot. Y’all know who Angela is don’t ya?

  5. Capitalism is about efficiency and profit. It appears that efficiency and profit will kill capitalism as predicted.

  6. “a huge segment of the population that will become increasingly obsolete and locked into the lowest income bracket. That will force the current income inequalities to even more extreme levels.”

    Until someone comes up with a better idea, everyone needs a minimum survival stipend, not only their own survival, but survival of the entire system.

  7. These are the same baseless arguments that were made about computers, then outsourcing/off-shoring. The sky is falling!

    1980s: “Computers will eliminate all jobs!”

    1990s: “Moving jobs to Mexico will skyrocket U.S. unemployment!”

    2016: We have a robust U.S. economy with near-full employment, despite billions of computers and tens of millions of jobs moved to other countries.

    But, hey, thankfully Donnie boy is about to rescue us from all our successes and make us great again. Wait…maybe the sky will fall.

  8. As ever more products are manufactured by robots to reduce labor costs and increase profits, where will formerly employed factory workers get the money to buy the cornucopia of “stuff” produced?

  9. If the government(s) demand that workers be paid an unreasonable minimum wage, one that will exceed the total costs of a machine doing the same job, then employers will have no competitive option other than to hire machines to do that job.
    I don’t know if Asian workers are at that point yet, I think their labor costs are still less than machines for many jobs.

  10. Also, remember the Luddites.
    They had this same complaint from a macroeconomic POV.

    The machines, although cheaper to operate for manufacturers and putting out a superior product, will put human workers out of a job, and that will destroy lives and crash the economy.

  11. This is why we need a reduced workweek. It hasn’t been reduced since the 1930s. Workers help produce the technology to increase productivity but they don’t enjoy the fruits of their labors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s