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Newsweek: "Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone? Ask a Robot."

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"In 2011, Terry Gou, the chairman of Foxconn, the largest maker of computer components on the planet, stood up at an employee party and announced that he would replace the workers who spray, weld and assemble products for Apple, Sony and Nokia with 1 million robots in three years. Gou wanted to cut rising labor expenses after scandals about onerous working conditions and worker suicides had forced him to raise wages. Though Foxconn is behind schedule with its plan, the company has already added thousands of robots to its workforce.

"Other companies—including restaurant chain Panera, communications giant PG&E and many others—are making similar moves. If trends hold, smart machines—computers and robots equipped with artificial intelligence—will deplete the professional job market in the next decade as ruthlessly as automation and robots did the assembly lines in the 1980s.

"Most forecasters agree that the mid-level jobs such as factory and clerical work are most at-risk. Unfortunately, these make up a huge portion of today’s available careers. A 2013 study on the susceptibility of jobs to computerization came to a devastating conclusion: 'Around 47 percent of total U.S. employment is in the high-risk category... jobs we expect could be automated relatively soon, perhaps over the next decade or two'."

Link to Newsweek

"Is This the End of China's Economic Miracle?"
"After years of double-digit annual growth, that’s a level that makes China’s leaders nervous. To the Communist Party of China, which has ruled the nation since 1949, social stability matters above all, and growth that falls too far below 7 percent could be dangerous for them. The prospect of young college graduates not being able to find jobs, or of poor farmers migrating to new urban areas only to be unable to find work, or of large firms going bankrupt, triggering layoffs, worries China’s leadership.

"China’s development model is obsolete and in need of urgent, not gradual, replacement,” says Daniel Rosen, a principal at the Rhodium Group, a New York consultancy, and author of a lengthy new report published by the Asia Society on the prospects for economic reform in China.

"This is not news to the leaders in Beijing. Indeed, exactly one year ago, President Xi Jinping and his government laid out, at the Communist Party’s so-called Third Plenum, a road map for the reform necessary to replace the current economic model and reinvigorate China’s growth. Known as the 'Decisions Plan', the report at its core called for market forces to assume “a decisive role in alloca'ting resources”—a phrase that pleased Western-trained economists the world over, and gave conservative cadres in China (who still want the state to drive the economic bus) heartburn.

"But the government increasingly doesn’t get much credit for good intentions. Skeptics contend that not a whole lot has happened since Xi and his prime minister, Li Keqiang, assumed office. Now the issue simply is how much urgency the government feels to drive a reform process that will inevitably cause pain (indeed, which already is causing pain)."

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