Exploratory Workshop on the SocIal Impacts of Robotics
of a sample of domestic industry being conducted with the support of the National
Contrary to widespread assumptions and beliefs, the major
causes of the decreasing international competitiveness of various domestic
industries differ likely to result
widely among in only mild
Hence, generalized solutions are at best. Also, although decreasing
competitiveness in production efficiency is a major factor such shortcomings are powerfully reinforced, and sometimes
in a even
number of industries; over-shadowed by:
Product designs which are less efficient, less attractive, less trouble- free or less sensitive to changes in consumer preferences; b. Higher unit wage costs resulting from wage rate increases which have out- a.
run gains in output per man-hour;
Higher unit costs of raw materials, energy, capital goods, or investment funds; and
Less aggressive marketing and less responsiveness to customer delivery and servicing needs.
Third, even disadvantages in respective to production efficiency are due to
a variety of causes.
Less advanced technological processes,
older facilities and robotics have
to increase technological capabilities; and reliance on longer production runs of a more limited product-mix to help keep capacity utilization rates high.
Fourth, another important contributor to the production efficiency of some foreign producers has been their labor’s greater productive efforts, greater
willingness to accept and maximize utilization of technological advances and
improvements, and greater mobility among tasks. decreasing competitiveness of domestic industries
a large share of the declines in the capa-
bilities and motivations of labor tends to be contradicted to some extent by the high quality of output and the apparent cost effectiveness of some foreign-owned
in the United States.
This does not mean that all trade unions
have sup- efforts to
raise productivity levels to those achieved by foreign competitors, and have limited ..
(7) The author is Chief Investigator,
The report is scheduled for late 1981.