Wednesday, June 1, 2016

When Robots Make Clothes

They will make the same thing over and over. 
 The system also comes with LOWRY, an automated materials handling system. This can pick up and align the required fabrics using a vacuum grip. This means, for the first time, the 20 or so different material cuts required to make one pair of jeans can all be assembled and stitched automatically, without the need for a human operator.
The system has already excited many in the US where it has been seen as a boon to the Made in the USA movement, an industry group keen to restore the domestic manufacturing sector. It has also already been warmly welcomed by a number of fast fashion brands, including Zara. If cost-competitive, the system would allow rapid delivery of in-trend garments from domestic manufacturers, without the need for complex and costly shipping and logistics requirements.
Although manufacturers in the developed world are welcoming this new technology as a way of creating a level playing field with garment producers in Southeast Asia, where labour costs are far lower, it could prove but a temporary respite for US and EU companies. One of the first orders for the system, apparently, has come from Bangladesh.
Tailors will become more valuable.  I was wearing an off-the-shelf shirt while visiting my tailor, and she remarked she could tell it was not hers, one of my shoulders is bigger than the other, not counted for in an off-the-shelf shirt received as a gift.  Forty years as her customer, and I never knew. Tailored clothes fit better, feel better, and must look better given the compliments.

There is nothing new here, just catching up with the inevitable.  With less people making clothes, others  can start looking for cures, something in which big Pharm is uninterested, they need big disease, not big cures.

Following Drucker, the innovator introduces the improvement on what was before, makes money competing on design, lives lifestyle over accumulation, and does good while doing well.  If the thing lasts and grows, inevitably the conservator takes the same item and redesigns it yet again and brings to the product its economies of scale in finance, manufacturing, distribution and retail.  In this was the original good inevitably lessens in price to the point at which virtually everyone can gain access to the good or service with their own money.  This is the free market.

It has become clear this process is only possible in a free market, it cannot happen in capitalism. Capitalism yields the too-big-to-fail, too-big-to-jail monstrosities we have today.  In a free market, those conservators are the co-ops, the granges, the credit unions, those customer-owned entities which thrive today no matter what.

A good world is out there, you simply had to extricate yourself from the warfare/welfare system.

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Anonymous said...

I didn't understand the difference between capitalism and free markets, thinking they were the same thing.

John Wiley Spiers said...

Capitalism is abjectly evil, so the Hegemon works assiduously to conflate the two, good and bad together. Capitalism, no matter which of the dozens of definitions, gets down to coercion in regards to charging interest (usury) having the practice legitimized in "law." In a free market, which is entirely voluntary, usury would disappear as no one would care about me not paying the interest on a loan, meaning no sanction, no more than anyone cares if someone does not pay a gambling debt.

The heart of the difference in all examples is the free market is voluntary, and capitalism is coerced. The nazis and the communists systems have proved to be superior since they had the decency to self liquidate when proven evil... the nazis by widespread suicides after 12 years in business, the Soviets by simply shutting down and releasing their victims after 75 years. Capitalism is taking so much more time, simply because the Hegemon is so much more patient.