Mar 4, 2017

Made in the USA, but not by a human worker

The cover of Barron's is a macabre sign of the times: how investors can profit off robots replacing workers: "If manufacturers are going to flourish in America, they'll need to buy a lot more robots. Here are six ways to play this hot trend."

  • The lead: "As President Donald Trump prevents manufacturers from leaving the U.S., expect them to use robots to keep labor costs down."
  • The strategy: "For long-term investors, robots could be one key to securing healthy corporate profit growth, and stock returns, even as wages rise."
  • "Factory robots look nothing like Rosie from The Jetsons, the nameless B9 model from Lost in Space, or the one on the cover of this magazine. Many are hulking arms with rotating joints and interchangeable tools that can weld, stack, paint, assemble, and more."
  • Unintended consequences? "One thing that could accelerate U.S. robot deployments is a corporate tax cut, which would reduce the overall cost of manufacturing in the U.S., but not the labor cost. Another is a border adjustment tax, which would reward exporters while penalizing importers. Accelerated depreciation on capital investments would give companies an immediate tax break on money spent to automate factories."

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