Here is a brief sample:
Some investors are concerned that corporate profit margins will fall, but we think margins can remain near their historic highs. Falling unemployment has historically improved workers’ bargaining power. However, with the low cost of capital from the Fed, businesses are increasingly investing in automation and substituting capital for labor. From a recent review of ‘The Second Machine Age’ by MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee in the Washington Post:
“To illustrate the point, Brynjolfsson and McAfee cite the example of Instagram and Kodak. Instagram is a simple app that has allowed more than 130 million people to share some 16 billion photos. Within 15 months of its founding, Instagram was sold to Facebook – a company with 1 billion users – for $1 billion. It was only a few months later that Kodak, the Instagram of its day, declared bankruptcy. Such is the ‘bounty’ of the second machine age…it has created a new class of super-rich entrepreneurs and investors, but it has don so with a company that employs only 4,600 workers. Compare that with Kodak, which at its peak employed 145,000 workers in mostly middle-class jobs.”
Here is The Weekly View.
We have certainly seen or heard about it before, from Buggy Whip manufacturers at the turn of the last century to Polaroid and Eastman Kodak in the 1960s, to smart phones today. The only difference is that the rapidly evolving process of technological innovation is accelerating exponentially.
This should be good for global GDP growth in the decades ahead. Therefore, it will also be good for investors because innovative companies will do spectacularly well as multinational Autonomies. It will make the technological geniuses who invent the machines and processes fabulously wealthy, as we are already seeing. It is becoming a social problem for the less talented because smart machines will continue to replace jobs.Back to top