The narrative is real, not made-up, and most everyone is pushing it:
- But even as some politicians look to divert attention from the issue, public focus returned to the evils of automation. The New York Times ran a story titled “The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It’s Automation,” while the Associated Press explained “Why robots, not trade, are behind so many factory job losses.” You get the picture. Technology is killing manufacturing jobs.
Case in point - Adidas.
Adidas has long produced shoes overseas with cheap labor. You know the drill. But with robotics and a new business plan they have found that these jobs can work onshore, with high-skilled labor. They've rehomed a plant from overseas to Germany (and one in the US), which now (alongside the robots) employs 160. These "speed factories" could very well be the future. They produce the product cheaper and faster, they're closer to the market, they can ship quicker and more effectively, and they have access to high skilled folks who run these "collaborative robots."
No that doesn't do much for the rust belt today, but it may for the kids of people from the rust belt tomorrow. Not to mention, when costs are curtailed and companies become more and more competitive, consumers benefit, new products are created and industries function, and grow with an ever-expanding global market:
- "We have to embrace robotics. It allows us to reduce cost. If I reduce cost, I have more money that I can use for innovation. The more money I have, the more new products I can create. The more products I create, the more workforce I can hire.“
Neither tactic has or will work, and I think we all know that.
Unfortunately, while the industry has argued, the inevitable has been happening - more and more wagering (about 40%) has moved online.
But because the industry has failed to innovate with internet wagering, it's being left behind. There has not been "more money that I can use for innovation. The more money I have, the more new products I can create."
I am not confident in the racing industry, its decision making and where its mindset is. But I am bullish on what racing can be. I think it has to change from worrying about protecting the past, to thinking about the future and how to position itself; position itself against e-sports and sports in-running and DFS and so on. That's the issue, and it has nothing to do with track "A" getting 8% instead of 7% of track "B's" wagering pie.
The robots are coming and the free market - like it recently has through the Industrial Revolution, the assembly line, and the micro-chip - will adjust to serve a new paradigm. Racing needs to follow that path, and build a plan to serve theirs. Worrying about their own metaphorical rust belt is a waste of time.