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Scenario: Lights out manufacturing

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With the mass layoffs being handed down to human employees as a result of the global economic slowdown that followed years of offshoring jobs away from North America and Western Europe, it is said that lights-out manufacturing could dominate the way that things are manufactured. This statement is true when it concerns the geographic and political regions that are currently served with highly-paid unionized laborers (e.g., Canada, the United States of America, and the European Union). Products would be sold at a cheaper price (improving the affordability of the item) because the robots don't have to be put on the payroll, given a company pension, or handed out benefits for full-time labor. People maintaining the robots would need the money, benefits, and the company pension. However, the amount that would be paid to these human workers would be minimal compared to paying the human laborers that the robots in the lights out manufacturing technique will ultimately replace.

In developing countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico, human labor will continue to be in strong demand for decades. This is due to the fact that companies in Third World countries must have low-paying jobs or no jobs at all. Regions of industrialized nations that are unusually agrarian in form (i.e., Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada) will try to keep manual labor on their farms as long as the economy can support it. It is only due to the fact that the service sector is predominant in developed countries that allows manufacturing plants and factories to go lights out without significantly affecting the entire work force. Most developing countries are either semi-agrarian or going through a nascent stage of industrialization; making lights out manufacturing counterproductive there as the service sector in those countries are not established enough to absorb the people that automation eliminates from most blue collar jobs.

Male employees are more likely to be affected by the transition to lights-out manufacturing than female employees (even as women are outnumbering men in the American workforce as of February 2009). Women are more likely to work in professional and/or service jobs where lights-out manufacturing will never reach due to the need for human workers in white-collar, pink-collar, and green-collar jobs.

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