This is what happens when you raise the minimum wage

in AppleOutsider edited January 2014
I knew this would only accelerate. By raising the minimum wage, it starts to make more sense to replace expensive workers with automated solutions.

It won't be many years before there is no space left in the workforce for unskilled labor. Faster, cheaper and more adaptable robotics advances will ensure that.


  • Reply 1 of 6
    Raising the Min. Wage has always presented these type of things.

    Raise in prices of services, and food, etc. So then it won't really matter.

    It's not like you can MAGICALLY raise min wage and expect everything to be hunky dory.

    Oh well.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    The point is, there is a real world trade-off for these kinds of concessions to populist politics. It sounds great/looks great on paper, but it directly impacts those it attempts to help.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    Automated kiosks like this have been around for years and is an attractive way to cut costs, in general, with or without a jump in the minimum wage. The Home Depot and our local supermarket chain have been using these automated checkouts for years. And if the level of success so far is any indication, it will affect only a few, but certainly not ALL humans doing this work.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    Kiosks represent one level of automation. A patent owned by McDonald's that was recently revealed outlines a system to automate sandwich creation (they have no plans to create a "Spam" sandwich).
  • Reply 5 of 6
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member

    Labor is a growing concern for an industry that predicts it will need 1.8 million more workers by 2015.

    By comparison, health care, which often pays more, will need 3.5 million more workers in that same time span, said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president for research at the National Restaurant Association.

    "Consequently, the competition for workers will become more intense," said Mr. Riehle. "So you can see that operators will be turning to technology to fill the labor gap."

    The article explicitly states that the problem being addressed is that the fast food industry can't recruit enough people to fill these low paying jobs.

    "The competition for workers will grow more intense"

    How is that "what happens when they raise the minimum wage"?
  • Reply 6 of 6
    This argument about automation replacing low wage workers is not real world. If a technology could practically replace workers, it would have already.

    There's no way a technology is going to replace a worker because you raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25. The reason is that automation costs a lot up front, but then costs much, much less that $5.15 an hour to maintain. There's no way right now a business would be paying someone $5.15 an hour, hour after hour after hour, if they could just pay a one time fee for the automation to replace them. Automation will ALWAYS be cheaper, if it is available. If something has yet been automatated, it's only because it is not possible yet.

    A worker at $5.15 an hour costs $10,000 a year. How many single machines, computers, or pieces of software cost more than $10,000? If a machine was available that could rake leaves rather than paying someone to do it all day long, it almost certainly would be more affordable than $10,000 a year.
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