Brexit won’t help Britain survive the rise of the robots | Paul Mason

Our allies are preparing for a new industrial revolution while the Tories implode. Who will suffer most from their inaction? Low-wage, low-skilled workers

  • Paul Mason is a writer and broadcaster on economics and social justice

What do a Japanese robot and the world’s first tidal turbine have in common? They are not in Britain. While the British government destroys itself over Brexit, the parts for a third industrial revolution are being assembled elsewhere. This is an industrial revolution where you don’t “catch up” – you catch the economic backwash. This is what would keep ministers awake at night – if they were serious.

In the past 12 months, Japan has started to produce a lot of robots. Its production index for industrial robots stood at 25 in 2009, achieved 175 last year and rocketed to 225 in June this year. Three-quarters of the units made were exported, helping Japan boost its total exports by 11% in the past year. In turn, the industrial surge of robots has stimulated a surge in semiconductor production in Japan and South Korea. This is big and real.

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