The 4th Industrial Revolution
In his book, The 4th Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab, writes, “Of the many diverse and fascinating challenges we face today, the most intense and important is how to understand and shape the new technology revolution, which entails nothing less than a transformation of humankind. We are at the beginning of a revolution that is fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope and complexity, what I consider to be the fourth industrial revolution is unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”
After reading this, you can understand why I was attracted to this, especially as related to long-wave economic cycles, such as the Kondratieiff Cycles, and even more specifically, as related to humankind will react & interact with this expected historical if not epochal shift in our world economic history.
For instance, this 4th Industrial Revolution includes AI, Robotics, and many other forms of digitization…technologies which all could potentially create a loss of jobs for humankind. Since studying Political Science & History in college over 30 years ago, and since working in the commodity profession, it seems to me that there is one lingering question which we as a civilization will have to wrestle with before mid-century: How Does Humankind Earn A Good Enough Wage To Continue On The Path of Upward Mobility?
After 30 years, I can see a potential conflict between the 4th Industrial Revolution and humankind’s ability to move into a middle-class status, which then allows for increased protein consumption. This increased protein consumption has been at the fore-front of increased commodity demand (along with increased industrial-energy technologies pushing feed-stock demand higher).
To discuss this and delve deeper into this question is the purpose of this web section.
The chart above from the St. Louis FED shows an estimate of jobs most at-risk within the 20 years, within the districts of the St. Louis FED; how will people find meaningful, well-paying jobs if the probability of automation becomes this high in such key sectors?
Based upon the research I’ve done to-date, this is not just about potential lost U.S. jobs; this issue is a global one, it seems to me. And right in the middle of this global jobs issue is China’s 21st Century Silk Road. Again, as the chart below shows, in our current economic structure, the shift in diet in terms of protein consumption is positively correlated with income. Where are we headed? This is part of my longer-term analysis for client-producers of commodities, to help them navigate through this major economic cycle shift.
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