Tuesday, October 17, 2017

How Will China's Industrial Modernization Plan affect Workers? By Boy Luethje

How Will China's Industrial Modernization Plan affect Workers? By Boy Luethje. East-West Center, Oct 17 2017.

HONOLULU (Oct. 17, 2017) -- Today’s discussions about the future of manufacturing are awash with visions of revolutionary change. Digital technologies are expected to create a “fourth industrial revolution”—a world of seamlessly interconnected “smart factories” driven by artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data applications.

In line with this thinking, China has developed a master plan to transform its vast manufacturing base from low-cost export production to highly automated advanced manufacturing aimed primarily at the domestic market. The plan was drafted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and was outlined in 2015 in a comprehensive government document titled “Made in China 2025.”

Made in China 2025 gives a strong role to China’s new multinationals in areas such as solar systems, wind turbines, LED, household appliances and, most prominently, telecommunications and advanced Internet services. The plan thus reflects the increased importance of large non-state-owned enterprises as drivers of innovation and marks a substantial change in economic power relations in China.

Serious questions remain, however, for China’s large, low-wage labor force, particularly related to labor markets, the transformation of work and industrial relations. Reforms are needed in areas such as vocational training, human-resource management, wage and incentive systems, appraisal of skills, and workplace safety and privacy. Yet the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the Ministry of Education, the All China Federation of Trade Unions and other mass organizations have been mostly absent from the drafting and execution of the program.

Some relevant labor laws have been extended in recent years and offer improved protections for workers related to mass layoffs, workplace safety and employment of temporary workers. Current discussions are dominated, however, by demands to discontinue key provisions of the 2008 Labor Contract Law in order to facilitate the massive job reductions underway in state-owned heavy industries and coal mining.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government and research institutions have not provided any valid assessment of the potential labor-market effects of Made in China 2025. The relevant statistics are scattered among various government agencies, making it difficult to assess the labor-market, social-security, training and other implications of the program. Ongoing research on current automation projects and policies clearly indicates that massive job cuts lie ahead. The effect will vary by industry and region:

.    In predominantly state-owned manufacturing, such as the automotive industry, the job impacts of digitalization appear to be relatively minor. Many factories are already characterized by high levels of automation, and digital technologies can be introduced gradually.
.    Among private Chinese and multinational manufacturers with large, low-wage labor forces, the effects of transformation from labor-intensive to automated manufacturing are potentially much greater. In some model “Internet factories” of home-appliance makers, more than 50 percent of the manufacturing workforce has already been cut.
.    Job reductions are potentially highest among labor-intensive small and medium enterprises. Here, relatively simple automation equipment can replace large numbers of semi- and low-skilled workers. A recent study in the city of Dongguan in central Guangdong Province found job reductions of 67 to 85 percent in such companies, often affecting the workers with the best skills and bargaining positions.

The situation in Guangdong Province illustrates the negative effects of top-down industrial policies. Ambitious to become China’s leading region in factory automation, the provincial government has promoted Made in China 2025 with the slogan “Robot-Replaces-Man.” City governments have picked up the message and make the replacement of workers a top criterion in their plans to subsidize the procurement of robots. The issue of job cuts and retraining is mostly ignored because many of the workers who lose their jobs are migrants from other regions.

The Dongguan city government reported that in 2015, the first year of its “Robot-Replaces-Man” program, 1,262 participating companies cut 71,000 jobs. With a working population of more than five million, the local labor market may absorb these job losses for the time being. In the long term, however, serious problems may occur.

Overall, digital technologies have significant potential to change the structure of manufacturing, improve cooperation within production networks and relocate production closer to end markets. For China, digital manufacturing could ease pressures for large-scale urbanization and related problems of labor migration.

Instead of the present top-down approach, industrial policies “from below” could integrate technological upgrading with strategies to develop a skilled workforce and rebalance labor markets. Industrial cities in the Pearl River Delta, for example, could support industrial upgrading by making subsidies for automation equipment conditional upon improvements in working conditions and training of workers. Long-term development of a skilled industrial workforce could be supported by granting permanent residence (called hukou) to migrant workers who graduate from vocational training programs. Last but not least, the provincial and local trade unions could enforce standards of decent work and accelerate the implementation of collective bargaining in privately owned enterprises.

Such approaches exist, but the innovative potential of digital manufacturing to improve conditions for China’s huge workforce remains unexplored due to pressure for short-term profits and the absence of institutional reform. There will most likely be job losses, but the key challenge is to find the right mix of automation and a higher-skilled labor force for long-term growth.
Dr. Boy Luethje is a Professor and Volkswagen Endowed Chair of Industrial Relations and Social Development at Sun Yat-sen University’s School of Government in Guangzhou, China. In January and February 2017, he was a Visiting Scholar at the East-West Center. Dr Luethje recently published a chapter with co-author Florian Butollo, ‘“Made in China 2025”: Intelligent manufacturing and work,’ in the book The New Digital Workplace: How New Technologies Revolutionise Work, published by Palgrave-Macmillan.

After seeing an agent attain two goals equally often at varying costs, infants expected the agent to prefer the goal it attained through costlier actions

Liu, Shari, Tomer D Ullman, josh tenenbaum, and Elizabeth Spelke. 2017. “Ten-month-old Infants Infer the Value of Goals from the Costs of Actions”. PsyArXiv. October 17. psyarxiv.com/78qd4

Abstract: Infants understand that people pursue goals, but how do they learn which goals people prefer? Here, we test whether infants solve this problem by inverting a mental model of action planning, trading off the costs of acting against the rewards actions bring. After seeing an agent attain two goals equally often at varying costs, infants expected the agent to prefer the goal it attained through costlier actions. These expectations held across three experiments conveying cost through different physical path features (jump height and width; incline angle), suggesting that an abstract variable, such as ‘force’, ‘work’ or ‘effort’, supported infants’ inferences. We model infants' expectations as Bayesian inferences over utility-theoretic calculations, providing a bridge to recent quantitative accounts of action understanding in older children and adults.

Dramatic pretend play games uniquely improve emotional control in young children

Goldstein TR, Lerner MD. Dramatic pretend play games uniquely improve emotional control in young children. Dev Sci. 2017;e12603. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12603

Abstract: Pretense is a naturally occurring, apparently universal activity for typically developing children. Yet its function and effects remain unclear. One theorized possibility is that pretense activities, such as dramatic pretend play games, are a possible causal path to improve children's emotional development. Social and emotional skills, particularly emotional control, are critically important for social development, as well as academic performance and later life success. However, the study of such approaches has been criticized for potential bias and lack of rigor, precluding the ability to make strong causal claims. We conducted a randomized, component control (dismantling) trial of dramatic pretend play games with a low-SES group of 4-year-old children (N = 97) to test whether such practice yields generalized improvements in multiple social and emotional outcomes. We found specific effects of dramatic play games only on emotional self-control. Results suggest that dramatic pretend play games involving physicalizing emotional states and traits, pretending to be animals and human characters, and engaging in pretend scenarios in a small group may improve children's emotional control. These findings have implications for the function of pretense and design of interventions to improve emotional control in typical and atypical populations. Further, they provide support for the unique role of dramatic pretend play games for young children, particularly those from low-income backgrounds.

Generic language encourages to categorize individuals using a lower evidentiary standard regardless of negative consequences

When Your Kind Cannot Live Here: How Generic Language and Criminal Sanctions Shape Social Categorization. Deborah Goldfarb et al. Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617714827

Abstract: Using generic language to describe groups (applying characteristics to entire categories) is ubiquitous and affects how children and adults categorize other people. Five-year-olds, 8-year-olds, and adults (N = 190) learned about a novel social group that separated into two factions (citizens and noncitizens). Noncitizens were described in either generic or specific language. Later, the children and adults categorized individuals in two contexts: criminal (individuals labeled as noncitizens faced jail and deportation) and noncriminal (labeling had no consequences). Language genericity influenced decision making. Participants in the specific-language condition, but not those in the generic-language condition, reduced the rate at which they identified potential noncitizens when their judgments resulted in criminal penalties compared with when their judgments had no consequences. In addition, learning about noncitizens in specific language (vs. generic language) increased the amount of matching evidence participants needed to identify potential noncitizens (preponderance standard) and decreased participants’ certainty in their judgments. Thus, generic language encourages children and adults to categorize individuals using a lower evidentiary standard regardless of negative consequences for presumed social-group membership.

Typical courses and critical thinking skills acquired during a semester are not sufficient to prompt skepticism about myth statements

Class Dis-Mythed: Exploring the Prevalence and Perseverance of Myths in Upper-Level Psychology Courses. Michael Root and Caroline Stanley. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317646288_Class_Dis-Mythed_Exploring_the_Prevalence_and_Perseverance_of_Myths_in_Upper-Level_Psychology_Courses

Description: Undergraduates (N = 117) from two mid-sized universities enrolled in one of three psychology courses (Cognitive Psychology, Learning & Memory, or Personality) completed surveys about commonly held psychology myths related to the course in which they were enrolled. Students completed the surveys at the beginning and end of the semester. The purpose of our study was twofold. First, we wanted to measure the prevalence of myth beliefs in undergraduates taking upper level psychology courses. Second, we wanted to discern whether course content alone (i.e., readings, lectures, class activities, tests, and assignments) was sufficient to disabuse undergraduates of their myth beliefs. Although all three courses had prerequisite psychology courses, beginning-of-semester responses indicated that students in all three classes believed a majority of the myths related to the subject matter of their course. End-of-semester responses indicated that, unless a myth was explicitly debunked in a course (e.g., material in a Learning & Memory course contradicted their belief that people have different learning styles), myth beliefs persisted throughout the semester. Our results suggest that typical course content and any critical thinking skills acquired during a semester is not sufficient to prompt skepticism about myth statements. Instead, we argue that a more effective strategy to dispel common myths that may hinder undergraduates reasoning and critical thinking skills is for instructors to make undergraduates explicitly aware of these myths and how research fails to support them.

Check also: Dispelling the Myth: Training in Education or Neuroscience Decreases but Does Not Eliminate Beliefs in Neuromyths. Kelly Macdonald et al. Frontiers in Psychology, Aug 10 2017. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/08/training-in-education-or-neuroscience.html

Peak olfactory acuity is 9pm... Maybe to help finding sexual mates.

The Influence of Circadian Timing on Olfactory Sensitivity. Rachel S Herz, Eliza Van Reen, David Barker, Cassie J Hilditch, Ashten Bartz, Mary A Carskadon. Chemical Senses, bjx067, https://doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjx067

Abstract: Olfactory sensitivity has traditionally been viewed as a trait that varies according to individual differences but is not expected to change with one’s momentary state. Recent research has begun to challenge this position and time of day has been shown to alter detection levels. Links between obesity and the timing of food intake further raise the issue of whether odor detection may vary as a function of circadian processes. To investigate this question, thirty-seven (21 male) adolescents (M age =13.7 years) took part in a 28-hr forced-desynchrony (FD) protocol with 17.5 hours awake and 10.5 hours of sleep, for seven FD cycles. Odor threshold was measured using Sniffin’ Sticks six times for each FD cycle (total threshold tests = 42). Circadian phase was determined by intrinsic period derived from dim light melatonin onsets. Odor threshold showed a significant effect of circadian phase, with lowest threshold occurring on average slightly after the onset of melatonin production, or about 1.5 ○ (approximately 21:08 hours). Considerable individual variability was observed, however, peak olfactory acuity never occurred between 80.5 ○- 197.5 ○ (~02:22-10:10 hours). These data are the first to show that odor threshold is differentially and consistently influenced by circadian timing, and is not a stable trait. Potential biological relevance for connections between circadian phase and olfactory sensitivity are discussed.

Keywords: adolescents, food intake, forced desynchrony, individual differences, odor threshold, trait-state

Citizens believe others, especially their political rivals, gravitate toward like-minded news

Public Perceptions of Partisan Selective Exposure. Perryman, Mallory R. The University of Wisconsin - Madison, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2017. 10607943. https://search.proquest.com/openview/20d6e3befcf61455779aebe39b91d29f/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

From the introduction:

This dissertation investigates citizens’ perceptions of where others turn to for news, i.e., perceived exposure. In two empirical studies, I demonstrate how the assumptions that perceivers make about media and the assumptions they make about other people ultimately produce a perception of perceived partisan selective exposure. I test the extent to which citizens believe that they and others engage in selective media habits and examine the cognitive shortcuts that perceivers use to make such assessments. Ultimately, this investigation concludes that citizens believe others, especially their political rivals, gravitate toward like-minded news.

Though this is the first examination of public perceptions of selective exposure, it is not the first study to try and gauge perceptions of others’ media use. Capturing beliefs about others’ media exposure originated with research into perceived media effects, an avenue of research concerned with the ways in which people believe media impact other people. It is easy to see how  perceived exposure is a core tenet of perceived media effects research: In order to believe others have been affected by a media message, a perceiver must first assume the others-in-question have been exposed to that message.

Understanding why citizens believe certain others interact with certain media messages thus requires revisiting the basic principles of perceived media effect research –- research that explores how individuals make assumptions other people, about media, and about what happens when other people encounter that media.

Check also: The Myth of Partisan Selective Exposure: A Portrait of the Online Political News Audience. Jacob L. Nelson, and James G. Webster. Social Media + Society, https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305117729314

And: Echo Chamber? What Echo Chamber? Reviewing the Evidence. Axel Bruns. Future of Journalism 2017 Conference. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/09/echo-chamber-what-echo-chamber.html

And: Stanley, M. L., Dougherty, A. M., Yang, B. W., Henne, P., & De Brigard, F. (2017). Reasons Probably Won’t Change Your Mind: The Role of Reasons in Revising Moral Decisions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000368

And: Consumption of fake news is a consequence, not a cause of their readers’ voting preferences
Kahan, Dan M., Misinformation and Identity-Protective Cognition (October 2, 2017). SSRN, https://ssrn.com/abstract=3046603

And: Fake news and post-truth pronouncements in general and in early human development. Victor Grech.Early Human Development, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2017.09.017

And: Science Denial Across the Political Divide -- Liberals and Conservatives Are Similarly Motivated to Deny Attitude-Inconsistent Science. Anthony N. Washburn, Linda J. Skitka. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 10.1177/1948550617731500

And: Biased Policy Professionals. Sheheryar Banuri, Stefan Dercon, and Varun Gauri. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8113. https://t.co/Jga1EUEkbF.

And: Dispelling the Myth: Training in Education or Neuroscience Decreases but Does Not Eliminate Beliefs in Neuromyths. Kelly Macdonald et al. Frontiers in Psychology, Aug 10 2017. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/08/training-in-education-or-neuroscience.html

And: Wisdom and how to cultivate it: Review of emerging evidence for a constructivist model of wise thinking. Igor Grossmann. European Psychologist, in press. Pre-print: https://osf.io/preprints/psyarxiv/qkm6v/

And: Individuals with greater science literacy and education have more polarized beliefs on controversial science topics. Caitlin Drummond and Baruch Fischhoff. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 114 no. 36, pp 9587–9592, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1704882114

And: Expert ability can actually impair the accuracy of expert perception when judging others' performance: Adaptation and fallibility in experts' judgments of novice performers. By Larson, J. S., & Billeter, D. M. (2017). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(2), 271–288. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000304

And:  Bottled Water and the Overflowing Nanny State, by Angela Logomasini. How Misinformation Erodes Consumer Freedom. CEI, February 17, 2009

And Competing cues: Older adults rely on knowledge in the face of fluency. By Brashier, Nadia M.; Umanath, Sharda; Cabeza, Roberto; Marsh, Elizabeth J.
Psychology and Aging, Vol 32(4), Jun 2017, 331-337. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/07/competing-cues-older-adults-rely-on.html