Britain: The Wages of Automation

In a once barren valley nestled among the green hills of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II last week pushed a button and put to work Britain's newest steel mill—the Spencer plant of the government-owned Richard Thomas & Baldwins company. The new plant is designed to produce high-quality steel by means of the fast-spreading LD oxygen process (see below). And it has one other remarkable attribute: it almost runs by computer. From receipt of customers' orders to the final finishing of bars, its operations will be scheduled and supervised by a unique corps of...

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