The orthodox view of the future of the half dozen First World nations is that they will become mainly service economies and, as far as employment goes, leave manifacturing as far behind as agriculture has been — using only about 2% of he population. This at least is the picture for. let us say, the next 50 years anyway.
Considering that automation can be applied to any job — in goods or services — mental or physical — that is of a routtine nature then there is no reason why automation could not be brought in very quickly. It depends on the costs of labour. ##when it sgarts rising significaintly — as it is beginning to do in China already — then manufacturing work can either be returned to First world countries with muh higher ,levels of automation or the work can be handed downwards to countries with much lower labour costs. his is what is gtening o happen and, so long as successive relocation costs are not too high, this is where most manufacturing jobs will go.
Bur manufacutirng can also return to First world countries once more carbon-based marterials come into existing. Carbon composites have already replaced metals in making aeroplane bodies and parts, but this is farily elementary stuff. Much more sophisticated carbon=based materials with far better specifications than present materials will be possible before too long using synthetic DNA. The big advantage of this mode of production is that both syntheitc DNA and the synthetic protein materials it prodyces will be fully recyclable. There will be no waste, unlike today.
This carbon-based method of manufacturing will not only be developed in F irst world countries but itt will become locked in there also. The intellectual challenges of making an almost infinite repertoire of new materials and the number of specialised jobs it will engender means that First world countries need ever have unemployment again. Nothing would be gained and agreat deal would be lost if this new technology were allowed to migrate to other countries. Besides, those who work in it would have to have a high level of education which Second and Third World countries would not be able to afford.