Warren, I think I understand "free trade" as opposed to various levels of protectionism, but I also see that you qualify your statement with the word "fair". Good enough; in these short notes things go missing for brevity' sake. Now, if we knew (and agreed) what "fair" might be, that would be a good thing. Still, call it xenophobic or what you will, in the case of China, we have the classic "if you sup with the devil you should use a long spoon." China has not demonstrated particularly sparkling trade practices, and if, in defense, the US (or anyone else, for that matter) erects specific trade barriers, that's fine by me. Further, I do not believe that you can treat all trading partners equally, since they do not all behave the same way. And trade policies are a time-honored tool of adjusting the behavior of your trade partners. (BTW, should anyone care to label me a xenophobe as a result of this opinion, he should feel free to do so, sticks and stones being in long supply and not always very effective anyway. ;-)
Would I believe that people on both sides would welcome the input of professionals? Well, no I wouldn't believe that.
First, engineers tend to talk in facts, conjectures, and probabilities, not in over-simplified certainties. Most non-technical people misunderstand, and find that offensive. Second, the public discourse is generally led by interests with funds at stake, and they do not welcome interference. Third, the US public is at heart deeply anti-intellectual, and profoundly distrusts anything that complicates a discussion.
For reference, see the development of public debates in other technical fields, such as evolution or climatology. Those who have attempted to add useful information to the discourse have been attacked for their trouble.
I don't think you've quite got a handle on the term "free trade." That having been said please allow me to clarify that I stated a clause of "free and fair trade"... not simply free trade. Furthermore, the examples I raised were from a range of countries that represented anti-free and -fair trade; I apologize if that was not clear. And if only as to not appear as Xenophobic I think we should be crystal clear on the principles upon which we stand and openly discuss how they should and shall apply to all countries... not just now with China.
I liked this article. I have had experience with Japanese engineers, both in the States and in Japan, and to use an idiom, "it was a blast." I would cheerfully work with the Japanese again. One thing in the article did ring a bell: the notion that engineers are uncomfortable discussing political issues and the effect of these issues on their industry. Well, too bad. Wake up. Head out of sand. Political issues have enormous effect on us and our industry, and if we, working engineers, do not understand the political issues and weigh in on the public debate, to whom will this task be left? Politicians? Oh, Lord... Lay (non-engineering) members of the public? That's fine, they have a vote, but wouldn't you believe that non-practitioners on both sides of a question would welcome the input of professionals? Whether you are inside or outside your comfort zone with the side-effects of politics, you need to take a position and state it.
I doubt that Japan wants the opportunity to develop substitutes for rare-earth magnets forced upon them. I agree, Japanese engineers, in my experience, are top drawer material. But this jingoism, true as it is, doesn't help Mabuchi produce fractional horsepower motors. Not right away, anyway.
Unfortunately, a lot of the "credit" for allowing China to have disproportionate weight in trade is also due to a side-effect of capitalism: the three most important things in business are profit, profit, and profit. As a result, companies sometimes make bad choices over where they conduct business, because the short term profit outweighs the long term profit. However, if you make enough of these decisions that mortgage your future, you eventually get killed. Unless the US Government buys your failing car company, of course...
I really don't understand this comment. Why should we stand for free trade, unconditionally? Warren seems to say (someone tell me I've misinterpreted, please) that even if a country engages in egregious violations of IP, blatant sub-market subsidies for an important companies products, or whatever... we should stand up and sing the free trade song? Aw, c'mon, that can't be right. I'm not sure why this is an uncomfortable topic: I'm not uncomfortable...
If I read correctly, Japan already reserved those "earth-supplies" silently for at least the next 50 years.
Driven by profit, many companies in China have been selling these supplies at price close to dirt to countries like Japan freely for years. I think Chinese government did the right thing this time. Not to mention how polluted they are when they're made in China.
It sickens me each time who ever "originally from Japan" wrote articles like this. While it's not taught in US classrooms, Japan is the only country that raped China which once was his teacher and never regret for that, you can never understand their soul under their super fake humble behaviors.
Ther are rules and lines specified by WTO. All need to go inline and help each other. But when China wants to go away from it one needs to find out to bring china also in line which is very important. Is China does not require anything from japan.There may be some items which china needs from japan. That is the key to bring China in line now. The 3 step program is also quite possible and may take its owm tiime.
Permanent magnets are used inside compact motors which are used inside hybrid cars: I do not see any future in electric cars, anyway.
As soon as we have the solar power infrastructure, we should generate hydrogen by electrolysis (70% eficiency already achieved) and power our cars, using normal otto motors, with hydrogen. BMW already has them.
Then, the chinese can give away their neodymium
for free: because nobody needs it any more.