I agree that the cost of labor becomes minor.
The cost of capital is important, and how much government subsidy is available (almost all new locations for manufacturing are subsidized.)
But there is also the cost of infrastructure. This includes access to chip packaging, the customer base and whether another manufacturer has already persuaded equipment and materials companies to set down staff in the location.
Not quite sure what aspect of the UK is a "socialist cess pool". Perhaps it is having health care free sat the point of need that gets goat. Or a welfare system slightly less inclined to keeping people in poverty. Or perhaps taxing the rich (to a maximum of 50% of annual income) in order to pay for services needed by the less well off, and hence try to reduce the pressures that lead to criminality and despair.
We are not all wearing blue boiler suits and holding Chairman Mao's little book.
Sure the UK missed the boat despite many good opportunities to grow an indigenous the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Pistorio, for instance, offered to build a semiconductor R&D centre in UK if the British government took a 33% share of ST. I wonder if that offer is still open. Meanwhile other sectors such as ARM's IP business, fabless design companies such as CSR, biotech start-ups and Rolls Royce aircraft engines have all been very successful. With the right management and funding great things are possible.
The title Engineer in the UK has been devalued to almost nothing.
The guy who fixes your washing machine, telephone or PC, is an `Engineer'. If that `Engineer' can't fix it, the problem may get escalated to a Technician.
We don't call first-aiders `Doctor', but for some reason it's fine to call a repairman `Engineer'.
something you forgot to mention: freshly out of university and clutching my BSc in 1974, companies here in UK hired at around 3 times what my Dad (a busdriver) earned. A small house cost around three to four times what I earned. Today a new and inexperienced engineering graduate can hope, if he's lucky, to earn a starting salary of less than twice minimum wage, only about 15% more than a busdriver, and much less than a new medic, lawyer or even police constable, has absolutely no hope of buying any kind of flat or house. Small wonder that tech companies are always saying "We can't get the staff". Kids see engineering and science as 1) hard and 2) not sufficiently rewarded for how hard it is. They are dead right. I also note that there's not even the respect or esteem that once was accorded engineers; in contrast to thirty and forty years ago, most commentators here do not include engineering among 'the professions', which nowadays means lawyers, doctors, architects, accountants, journalists and even nurses; not the situation at all in U.S.
Just as an FYI, both Ireland and the UK are in fact members of the EU. However the UK is not a member of the Eurozone. And aren't they happy about that, these days.
Of course, having tax advantages is going to be a draw for business. Lower costs attract business. More taxes and more stringent environmental laws discourage business. It has to be a balancing act.
The "burst" that you talk about is a property burst, not much different from our own. There was too much growth, too fast, and too much public indebtedness.
My question to people is, how come people were not panicking, as I was, when their property assessments were going up by 25 to 30 percent per year? That should have panicked everyone, but of course, greed being what it is, everyone was thrilled.
Now we, and the Irish, pay the piper.
When US companies e,g. Intel started Fabs in Ireland, it was dirt cheap compared to the UK ( e,g. Motorola's now closed Fab in E. Killbride, Scotland ). More importantly, enticed by German wealth, poor & celtic Ireland joined the EU ( which the UK never did ) and so became a "somewhat" English speaking launch pad for US semicos wanting to avoid EU tariffs.
But other than that Ireland has no advantages over the UK, even their technical people are not analytical enough ( and Fab yields are still nothing great to write home about ).
FYI, since then the Irish bubble has, quite predictably, burst.
This article is pure rubbish. The Anglo-Saxons are not much different culturally from the Irish. And they had no trouble attracting foundries. The leftists have turned England into a socialist cesspool and no one in their right mind will risk several billion dollars in capital in such an adverse business climate. We have the same problem now in California.
Chipmonk, first off, I know something about Europe. That's where I grew up. But much more to the point, you can be certain that if offshoring the manufacturing process was going to cost more than manufacturing at home, the trend would soon reverse itself. Or offshoring any other aspect of your business, for that matter.
And, on occasion, it happens.
I think you are trying way too hard to turn simple business math into a class warfare struggle. If the yield of Chinese fabs becomes low enough, you will see a shift occur away from China.