Oh, we still have Slave labor in the U.S. It's called the H1-B Visa program. And the reason multinational corporations are moving their best paying jobs overseas is that they are run by people who are too stupid - or should I say shortsighted? - to see that for every dollar they spend on an employee in a foreign country, they may as well be throwing ten into the fire in lost revenues. American workers buy from American businesses. Chinese workers buy from Chinese businesses. Indian workers buy from Indian businesses. How many Dells are sold in China? Or India? Or Japan? What percentage of iPhones does Apple sell in China versus how much of the iPhone is built there? I shouldn't pick on Apple, after all, they do have a plant in Texas making the CPU for the iPhone, unlike most other 'American' companies.
What do you expect. We pay atheletes more than engineers and scientist. Then we bore the hell out of those few who enter the hard sciences and treat them like crap after they graduate.
If you want good R&D done in the US, you have to reward it. Our society would rather spend all day drinking and watching TV. What's a talented person to do, but go where the best jobs are.
They no longer exist in the US.
I think there are various factors contributing to the narrowing of the gap. I have found an interesting article in NYTimes. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?pagewanted=1&sq=apple
One of my sisters is part of a sportswear startup and their contract manufacturer in China has started to outsource to Tanzania, which is stable. Other firms are using Madagascar, where there is a fairly large ethnic Chinese population (some families are even older than American families who landed on Hawaii and the west coast over 150 years ago!).
In my opinion what is being outsourced out of US is applied R & D , related to the commercial industry. The Basic R & D, The Space related research and all the advanced R & D work in fundamental sciences and technologies is not being outsourced. And that is where US is likely to hold sway over the rest of the world. And it can continue to do so as most of the top class brains from developing countries yearn to work and settle in USA as US citizens and contribute to US knowledge wealth while monetarily helping their mother nation.
You forgot to mention that much of our governments financial debt is now payable to foreign-owned countries, many of the same countries that have benefited from the corporate out sourcing. A fundamental shift of power is occurring globally, from the US and Europe to China, India, etc.
Investors no longer allow companies to think long term. Short term growth and profits are required to keep them happy. Until this perception changes, no public company is going to focus on long-term growth.
Perhaps all this is part of a natural social phenomenon. First manufacturing was sent abroad, then the US people start studying finance and MBA degrees, now the R&D jobs are being sent abroad. What will come next? is this the beggining of the fall of USA? I've heard that 30% of the USA income is thanks to electronics and this is thanks to knowledge in semiconductor physics and quantum physics. I hope USA is able to catch-up now that they're starting to invest in STEM education again.
R&D area is highly critical,sensitive,risky. It is not counted with volume or quantity. As for as R&D is concerned the out put is only with qualified experts and does never stands on any volume of money or % of people. I see no worry about this for US or China or for any other country.Where as production cost is oriented with % cost involved in the human work hours.