Finally, U.S & Washington D.C. are (somewhat) seriously having this discussion. As with Wall Street 2007 & 2008 ... someone's got to be The Adult here. GAME PLAN ??? To put this is the American Prespective ... The U.S. "game plan", "Trade Plan has been" - open market - No Game Plan !!! Other Countries (like an American Football team) HAVE A GAME PLAN !!! (Hello!!) ... LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD unlike these crappy - one-way Trade U.S. Trade Policies that have been Given Away for 30years, etc. Make U.S. Trade Policies same as Individual Countries we are dealing with (or is that Unfair ???) GERMANY ... ever hear of the word - Apprentice ?? ... U.S. Companies - No Training for U.S. Applicants but The U.S. Individual is suppose to know 100% of how the company & JOB they are applying to - Works !!(with NO / ZERO Training) Of Course. But, if H1B's are invited over, guess who gets to Train ("help") them (out) ???
I hear you, John. There is always that complex "regulation" issue and more red tapes. I appreciate your putting things into the real-world context.
That said, my question still stands. By giving up the production here in the United States, we are losing a number of jobs related to the whole "eco-system" of the electronics industry.
Shouldn't that be a concern for those who work in the electronics industry?
I just watched a lively debate about the future of U.S. manufacturing on the "PBS Newshour". PJames's point was repeated several times during the debate: low-level assembly work isn't the answer, and robots can probably do this work almost as well with the help of plant managers. The question is how we can leverage the unmatched productivity of American workers to create new products and flexible manufacturing processes to compete and win in the global market. We encourage readers to watch for more coverage in the coming days on this and other issues like how we can fix the policy tools such as the R&D tax credit to spur innovation and risk taking along with tax credits for companies who invest in new manufacturing plants in the U.S. -- large, small and in between.
We are heartened by all the great comments and ideas readers have posted over the last several days. Many thanks.
I think the focus of this article is probably misplaced. It is not the low value jobs of Foxconn we need to be striving for. We shouldn't be asking how to create jobs for people snapping iPhone cases together for 10 hours a day.
Perhaps we should have an article that looks at this engineering/jobs issue in the perspective of Germany's continued manufacturing/export success.
There are those Americans who say "so what?" if we don't bring manufacturing back to the U.S. I just had a debate with a non-engineer friend about this yesterday after the president's speech at Intel. My friend works in a service industry and he was quick to point out that 90% of Americans now work in service industries.
I questioned what kind of economy do we have if we don't actually MAKE things anymore, but his response was basically who cares, people in places like China already make almost everything we want or need, and maybe we are better off with an information-based and services-based economy. I think that's a dangerous dependency, but as so many here have said, there are no easy solutions.
Exactly my thinking too. We've been reading about how China is considering increased of robotics, to replace the ever more expensive human labor. So as you say, it must be more cost-effective for US companies to use the still-cheap human labor in China, rather than keep manufacturing here with much greater use of automation.
To me, this is the typically short term thinking that corporate bean counters engage in. But in any event, even if US companies kept manufacturing at home with greater use of automation, we ain't going back to the huge number of manufacting jobs that the politicians like to trumpet.
People interested in manufacturing jobs of the future need to get educated and trained in the new skills that are needed for that (IT, computer techs, software, systems, algorithms), and not expect to make a life out of standing in a production line turning screws.
Oh pleeeze. My dad was a UAW member for his entire working life. The GM strike of 1970 demanded "30 and out" fully paid health and dental for life...AND THEY GOT IT. Union goons fired shots at manager's houses and threatened bodily harm to anyone even considering crossing the picket line. Read: The Company and the Union, by William Serrin published in 1973, criticized the union for not asking for more! Just how do you "convince" people who are taking shots at your house that their demands are unsustainable???
Hi Junko, Two comments regarding your post: China didn't build its infrastructure in less than 10 years - the west, primarily the US built the infrastructure in China in less than 10 years (actually more 20, but who is counting). That folds into the next response "why can't we build it here" - two answers 1) the investments were/are already made in China 2) Regulation: My company considered to build in an older industrial park in Chicago. Imagine our surprise when the first of thousands of regulations was "asbestos mitigation". Mind you, the lot had been empty since 1951 - BUT explained the city, there could be asbestos left over from the 19th century! We immediately terminated the project.
John, I understand your point, but the cause of a $45K/yr packaging clerk is a management problem. Detroit's union pay problem stemmed from management that did not do its job and stand up to the unions. That is their job - not to antagonize the unions, but convince them that higher compensation was not sustainable. The auto makers had many other problems, but out-sized pay was a management created problem.
I had also considered why the US does not go the auto-maker route of using robotics to bring back the REALLY high volume manufacturing, like mobile devices? I also got thinking that maybe it suites the rest of the world, at least for the moment, that China polutes itself rather than having to build those EPA unfriendly processes on home soil. Even when handled safely, there are some pretty nasty chemicals in electronics that need disposing of.
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