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Future's not so bright
Old 01-23-2012, 07:08 PM   #1
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Future's not so bright

Though provoking article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/bu...pagewanted=all
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:25 PM   #2
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Aren't these the factories where people are committing suicide in droves because their lives suck so bad? You want to bring those jobs to the US?
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:25 PM   #3
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Obama and other government officials should not ask why more manufacturing is not done in the US; instead they should ask "Why does the government persist in wasting money and lives on our hopeless K-12 educational system?"

Like Jobs said, this work is never coming back. We now have a fairly stable class which will never really pull their own weight economically.

Ha
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:48 PM   #4
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"A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day"

And exactly why should be want to to copy this type of approach to the working classes? How long will Chinese workers put up with this? I wonder?
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:52 PM   #5
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Please do not post naked links (links without explanation or discussion).

For those who might be interested, this link explains why Apple moved all of its iPad and iPhone production to China, other than labor costs. Other positive labor attributes are discussed.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:04 PM   #6
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I just finished reading the biography of Steve Jobs. It was very interesting. When he came back to Apple the company only had about 1-2 months of cash. Jobs was able to turn it around by inventing great products and having to bet the future of the company on some of them. Things were really quite desperate for Apple for quite awhile as it had to make a come back after Windows became the system of choice.

Apple made all of its earlier products (Apple II,III, Macintosh) in the US. It is just an entire industry that our government let slip away.

Recently I was laid off from my part time retirement job at an electronics distributor due to the hard times. I am Happily retired now. For years we watched as customers went to China, Mexico and Europe. The only effort that my company made to compete was to hire a Chinese salesperson about 5 years ago. He only stayed for 6 months and was not replaced.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:05 PM   #7
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Aren't these the factories where people are committing suicide in droves because their lives suck so bad? You want to bring those jobs to the US?
If suicide is your concern, then perhaps we should:

Foxconn suicide rate is lower than in the US, says Apple's Steve Jobs - Telegraph

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They've had some suicides and attempted suicides. They have 400,000 people there. The rate is under what the US rate is, but it's still troubling."
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How long will Chinese workers put up with this? I wonder?
I imagine the Chinese are about like everyone else. They won't put up with it one second after a better alternative becomes available.

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Old 01-23-2012, 08:43 PM   #8
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Interesting article... I was more concerned about the fate of Mr. Saragoza, a former American engineer with Apple who, after loss of his job, is now working for $10/hr in a temp job back with his former employer.

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Before Mr. Obama and Mr. Jobs said goodbye, the Apple executive pulled an iPhone from his pocket to show off a new application — a driving game — with incredibly detailed graphics. The device reflected the soft glow of the room’s lights. The other executives, whose combined worth exceeded $69 billion, jostled for position to glance over his shoulder. The game, everyone agreed, was wonderful.
I do not own a single Apple product, and not the least interested in games, but I guess these have a wide universal appeal. The sad thing is while many people find using or playing with these gadgets fun, not too many Americans want to sit down at a tedious factory job to build them. And the richly paid and more rewarding jobs of designing them are few, and only go to the most talented. So, what's there for the masses to do? What is the solution?
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:56 PM   #9
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... The sad thing is while many people find using or playing with these gadgets fun, not too many Americans want to sit down at a tedious factory job to build them. And the richly paid and more rewarding jobs of designing them are few, and only go to the most talented. So, what's there for the masses to do? What is the solution?
Why should we expect a 'solution'? And, I think that is more interesting if you consider who is asking it.

The person working in that factory to make toys for people who have time to play with toys and still feed their family to obesity and travel and have multiple TVs, would probably define any 'solution' quite differently.

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Old 01-23-2012, 09:39 PM   #10
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So, what's there for the masses to do? What is the solution?
Welfare, and/or selling drugs and women. Then there is always panhandling. Or the guy who stands on the corner dressed like the Statue of Liberty, advertising Liberty Tax Preparation Service. Many opportunities , for the right individuals. However, we ERs will be screwed if we ever mess up.

Ha
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:43 PM   #11
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This is what stood out to me........

"The Chinese government had agreed to underwrite costs for numerous industries, and those subsidies had trickled down to the glass-cutting factory."
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:47 PM   #12
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There seems to be an abundance of cornfields(read ethanol) and windmills around here when I drive into the countryside.

heh heh heh - I am sure there are other solutions I'm not aware of.

Psst Wellesley lest I forget.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:30 AM   #13
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"A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day"

And exactly why should be want to to copy this type of approach to the working classes? How long will Chinese workers put up with this? I wonder?
I suspect that the workers are young - say, 20's or 30's. I think things will change as the population ages. I don't have it me to be awakened from a sound sleep to work for a 12 hour shift. It just isn't sustainable.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:43 AM   #14
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I suspect that the workers are young - say, 20's or 30's. I think things will change as the population ages. I don't have it me to be awakened from a sound sleep to work for a 12 hour shift. It just isn't sustainable.
Further down, the company denies those claims. No, I don't necessarily believe the company, but it does come down to 'he-said-she-said'.

Personally, I'm fine with whatever wages the two parties agree to if there is no coercion. That is a transparent number, and the workers/company can take it or leave it. Consenting adults and all.

Working conditions, safety, environmental factors and other somewhat intangibles are trickier. Personally, I feel there should be some basic standards for all these, and an enforcement mechanism, and I will pay whatever price comes with that (or skip the purchase). Basic compliance most likely won't even cost much at all. It might even 'pay' in the long run. Small price to pay, IMO.


Edit/add: Yes, it isn't sustainable, but it wasn't even brought up that it is routine - wasn't this a kind of one-time thing to get the glass iPhones out?

And I've been awakened from a sound sleep to work a 12 hour shift (or longer) many times. I supported 24/7 production lines. It's what you do - or you find an alternative. Can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen ( I did, in 2003! )

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Old 01-24-2012, 10:45 AM   #15
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IMO it's not so bad that certain types of jobs leave and others replace them. This "creative destruction" has been going on for over a century -- jobs go away but are replaced by new and often better jobs. Horse-drawn carriage makers lose their jobs as their industry declines -- and then went to work for Henry Ford. Folks who lost jobs in a 1970s manufacturing plant may have worked building computers in the 1980s (when those jobs were still here).

No, the problem with today's "creative destruction" are twofold:

First, today's jobs are highly specialized. Someone who loses their job in a declining (or offshored) industry can't easily get into a new field because of the educational and technical training boundaries. This is more true today than ever given that almost no American businesses are willing to provide "on the job training" any more -- they expect you are fully skilled from day one. (This is why business complains that they can't *find* qualified people to fill positions. This is not a new problem, only their absolute refusal to train promising individuals is.)

Secondly, in the digital age, labor demands don't scale with consumer demand. If demand for manufactured goods doubles, you'll have to pretty much double the workforce building it. That isn't true with a sequence of zeroes and ones; if you double the demand for a piece of software, you don't have to double the number of people working on the software. (You may hire a little in sales and support, but you don't need more programmers just because you sell more copies.) Thus you can get "economic growth" without creating new jobs.

Taken together, today's "creative destruction" just doesn't work for the average American laborer the way it used to.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:07 PM   #16
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I think that even if the work came back, it wouldn't generate a whole lot of jobs.

These Chinese "factories" aren't like an American factory would be. When labor is 70 cents/hour, when you want to assemble something, you just build a huge warehouse to hold the people that you have put everything together by hand.

If you were going to assemble these things in America, you would build automated machines that did most of the work. You'd hire some engineers and technicians, but not many line workers.

Chinese workers are cheaper than machines, but machines are cheaper than American workers.

Our employment problems aren't so much from a lack of American manufactoring. We still produce a massive (and generally growing) amount of stuff in this country.

We just need fewer and fewer low-skilled workers to do it every year.

The future of America appears to include lots of good jobs for high-skilled workers, lots of crappy service jobs for low-skilled workers, and not much in between.


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Like Jobs said, this work is never coming back.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:23 PM   #17
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The future of America appears to include lots of good jobs for high-skilled workers, lots of crappy service jobs for low-skilled workers, and not much in between.
And I think the long-term prosperity and sustainability of the American middle class -- and maybe even the stability of our political and economic systems -- will depend on how we address this over the next decade or two.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:30 PM   #18
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I think the middle class in America is going to be endangered until the added prosperity in the rest of the world translates into much higher wages. I suspect things will look a lot better in 50-100 years .

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And I think the long-term prosperity and sustainability of the American middle class -- and maybe even the stability of our political and economic systems -- will depend on how we address this over the next decade or two.
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:01 PM   #19
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And I think the long-term prosperity and sustainability of the American middle class -- and maybe even the stability of our political and economic systems -- will depend on how we address this over the next decade or two.
As individuals, most on this board have elected to put their cash to work in investments so their income can stay stable or maybe even rise over time as their work income decreases. This same technique could offer quite a buffer for America as a whole: our own decreasing wages from labor (due to expected lower hourly pay rates resulting from international competition) could be offset by investment income derived from the same companies doing the hiring overseas.

But, it can't happen as long as Americans continue to spend almost everything they earn. Those who choose not to put their resources to work must continue to work for resources.
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:29 PM   #20
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Low wages will definately decrease the upward mobility of people starting out without capital though.

It's slow going to build up investment income when you make $10/hr.

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As individuals, most on this board have elected to put their cash to work in investments so their income can stay stable or maybe even rise over time as their work income decreases. This same technique could offer quite a buffer for America as a whole: our own decreasing wages from labor (due to expected lower hourly pay rates resulting from international competition) could be offset by investment income derived from the same companies doing the hiring overseas.

But, it can't happen as long as Americans continue to spend almost everything they earn. Those who choose not to put their resources to work must continue to work for resources.
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