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American manufacturing decline-how about an English perspective?

John in CA

Hot Rolled
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Location
Bakersfield, CA
With all the posts here regarding the apparent imminent demise of American manufacturing,
I can't help but wonder what the Englishmen on this board think of all of it. I mean, theirs is a society that has gone from being the predominant industrial power in the world to, well, not the predominant industrial power in the world. So if we are indeed on the road that the doomsayers say we're on (and if we can, let's suspend the debate and say for the sake of discussion that we are), the English may have a lot to teach us about how we might reverse our course, or what to expect if we don't.
For example, of particular concern to many posters here, understandably, is what the future holds as far as job availability and quality of life for machinists. To read some posts about how dire the situation is, one might easily conclude that if things are that bad here inthe industrial powerhouse that is America, things must be really bad across the pond. But is that actually the case? I read very informative posts here from English machinists on a regular basis, and these guys clearly know their stuff. How is the job market for you guys in Great Britain? What kind of pay can you command, and are you valued for your work or treated like a cog in the wheel?
How would you describe the overall state of the machined parts industry in your country?
Are your companies outsourcing jobs at the same rate that ours are, and if not, what steps are they taking to compete with the Chinese? Are you facing anything like the skilled labor shortage that we're going through here?
I know that's alot of questions for one post, so feel free to chime in on any or all of them.
 
English manufacturing has gone

Hi John, I am 53 years old, apprentice trained in the 70's as a toolmaker, machinist, CNC machinist, Toolroom chargehand and for the last 6 months I have been driving a desk as a cost estimator. I regularlly feel sick to my stomach when I think of how the industry I love has gone down the toilet! All of our mass production is gone or is going eastwards as fast as the bean counters can shift it and I don't blame them as there is no way on earth we can compete on price with India, China, eastern europe etc and that is the only thing the great British public is interested in.
There are still some small machine shops left doing high precision low volume stuff but I fully expect a lot of them will go eventually. Engineering jobs in my opinion have always been undervalued as I'm sure you will agree but this situation obviously depresses wage rates to a great degree. My 16 year old lad was keen to be an engineer but I said 'no way' do any thing but that !! What a sad thing to say about a job I have been in all my life but that is the reality of living in 'Great Britain plc'. Perhaps someone can explain to me how we survive when we import manufactured goods by the billions but export hardly any. Sorry to be so depressing but I must admit I feel much better now I have spoken about my fears and frustrations to you guys and lets hope some more UK mechanical engineers will give their take on the situation
 
You haven't seen anything yet!

My post on the CNC Forum in reply

It's coming, and it will be in your lifetime.:( Really this was so predictable. Lure away manufacturing from the developed countries and learn their trade secrets. :skep: Get the gullible fools to invest in China and build factories. :D Then we will nationalize the companies and kick the fools out or charge them high labor rates for their product that they can no longer make.:willy_nilly:

Let the fools believe that us poor Chinese will make all their cheap crap for no money and lure them in real close. We will kill their economy with junk and starve them and drink their oil - the fools. :bawling: So trusting are they of a Communist government, let their sheeple run the streets looking for work.

Yep. the writing is on the wall. We are losing a whole generation plus to Globalization. Throwing away the skilled worker in the pursuit of burger flippers. The masses have become gullible, we will be reduced to riding scooters and mini trucks and building Rolls Royce's for them.:eek:

Well those that make now and can hang tough in rough times will do really well when the MBA's figure out that they have killed the manufacturing process for the sake of cheap. They should be hung from the yardarm with Gucci leather nooses. Or make them clean the sumps of the filthist CNC machines with their tongues.

Most managers of US corporations that have sold out should be put in prison or tried for treason, made to sweep the streets.

I hope it never happens, but if we continue the way we are going. China will win without firing a shot. World domination. Why do you think that they cast out their female born? They want the male warrior.

I don't know Boris, I think that if a company came to me that was a customer for a long time and went to China for the cheap and now its not so cheap and they want back in? Well bleed some money suckers, and its up front money and don't bother flying the Union Jack.

Okay, I'm off the soapbox now:soapbox:

Frank S. in Tennessee

Where we still make a Made in the USA product
 
Barbter had a reply below in its entirety.

"So Frank (and others), what is the answer???

We're a small 2 man band, and take it in turn to work night shift when we have to.
We have been fighting against taking anyone on, incase a couple of months down the road we'd have to let them go.

You guys are ahead of us in the UK, ref the globilisation and outsourcing sh1te. From what I can see, most of the big manufacturing companies have gone in USA (same as here) and it seems it's the rise of the garage shop? Am I correct?
My thoughts are small is beautifull. We have a small unit with as many machines crammed in as possible, to keep the overhead costs down. We don't believe in finance, and only spend what we can afford.
This keeps our hourly rate low, which keeps us busy, and if it all goes tits up tomorrow, we're not left with a HUGE debt.

Is the general consensus that work will return to our shores, and sooner rather than later?"

For some reason the topic was locked just as it was getting good.
 
Crystal Ball? or what is old is new again?

I think that outsourcing will bite us sooner than later. I would hazard a guess that there are more than just a few factories in China in ruins today.:eek: It is a tragedy in terms of human suffering and lives lost and no Country should have to go through that.

On the other hand it may point out our reliance on "others" to do our bidding when it comes to making commodities. How many companies are now in limbo because their product which they rely on China for widget parts, can not be made? Many companies have been lured by greed into single sourcing from China with no backup and now may be betting on their future and losing because they will not be able to produce.:willy_nilly:

How China handles the tragedy is being closely watched and it is surprising to see just how much of a closed society it still is.

There is no doubt that China wants to control more than their fair share, they have to - look at the total population of China. It is now easier to buy companies or even Nationalize them if they want and deem in their best interest - rather than learn the process and build their own.:crazy:

So what are the gullible sheeple to do?:bawling:

Pretty powerful question and depends on where you stand.

In America as well as in most other "developed" Countries we have been losing on keeping workers interested in trades and even getting workers interested in doing the work to begin with. The youth have gravitated towards the you owe me a job mentality. :toetap: We of the older generation are saddened by that. Large companies sponsoring apprenticeships have long gone (I was an indentured Apprentice Tool and Die Maker @ General Electric in 1971), but it may be time to bring them back.

The other trend is to outsource to the smaller garage shop where you have skilled trades or craftsmen (artisans in metal) that through the good graces of CNC technology can out produce four or five people on manual machines. This trend is growing because they the large company, can distribute the work load to many shops. The obligation to pay workers compensation is not there, nor is the requirement to pay any other "employee benefits". The garage shop thrives and grows.

The burden is displaced from the large company to the smaller outsource. This is exactly what they the large company liked about going to China. The small shops have failed to act on this major selling point. If the small shop is doing well and has reduced the burden of monetary obligation (reduced debit), they are more in the drivers seat than they realize. They are almost to the point of pick and choose on jobs. But the burden of continuing skilled labor is looming overhead. This is an area where the smallest of shops needs to be proactive. They need to participate with schools to seek out those interested in careers in the Metalworking Arts (we have to learn to make it sound glorious). Go to Career days and pimp yourselves at Job Fairs, whatever is necessary. But do take on an apprentice to learn. Have them enter into a binding contract with performance clauses. You are not hiring a body to do machine tending, you are investing in an employee. This employee needs to learn the art from machine maintenance to setup to machining. It may take years, but if you are to survive then you must do something. You can not rely on others to do it for you. Nothing says that you have to start them at $20/hr either, McDonalds sure doesn't, neither does Walmart.

What compensates more is a performance bonus, based solely on them achieving goals - earning their keep. As an apprentice we were employed by a large company and sent to a community college to get our degree in Science in Engineering. We were expected to learn our trade and maintain our schooling and of course attendance. Expectations!

Manufacturing will come back when companies find out that the cost of making in China is going up. Just as the Chinese become spoiled by the modern gizmos, their thirst for "things" will drive the market. They want to be like us, they want a cell phone in every pocket. They want, they want. As they drive up their cost of living the wages must rise, the Chinese wages must rise to keep their people from being unhappy. Then where will we be? Will we be ready to take back our manufacturing? Will the Chinese government try to crush the will of the masses once they taste the opulence of money bought trinkets? Will we take back our manufacturing and leave them without a source of money?:D

Time will tell. If it were I and I could, I would be pounding the pavement and calling local or even large companies and asking them about sourcing to my shop. I would be joining a Manufacturers Association or starting one. To survive you must network and let people know you have capacity, certainly not to give away but to let them know that when the day comes that their outsource to China is going TU because of wages... That you can still make their parts and do so at a quality level that they know.

From the old geezer who has seen it before.
God Bless America and God save the Queen

Frank S. in Tennessee:cheers:
 
Well those that make now and can hang tough in rough times will do really well when the MBA's figure out that they have killed the manufacturing process for the sake of cheap. They should be hung from the yardarm with Gucci leather nooses. Or make them clean the sumps of the filthist CNC machines with their tongues.

Most managers of US corporations that have sold out should be put in prison or tried for treason, made to sweep the streets.

First, it was our government's policy to shift the tax burden off of imports and put it on the backs of the American worker and producer.

U.S. TARIFF HISTORY 1821-2000

YEARS……………..AVERAGE EFFECTIVE TARIFF (% tax on all imports)
1821-1830………….46.6%
1831-1840………….24.9%
1841-1850………….24.0%
1851-186……………20.8%
1861-1870………….36.2%
1871-1880………….31.3%
1881-1890………….30.1%
1891-1900………….23.7%

1821-1900………….29.7%

1901-1910………….25.0%
1911-1920………….11.8%
1921-1930………….13.8%
1931-1940………….16.8%
1941-1950………….9.0%

1901-1950………….15.3%

1951-1960………….5.9%
1961-1970………….7.3%
1971-1980………….4.0%
1981-1990………….3.5%
1991-2000………….2.5%

The income tax was created in 1913, just in time to be around to fund WW I :

YEAR.....INOME TAX REVENUE.....TARIFF REVENUE
1916............$173,387,000.........$213,185,000
1917............$675,250,000.........$225,962,000


Up until 1916, the tariff was the largest single Federal revenue source.

1917 was the first time in U.S. history that the income tax surpassed the tariff and we've never looked back since then.

2005 IMPORTS AND TARIFF REVENUES

IMPORTS = $2,455.328 billion

TARIFFS = $23.379 billion of which $1.229 billion came from trust fund revenues.

$23.379 - $1.229 = $22.260 billion

$22.260 / $2,455.328 x 100% = 0.9% EFFECTIVE TAX RATE

U.S GDP = $12,487,1000,000,000

Imports as a percent of U.S. GDP are now a staggering 19.6% of GDP yet only pay 0.9% effective tax rate.

Percent of Federal revenues paid by tariffs in 1905 was 47.4%

In 2002, 49% of all Federal revenue came from the personal income tax.

The entire U.S. economy now suffers under a 30% effective tax rate.


THE POWER TO TAX IS THE POWER TO DESTROY

After WW II it was official U.S. policy to stop the Communist expansion by rebuilding the economies of the war torn nations by feeding off of our markets:

The American Tariff League Study of 1951:
total custom receipts / total imports x 100%

Chile.....................46.3%
Pakistan................36.9%
Haiti.....................35.2%
Egypt...................29.6%
Ceylon..................25.7%
United Kingdom......25.6%
El Salvador............25.0%
Burma...................24.5%
Guatemala.............22.3%
Mexico..................20.6%
Iran......................19.9%
Iraq......................18.4%
Thailand................18.2%
Venezuela..............17.8%
New Zealand...........17.5%
India.....................17.3%
Greece..................16.3%
Costa Rica.............15.2%
Columbia................13.8%
Ireland...................13.2%
Panama..................13.2%
Turkey....................12.3%
France....................10.6%
Indonesia.................10.3%
Portugal...................9.8%
Australia..................9.6%
Peru........................8.5%
Italy........................8.4%
Switzerland...............8.1%
Israel.......................7.6%
Brazil........................7.5%
Canada.....................7.5%
Honduras..................6.5%
Germany...................5.8%
South Africa..............5.6%
UNITED STATES........5.1%
Netherlands...............4.6%
Norway.....................4.2%
Sweden....................3.9%
Argentina..................3.2%
Belgium-Lux...............2.9%
Denmark...................1.7%
Japan.......................1.6%


Some typical examples of 1953 quotas will illustrate the effectiveness of quantitative restrictions which many foreign countries place against our exports. American machine tools are not welcomed in Europe. No European country except Switzerland will allow imports of machine tools if domestic manufactureres can supply equivalent machines. An American manufacturer of power tools, for example, had a sizeable prewar market in France. Today he is allowed to ship no more than $3,000 worth of tools each year, on which a 60% tariff is paid. ( the U.S. tariff on machine tools is 15%).
American manufacturers of heavy electrical power equipment find it virtually impossible to ship such equipment to Austria, Denmark, France, Western Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom. The governments will not buy it and they will not permit their private industries to buy it.
Great Britain allows only "token imports" of certain American consumer products which were imported without restrictions before World War II. For example, under that quota, one of the largest American manufacturers of electrical appliances shipped to England, in 1953, one dishwasher, 35 electric ranges, 25 deep freezers, 19 washers and dryers, and 194 refrigerators.
According to "The Economist (London) for December 11, 1954, the British quota for this year will allow only 650 American-built cars to be imported. Moreover, the importers will have to pay a 33 1/3% or 22% duty (depending on whether they were built in the United States or Canada). The same article reports that the new car registrations in Britain are running about 370,000 per year.

Lewis E. Lloyd
"Tariffs: The Case For Protection"
copyright 1955
pp. 140-141


Protection

The structure of protection measures which followed was comprehensive and imposing. Regarding the exclusion of foreign capital investment, MITI announced in June 1952, the "Basic Policy for the Introduction of Foreign Investment into Japan's Passenger Car Industry". This document supplemented Japan's fundamental policy governing foreign capital, the 1951 Foreign Investment Law, which requires government authorization of all investment by foreign capital. The intention was clearly to exclude foreign investment for production in important sectors in order to permit domestic producer's development. The automobile industry eminently qualified in the Japanese view. The 1952 administrative Basic Policy expanded with respect to autos: in the event of foreign investment authorization, no repatriation of earnings or capital will be guaranteed from investments in marketing facilities. Guarantee of repatriation for investment in production facilities will obtain only if it "contributes to the development of domestic industry".

MITI's intention in this policy was to further discourage import marketing investment in Japan while leaving the door open for selected joint ventures, to be approved on a case-by-case basis, of foreign producerswith superior auto parts technology. Admission of large American and European auto assemblers was out of the question, however.

Protection from imported products was accomplished with three instruments - quota, tariff, and commodity tax. Foreign exchange quotas for automobile imports had been in effect since the war's end in order to conserve Japan's dollar holdings. From the early 1950's, quotas were employed chiefly to protect domestic manufacturers' new passenger car business. Annual passenger car quotas, negotiated with producers but finally determined within MITI, rose from $613,000 to a total of $28 million in the 10 years prior to lifting of quantitative restrictions in 1965. Trucks, buses, and small motorcycles were liberalized in 1961. By 1963, foreign exchange allocation for motor vehicle imports rose to $23 million, and totalled $28 million for 1965.

Most auto parts were freed a year later. Automobile engines howeverremained under foreign exchange quota through the 1960's. The Japanese deterred onshore assembly of foreign cars rather comprehensively.

Japanese tariff rates on autos have been high and, in addition, geared in their relative structure to domestic producers' interests. Small passenger cars, the critical development area within the industry, retained relatively and absolutely high tariff rates. Trucks, where Japanese producers have been strongest, had the lowest rates generally.

A third instrument of import protection is the commodity tax rate structure. Commodity tax is levied on all passenger vehicles - domestic and foreign - sold in Japan in order to finance road construction. Large cars pay higher percentage rates. While the structure's basic purpose is to influence the size of domestically produced cars, the tax does function to protect domestic manufacturers. The higher rates on large cars penalize American imports. The rate structure is geared to wheel base and piston displacement, hence a Chevrolet Camaro pays a higher rate than a Mercedes Benz. Most U.S models fall into the largest of three size categories. In addition, the imports' tax base is landed value while the domestic tax base is ex-factory price.




Japan: The Government-Business Relationship
A Guide For The American Businessman
Eugene J. Kaplan
Director, Far East Division
Bureau of International Commerce
February 1972
pp. 111-113


No MBAs did this, your government promoted this to happen.



Steve
 
And it wouldn't bother me in the slightest to have tariffs or taxes put against imports to level the field. :bawling: From the general jest of your post it wouldn't bother you either.

The free ride is over. We are too much of door mat for the world, and I'm tired of them wiping their bovine dung on us as they walk on in. :nono:Trade should be tit for tat,:fight: but it seems that we like being push overs and crapped on. We are too scared of not selling our grain and other valuable commodities. I say store it or sell it to our Government or better yet, we will use it and reduce the cost of food in our own damn country.:D

Right now we are worried about selling beef to South Korea? Let me see - these are the malcontents who we have been protecting from the Commies for how many years and they don't want to trade or buy our Beef - Screw them and the Donkey they ride on. We can have cheaper steaks here - have you seen the beef prices?

I think that we should reduce the tax rate on American owned companies to promote production. Note I said American owned. So that applies to foreign owned Oil Companies, Utilities etc. In our National interest there should be restrictions on what companies can be purchased, with foreign interests owning no more than 49% and occupying no more than 49% of the Board with the Chairman to be US. So if foreigners want to invest we will gladly take their money but retain ownership and control. We can make it very unattractive for foreign interest to own anything. You certainly are not going to go and buy controlling interest in Hang Wong Power Company.:stirthepot:

Right now our largest beef and pork producers and packing houses are foreign owned. How can we trust anyone with what we eat and drink anymore. We export to have them do an Added Value operation and themm buy back the product whether its flour or whatever.

I have had it up to here. :hitsthefan: This year we are planting big and will put up a lot of food for the winter months. Any excess we will share through Angel Food Ministries or RIFA for those less blessed. Also looking at a 5.5 KW Windmill for power. We would earn .15/KWH and pay .08/KWH to buy it back - not a bad deal for being green.

Frank S. in Tennessee :codger:
 
And it wouldn't bother me in the slightest to have tariffs or taxes put against imports to level the field. :bawling: From the general jest of your post it wouldn't bother you either.

Wouldn't bother me either, but it sure would bother the Council on Foreign Relations who runs our government trade policy and foreign policy.

http://www.ustr.gov/Who_We_Are/Bios/Ambassador_Susan_C_Schwab.html

"Ambassador Susan C. Schwab was nominated to be United States Trade Representative by President George W. Bush on April 18, 2006, and was confirmed as USTR by the United States Senate on June 8, 2006. As USTR, Ambassador Schwab is a member of the President's Cabinet and serves as the President’s principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues.......Ambassador Schwab is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).


Now, there is treason incorporated.

Until you fix that, nothing will change.

"What is at stake is more than one small country, it is a big idea - a new world order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law."

President George Bush State of the Union Address 1991

Rule of law ?

Rule of the elite.


Steve
 
The free ride is over. We are too much of door mat for the world, and I'm tired of them wiping their bovine dung on us as they walk on in. :nono:Trade should be tit for tat,:fight: but it seems that we like being push overs and crapped on.

I have had it up to here.
Frank S. in Tennessee :codger:



Frank, I ain't gonna quote everything you've said here, several mighty long posts. Well said in all. Bravo, man! :cheers:
Excellent thoughts on apprenticeships, BTW (among other things)
 
We can't compete...........

I was just reading the May~2008 National Geographic. On page 66 there is a photo spread depicting "Mass Production"

It shows a throng of 2000 workers, all dressed in blue shirts, at shift change at a artificial Christmas tree factory in 2006. 2 years ago. The caption states that in the factorys' heyday- and it didn't exactly say when that was, it exported 1.6 million trees to the U.S. each year. I doubt it has changed too much.

These days, U.S. companies don't want to have any employees at all, let alone having 1000 people per shift to just make artificial christmas trees. How can we compete with that.

Somewhere on this forum (might have been in this column) I read someones post about a conversation where it was stated that every time a human hand touches a part, it costs them money. Evidently, not in China. That must've meant American hands only!

This issue of the Geographic is only about China. It is very eye opening. You should read it if you get the chance.
 
People vs. technology

China's advantage is that they have a mass of people to employ and so their labor (labour) rate will be lower as is their standard of living. But all that is changing and at a rate that far exceeds the change in any other developing country. They can afford to have four people sit in a press stamping out pots. They can afford to have 2000 people making Christmas Trees.:rolleyes5: Are we not smarter and can we not produce machines to automate the process, use robots to handle the trees into a package and tape it shut and ready for shipping.:skep:

Maybe we don't want to do that because the tax laws don't favor domestic production. Surely we must be smart enough.:D

I can understand the cost of an employee handling something, because there is an hourly cost and all the hidden costs (Medical, etc.). In our small production environment the more the machining center does, right down to burning time on chamfering an edge or running a deburring brush across the piece reduces the human time investment. If I can put a material blank on the machine and press the loud button and take a part off in 20 minutes that is ready for the Anodizers then I am happy. If I could afford a robot I would have one. I try to automate at every opportunity. In todays world you start to go negative just as soon as an employee does not add value to the product - so every move, every touch must add value - MUST add value!

It doesn't matter if its deburring or packaging it must add something that the customer perceives as value. It used to be that Made in the USA was a perceived added value. However as other countries develop and shake off their stigma of being second rate, we have diluted that added value.

We can still compete, we just have to work harder to innovate. To roll over and acquiesce is to be a defeatist and no body wants that. It is saying that I can't possibly do anything better that a bunch of Communist War Monger slaves working in a factory.:scratchchin: Other countries look at the cost of machinery versus cost of labor and right now it's in their favor. They can have a factory with no walls dividing the production floor just work stations and change the product in days, adapt on the fly. The machinery is the people :eek: and that concept is lost on us. Think about it they can make Cell phones in a factory on Monday and be making Vacuum cleaners on Friday. Parts are shipped in and assembled with screw guns by human robots. There is no huge investment, what? - some screw guns vs. soldering stations? Even their dormitories are setup to return the money back to the company, living conditions are poor at best. Quite often the workers have no money to send back to the parents.:wrong:

If we continue to let this run its course, we will need to learn to speak Chinese.:angry: If we become the squeaky wheel then we can do something. Complaining about it does nothing more than make us feel good about the fact that we vented to like minded individuals. :bawling: We need to complain to law makers, even local ones. We need local tax relief to help employ local workers. We need to push the agenda of fairness in trade instead of quietly complaining about it. We need to band together to become a louder united voice, we need an organization to visit law makers and lobby for change.

New World Order and CFR and other organizations will be meaningless in the face of total chaos and collapse when we can't pump oil and consumption bites us in the butt. The will of the people is a greater voice. Organizations only do what we LET them do, when there is no check and balance.

Hey what do I know?

The world according to Frank - coming to a bookstore near you.

Frank S. in Tennessee:codger:

"Just past dragging my knuckles and carrying a club, now I stand upright and carry a gun" - Frank S. - 2008
 
I've been enjoying listening to Mitty rant, but haven't had time to comment. However:

Think about it they can make Cell phones in a factory on Monday and be making Vacuum cleaners on Friday.
Just means that ultimately, they'll make cell phones that suck! :D

If we continue to let this run its course, we will need to learn to speak Chinese.:angry:
Not really. When it finally does run its FULL course, everyone of those 2000 employees will be demanding $22.50 an hour, plus bennies, and those artificial Chritmas trees will retail for $1,726.00 each at Mallwart.:D

All we need to do is wait them out, if we can survive that long. :(

China's bigger problem is the middle men. China's hourly wage rate vs. what I have to pay to get product assembled (still molded in the good 'ol US of A) means that someone is making a f**k of a lot of money in the middle. Meanwhile, China is still a nation of subsistence farmers, while the new breed of fat cat builds shining cities. Just about the time they kill they kill the goose that laid the golden egg, the rest of the country is going to wake up and say, "Where's Mine?" :mad5:

Then the s**t is really gonna hit the fan! :hitsthefan:

Dennis
 
They can afford to have four people sit in a press stamping out pots. They can afford to have 2000 people making Christmas Trees.
Are we not smarter and can we not produce machines to automate the process, use robots to handle the trees into a package and tape it shut and ready for shipping.

If I can put a material blank on the machine and press the loud button and take a part off in 20 minutes that is ready for the Anodizers then I am happy. If I could afford a robot I would have one. I try to automate at every opportunity. We can still compete, we just have to work harder to innovate.

This is not picking on Mitty- just an observation. I enjoy debating this kind of thing. Sorry for the rambling cause I think faster than I type!

What I read in that quote is "I need to have no paid employees, just me and a cnc machine and it's accompanying robot loader"- just what every other U.S. company is thinking.

If folks are to purchase your gizmo, they need to be able to afford it. They afford it with money earned at a job- maybe at your factory making gizmos. If you have machines making gizmos and no employees, there is going to be a problem. IF they don't have jobs, the government has to supply money somehow to keep the economy going- welfare, food stamps, or gwb's stimulus package. Somehow they have to keep the economy churning along.

Robots don't buy gizmos, people do. Some say that companies/corporations/rich business men aren't in place to provide people with jobs and support them, but on the other hand if it wasn't for people working at that factory there wouldn't be any gizmos for the businessman to sell to enable him to live the lifestyle he is accustomed to. It is a two way street. He thinks he does us a favor by giving us a job, we feel we do him a favor by coming in to work each day.

When he decides he doesn't want to pay wages and benefits to Americans and instead takes his plant offshore, he has effectively turned his back on his supporters.

What may be is we need population control. Too many people and not enough jobs here in the states. In China, they have the jobs and the population to do them. They can't get off of the farm and in to town quick enough. Just like the beginning of our industrial revolution. When automation starts to take over in China and they no longer need 4 men to feed blanks into the maw of that big punch press to stomp out pots, the proverbial crap will hit the fan there like it is doing here.

A good analogy would be like that scene in the movie "Schindlers' List" where he is negotiating with the German Officer trying to keep each and every Jew he can "employed" in the factory making kitchen pots, whether they are useful employees or not- he is doing whatever he can to keep them there and away from the concentration camps. That is what we are up against these days, although not those exact circumstances. We have a finite number of jobs and an infinite number of people. The jobs disappear and more people appear.

American manufacturing is to the point to where they don't need 1000 men per shift making christmas trees anymore. They have Hadji on the phone in India taking orders from U.S. customers, a bank account offshore somewhere taking in the money and avoiding taxes, and 1000 Chinese peasants making the trees for close to nothing in wages while living in what we could consider substandard living conditions.
 
Fixin the world, okay our small part of it.

Barbter - They couldn't handle me!:skep: That new super size container ship that does nothing but haul Hecho Chino crap over here would be sitting in port unused.:ack2: They would hate me in office the first day as I pressed into action a few Executive Orders implementing new Tariffs designed to spur the economy and give our manufacturing a kick in the ass. :fight: I would level the playing field and I bet that a few special interest groups would try to lynch me, but American workers would love me. :Ithankyou: A press for Insurance reform and revision of Tort Law. Clear the courts of frivolous law suits and the suits that brought them. It would be magical days of restoration of honor and dignity to the oval office.

JoeE. - I know that Barbter and others are waiting for this. We are a small manufacturer. A garage shop manufacturer that is growing in this environment, so I guess that we must be doing something right. Probably delivering value to our clients.:scratchchin:

I never said I wouldn't have employees,:nono: there are two of us right now. I just want to draw the careful distiction between a meaningful job employing a skilled individual and a job best left to robots because they can handle it and not complain about smoke breaks and not showing up on time and a plethora of excuses.

I am all for reform of the education process to instill work ethics and teach marketable skills - none of this no child left behind crap. Children need to learn and it is the quality of Educators that is lacking a bit. If a child is failing we need to find out the root cause and fix it, not just give them a pass. Lest you think that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about, my wife and I had to make the difficult decision to hold our Daughter back a year because she was struggling with comprehending her school studies. She needed time to mature and develop the study skills to advance her. Kids being pushed through the education mill regardless of capability will saddle them with frustration later in life. No child deserves that.

What our children need is to be taught the skills necessary to function in life and a rounded education. Most important in the last years of High School is course work to give them basic skills to survive in the work world (balancing a checkbook, cooking etc.) and job skills that are marketable. Not every kid will get sent to a finishing school or College. We need to bring back Industrial Arts to High schools. Not every kid will become a Bill Gates and we need to stop this lying to them. Real life has pit falls and chances and we need to prepare them. This crap of it's a rosy world out there is bull.

Now when it comes to employees, the next one will be a young lady named Amy, who happens to be a grad of a local College teaching shop skills. She happens to be a good welder and can probably TIG weld around most guys. When we get ready to bring out our next product, I will buy a 20" - 24" Lathe (Manual) X 40" - 60" and a Miller 350 TIG machine with cool runner and nice water cooled torch and probably get her a positioner so she can weld around a diameter using foot controls to advance the piece. She will have her choice of either hourly or by the piece payment. A independent contract worker since she has another job. As she works into our schedule maybe she will want to go full time. She is the kind of skilled worker I am looking for, work ethic, went back to school to learn a trade, etc. No robot there, just human worker.

She will fit right in with our Made in the USA mentality, Red, White and Blue - Rednecks, White T-shirts, Blue Collar workers making stuff and shipping it all over the World.

The World according to Frank - coming to a bookstore near you.

Frank S. in Tennessee :codger:
 
US Protectionism

So when you have your tarrifs in place, who is going to trade with you, if they can't sell stuff back? I wouldn't,, and if a country did that, immediate matching tarrifs would be the reply.
The US is protectionist, at least for those with $$ to purchase politicians. The US imposed tarrifs on sheepmeat imports. This was not popular in New Zealand or Australia, and was contrary to the trade treaties and WTO rules that the US supposedly follows. Some friends there, especially since IIRC both counties had troops in the US shooting war in Iraq and Afganistan at the time. Sheep farming is not big in the US, and these 2 countries were actually developing the market and the few US farmers were benefiting from it. Cynically, the move was to protect the US beef industry...
Same also applies to steel at the same time.
G
 
So when you have your tarrifs in place, who is going to trade with you, if they can't sell stuff back? I wouldn't,, and if a country did that, immediate matching tarrifs would be the reply.
The US is protectionist, at least for those with $$ to purchase politicians. The US imposed tarrifs on sheepmeat imports. This was not popular in New Zealand or Australia, and was contrary to the trade treaties and WTO rules that the US supposedly follows. Some friends there, especially since IIRC both counties had troops in the US shooting war in Iraq and Afganistan at the time. Sheep farming is not big in the US, and these 2 countries were actually developing the market and the few US farmers were benefiting from it. Cynically, the move was to protect the US beef industry...
Same also applies to steel at the same time.
G

Well Japan is quite Nationalist protectionist and they have no trouble selling their stuff.
 
Well Japan is quite Nationalist protectionist and they have no trouble selling their stuff.

I think much of that is because of their quality, which has largely been abandoned here.

We (generally speaking) are now in the unfortunate position of trying to catch up with Japanese quality. We were so slow to react to their increased quality that we lost the marketing advantage that we once enjoyed.
 
There's really a lot more than the quality issue there, at least with cars.

They were quite savvy on marketing and design as well. They knew their niche
and filled it quite well. As long as the car market was booming, there was room
for the high-quality japanese car that was small, and they left the big SUV market
to the US manufacturers.

I guess you could call that "quality of marketing" or "quality of application" or
something. They percieved that overall, the small car niche was a higher quality
market than the big car one.

The american manufactuers were going to make profits as long as they could, as long
as the big car market boomed. It was a short-sighted approach but it kept them going
for a long time.

I wouldn't want to be a Hummer salesman right now.

Jim
 








 
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