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December 04, 2005

For F15C

I hope Ace will indulge me here, this post is meant to be a continuation of a short conversation with commenter F15C in an old thread.

Here is a link to our little back-and-forth (scroll down a few) and here are the last inquiries from F15C, which I am not qualified to answer:

The loss of 4000 well paying jobs plus in our city of 90,000 is significant - and that is from HP alone. NEC has laid off unspecified numbers, and even Intel which hires/fires in spurts is not making up the differnence and neither is small business. Think too of all the peripheral businesses that serviced those employees and survived on their spending - I'm sure they will have requisite negative impacts to their businesses and people as well.

I may be wrong, but I don't think wages are keeping up with inflation in America. Though inflation is fairly low, the trend is bad.

It seems that we have 'x' number of Wal-marts being built per day, but less than zero high technology business expansions being built. Skewed though it may be, it is some kind of indication of what is going on.

My point is that if we are seeing the same thing happening to high-technology R&D functions that happened to manufacturing functions what does that portend for America's leadership in the world economy?

If we give away our leadership (I'm talking pragmatic leadership - leadership that primarily benefits Americans as wage/salary earners, consumers, and investors) in high technology, then what are we going to lead? We are - no question - offshoring our R&D and engineering capabilities to India and China. I fully expect those countries to lead the world (as do they) within ten years to the detriment of the US.

I suggest reading a bit on Ricardo's Iron Law of Wages.

I freely admit that I am not an expert in the topic of offshoring jobs in the technical fields; but I don't really see it as much different than getting a lot of our clothing cheaper from overseas than we can fabricate it ourselves.

We had to export a lot of technical know-how and infrastructure during that switch, too. As a result, clothing is much, much, cheaper and more plentiful now than it ever has been. We don't fret about being able to afford new shoes for the kids. When I was a kid, my mother had to save for that. People today pay cash out of pocket and throw good clothing away when it has a teensy spot on it or doesn't fit quite right anymore. That ought to tell you something.

It would seem to me that high-tech will go the same way for quite some time.
But not being well-versed in the ins and outs of R&D, engineering, etc., it may well be a whole different ballgame.

Can anyone address F15C's concerns?


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posted by LauraW. at 09:20 PM

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