Comments on: China, technology and the U.S. middle class Sun, 28 Jul 2013 14:34:09 +0000 hourly 1 By: Dj301 Mon, 04 Mar 2013 03:12:42 +0000 Please forgive any typo’s, I am using modern technology in the form of a tablet which auto corrects when I least want it to. Interestingly, I think this is a perfect example of the small point I want to make here. Yes we have developed technology to replace some parts of society, and make things more efficient, however, my tablet still auto corrects and requires, me the one actually doing the typing to make sure the sentence is correct.

I have been an engineer for almost 30 years now. I remember the days of my first engineering job, when drawings and other engineering specifications were all done on paper. It was only about two years into my first engineering job that the company, started to look at and use electronic drawings and documentation.

Today, everything is being completed using electronic drawings, and specifications. there are databases of information on how to build just about anything. That being the case, one might come to believe that all you need to do is hit the design button and out comes the product you desire.

We seem to forget that is not possible, just as it is not possible for me to hit the write article button and out pops a grammatically correct intelligent response or comment to an article.

Right now I work in China, teaching young Chinese engineers how to put the pieces together and think critically. Why am I in China doing this? Because, my middle class job is disappearing in America. Corporations may have their headquarters in America, but just as they have moved their manufacturing jobs overseas to save money, they are moving their engineering functions.

I am in a tough spot, I either stay in America, earning less and less, or I come to China and make a decent wage. Of course that will only last until I do my job well enough that they no longer need me. Then what will happen?

The Chinese will have learned how to put the pieces together without me. America will now longer be the generator of new ideas and new technology once the engineering funtions are offshored as well. If you hollow out the middle too much, there is nothing left to support the edges and it will all collapse. You can’t print yourself a new economy made out of hollow hundred dollar bills. You don’t need to be an engineer to understand that concept.

We need to balance our economy and understand the value of the people that make things happen, not just those that cut to the bottom line. Finance is only as good as the people financed. Stop paying CEO’s millions of dollars to cut costs and offshore the very people that worked to generate those millions in the fist place.

Shareholder value, is not the only thing we as a country should value. Greed, arrogance, and the concetration of wealth, into the hands of a few will be our downfall. We must see and reward the value of all Americans.

By: IfAtFirst Wed, 27 Feb 2013 19:30:11 +0000 Feb 15, 2013
6:53 pm UTC said:

“and no one yet has a clear plan for reconciling them.”
I believe the Chinese do. Or far closer than anyone yet.

And their clear plan is to use “reverse tariffs” by currency rigging. If the United States had democracy instead of Revolving Door Government run by the Plutocracy we’d respond with our own form of tariffs and to hell with acting as the world’s principal source of deficit spending that runs down our own industries and ultimately our ability to defend ourselves from a Chinese Communist Super-Power!

By: Beobachter Wed, 20 Feb 2013 22:37:14 +0000 “However, the effect of trade on efficiency and economic progress is on balance positive.”


“The way to help the American middle class is not protectionism.”

They need jobs, don’t they? They have to produce stuff that others want to buy….but that is always produced cheaper elsewhere, devalue the dollar?

By: Cassiopian Wed, 20 Feb 2013 22:17:40 +0000 Unfortunately the majority of studies demonstrate the exact opposite, that information technology and computers have radically reduced employment. There are the same number of manufacturing workers in the U.S. now as in 1948 with over 600% the output. U.S. manufacturing jobs have further declined since the 2007 crash but production is still higher. It takes one third the number of auto workers to build the same volume of cars as 20 years ago. This is simple common sense and common data, factories today are highly automated and require many less workers.
As for trade, a recent OECD multi-country study demonstrates that the most successful economies are those which are open to trade and that trade enhances job opportunities over the long run. The more GM and Boeing export, the greater the job security of their employees back in the U.S. Workers at firms that export have higher wages and greater job security than those which do not.
And yes, China is an outlier, and creates problem with their currency manipulation and export subsidies but keep in mind that Chinese exports have little value added, only amounting to about $5 – $10 on a $150 Iphone and similar products, with the high valued added components made in Japan, S. Korean, and the U.S.
The bottom line is that the more trade, the better countries are off in general, although the low-skilled segments of Western work forces need extra government assistance as they are the ones whose jobs are disappearing in the global labor pool. But trying to hold on to those low skilled jobs is fruitless, unless the U.S. wants to subsidize them and uncompetitive industries.

By: Beobachter Tue, 19 Feb 2013 22:35:48 +0000 This is the game with the tampered dice (Marx, 1867)

“In a free and open market economy people (work) and money (capital) fight an unequal battle. When the economy grows, the demand for labor will also grow, employees should then be able to put down higher demands. These market workings are however interfered by the reserve army of unemployed (now… the emergeing markets). People that work and people that are unemployed keep each other in a strangle hold (now… world wide), the excessive work of the employed (see working hours Foxconn…and the rest…) on the one side increases the unemployed labor reserves, while at the opposite side the employed are forced by competition of the unempoyed to subjugate to the demands of “capital” (share holders)”

Just to state that we are facing a classical problem….

Communism as a matter of fact helped us (the West) to protect ourselves (because of the cold war) that “advantage” has now gone.

We need to find another solution …controll, i.e import duties.

I do not like communism, like I do not like extreme capitalism, read the laissez-faire supply side economy, which is endangering our democratic system far more than communism ever did…the latter funnily enough brought us together.

By: facebooksux Tue, 19 Feb 2013 18:02:56 +0000 How so convenient to complain about free trade when it does not serve our own interests and

promote and defend it when it does. . . During the 80s and 90s countless people in developing

countries also questioned the benefits of free trade only to be derided as protectionists and

ignorant of basic economics. When those same effects are felt home, it’s different, right? These

professors at MIT are not really discovering anything new here: free trade creates winners and

losers, just like technological progress does as well. We already knew this. However, the effect

of trade on efficiency and economic progress is on balance positive. The way to help the

American middle class is not protectionism.

By: Beobachter Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:42:43 +0000 I have seen this coming since the mid nineties (as a result of work experience in the field), since the coming of these sort of blogs I have been expressing my worries.

And now twenty years later it finally seems to have hit ground, regrettably about 15 years too late, but, better late then never.

The Big Mac Index is still 40% lower in China, as it was in 2006…are things really changeing for the better? (for all of us, working people)

Why should’nt we find a way to do something about this.

By: maskling Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:41:23 +0000 “What is striking, and frightening, is the extent to which, at least in the U.S.-China trade relationship, the knee-jerk, populist fears intellectuals tend to deride actually turned out to be true.”

well, if i may presume to speak for the rest of the filthy benighted rabble (i am a union member since 1959) we told you so back in the day and you wouldn’t listen. but welcome! welcome to the dark side! can i interest you in a union card?

By: rikfre Mon, 18 Feb 2013 18:33:15 +0000 How simply it truly is. My friend started as a sales rep. all the factories were located in the hub of Passaic,Clifton and Paterson NJ. In less than a decade, they were all in China or Mexico with computerized ordering directly to the stores! Merchandising was being done by huge organizations that pay nothing. Now, he’s making the same amount he made 30 years ago and it doesn’t go as far as it did then. The owners of the factories and stores cleaned up with the profits from lowering their cost. My friend can barely pay his bills. Amerika in the 21st century..terrific isn’t it.

By: chapapet Mon, 18 Feb 2013 15:56:47 +0000 we seem to be guessing based on theory, rhetoric, policy, trends, necessity and we lose sight of what…I have no idea…
technology can be deemed a culprit, cheap labor elsewhere another, greed not mentioned above another, imported labor subsudized by other governments, we could build a mighty tower with all the reasons, some very legitimate yet it may be hard to understand and not easy to solve our doubts with a world population that continues to surge where poverty is prevalent and may be not!
who ever you, we are know that population, technology, consumption are two-faced with reality stradling a difficult proposition of comfortable survival for all…

Thank you.