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Old 2013-01-02, 17:35   Link #3581
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant View Post
Planet-wide? Yes. Nation-wide? Only if the industry stays local. The "higher wages" you speak of currently occur in China. The owners of the industries might be American, but most of their employees aren't. Without serious incentives, any desire to improve the industry practice would involve transfering profits to overseas ventures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Yes, but right now it means higher wages for Chinese workers. Who are more numerous, so maybe in the grand scheme of things it is, indeed, better. But that's not the same as saying it's great for everybody. Especially in the short term, and nobody here will be alive to see the long term anyway.
That is an incorrect way to view things. For one, within 10 years it's entirely likely that China will have lost what wage advantage it currently has. It is not a long term prospect.

Secondly, Industrial production today is not the same as the industrial production of your grandpa. That type of industry, driven by unskilled, cheaply payed workers who do repetitive and monotonous tasks is gone. It was destroyed by the Japanese in the 70s and 80s. Industry today is built on fewer skilled workers, not a mass of unskilled drones. Many people want to cling onto that idea, but it is a dead one. If you want to go back to those days, then prepare to go back to cheap, unreliable and flimsy products.

The primary factor in an industries success is not how low it's wages are, it's how productive it's workers are. 5 skilled skilled Japanese or Americans will always beat a legion of uneducated Chinese farm boys.

If Chinese industry is to beat American industry in the next 20 years, it will not be because of it's cheap labor. It will be because Chinese companies were willing to embrace the innovations that western companies weren't.

People blamed Japan's success on low wages too, they were wrong, Japan did not become an industrial behemoth based on cheap disposable factory labor. It became a behemoth because it was better then everyone else, and everyone else only responded by trying to block Japanese products and factories from being built.

If the basis of China's success is only it's wages and warped currency, then we're quite fortunate. Chinese industrial growth will inevitably collapse in that case.

But if China is genuinely better then us (and it's entirely possible that they are), then building a wall and plugging our ears will achieve nothing. They'll just keep getting better and better, and we'll just stagnate.

The reason American(and also European) industry took such a dive in the last 30 years is because they took the easy way out and still tried to compete with the rest of the world based on low wages, rather then focusing on improving worker productivity. And one of the best ways to improve productivity is to expose industries to the full force of the world market.

If we look at some of the best manufacturers in the world (think Toyota), they have not closed down their plants at home, because their workers cannot be easily replaced by cheap foreign drones.

I agree that Outsourcing is something that should be discouraged, but for me it's a question of labour laws, not tariffs.
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Old 2013-01-02, 17:59   Link #3582
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
That is an incorrect way to view things. For one, within 10 years it's entirely likely that China will have lost what wage advantage it currently has. It is not a long term prospect.
They won't be (they already aren't) the cheapest in the world, but they'll still be cheaper than Western workers.

And even if that wasn't the case... That'd mean higher wages for some other third world countries. It still wouldn't bring the jobs back to the West.

Quote:
Secondly, Industrial production today is not the same as the industrial production of your grandpa. That type of industry, driven by unskilled, cheaply payed workers who do repetitive and monotonous tasks is gone. It was destroyed by the Japanese in the 70s and 80s. Industry today is built on fewer skilled workers, not a mass of unskilled drones. Many people want to cling onto that idea, but it is a dead one. If you want to go back to those days, then prepare to go back to cheap, unreliable and flimsy products.

The primary factor in an industries success is not how low it's wages are, it's how productive it's workers are. 5 skilled skilled Japanese or Americans will always beat a legion of uneducated Chinese farm boys.
Two points:
- they aren't beating them now.
- what "uneducated Chinese farm boys"? Why are you talking like that's all China has to offer? What they have is a vast array of variously trained workers who, for equal training, are much cheaper than their Western counterparts. They can make quality (though maybe not top quality), if the money's right. They can also make crap, if that's all the retailers in the west are willing to pay for. Labeling is... negotiable.

Quote:
If Chinese industry is to beat American industry in the next 20 years, it will not be because of it's cheap labor. It will be because Chinese companies were willing to embrace the innovations that western companies weren't.

People blamed Japan's success on low wages too, they were wrong, Japan did not become an industrial behemoth based on cheap disposable factory labor. It became a behemoth because it was better then everyone else, and everyone else only responded by trying to block Japanese products and factories from being built.

If the basis of China's success is only it's wages and warped currency, then we're quite fortunate. Chinese industrial growth will inevitably collapse in that case.

But if China is genuinely better then us (and it's entirely possible that they are), then building a wall and plugging our ears will achieve nothing. They'll just keep getting better and better, and we'll just stagnate.
It's not just about wages. Our social model is expensive. So are various environmental laws.

It doesn't matter, though. The point is, you're right: the Chinese are better than we are at getting the goods out for cheap. That's actually an argument for protectionism: if you can't win, don't play. So until and unless someone comes up with a way to turn superior knowledge of American (or in the case of my country, French) history into a decisive industrial advantage, protectionism seems the way to go.

Quote:
The reason American(and also European) industry took such a dive in the last 30 years is because they took the easy way out and still tried to compete with the rest of the world based on low wages, rather then focusing on improving worker productivity. And one of the best ways to improve productivity is to expose industries to the full force of the world market.

If we look at some of the best manufacturers in the world (think Toyota), they have not closed down their plants at home, because their workers cannot be easily replaced by cheap foreign drones.
That's fine when you want quality. Maybe. But for a lot of things, quality's just a luxury.
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Old 2013-01-02, 19:07   Link #3583
GDB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
That is an incorrect way to view things. For one, within 10 years it's entirely likely that China will have lost what wage advantage it currently has. It is not a long term prospect.
10 years is pretty long term.
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Old 2013-01-02, 19:40   Link #3584
DonQuigleone
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[QUOTE=Anh_Minh;4497970]They won't be (they already aren't) the cheapest in the world, but they'll still be cheaper than Western workers.

And even if that wasn't the case... That'd mean higher wages for some other third world countries. It still wouldn't bring the jobs back to the West.
[quote] One thing to bear in mind is that economics is not a zero sum game. One region of the world doing well does not mean that another region will be harmed.

And as I said, wage costs are only a small part of the story.
Quote:
Two points:
- they aren't beating them now.
- what "uneducated Chinese farm boys"? Why are you talking like that's all China has to offer? What they have is a vast array of variously trained workers who, for equal training, are much cheaper than their Western counterparts. They can make quality (though maybe not top quality), if the money's right. They can also make crap, if that's all the retailers in the west are willing to pay for. Labeling is... negotiable.
1. They could be, and many of our industries are. Most of them are not consumer goods though, but much more valuable and more complex things (like power generators, trains, cars, buses, machine tools, satellites...)
Quote:
It's not just about wages. Our social model is expensive. So are various environmental laws.
You know what's expensive? Chinese corruption. Also, if they don't enact our environmental laws soon the Chinese will be finding their workers spending a 1/4 of the year at home in bed with lung disease.

As for our welfare and social services, we all know it could be made more efficient. We often get too little for what we spend, as money is siphoned off into inefficient services and private interests.
Quote:
It doesn't matter, though. The point is, you're right: the Chinese are better than we are at getting the goods out for cheap. That's actually an argument for protectionism: if you can't win, don't play. So until and unless someone comes up with a way to turn superior knowledge of American (or in the case of my country, French) history into a decisive industrial advantage, protectionism seems the way to go.
If you want that, then prepare to be poorer, as the only goods you're able to buy are shoddy domestic products who have no desire whatsoever to improve what they provide to you, the consumer. All the while the rest of the world rushes ahead, and Europe(or America) becomes a "has been" continent.

Quote:
That's fine when you want quality. Maybe. But for a lot of things, quality's just a luxury.
It is incorrect to equate quality with cost. Often some of the cheapest goods are also the highest quality, in that they are extremely reliable. With so called "luxury" products, what you're really buying is an inefficient "hand crafted" production process, which outside the fuzzy world of romance is no better then a normal "mid range" product (I'll admit that the cheapest of the cheap is often quite unreliable). For example, I have a "mid-range" set of boots I bought for $100 that I have worn constantly for 4 years, and they're still in fantastic shape(and ultimately probably better value then the 40$ pair that only lasts a year). I doubt a $2000 pair of hand made boots would be at all better.

Equating "quality" with cost is a mistake you make when thinking in terms of hand made production or old style mass production. In both quality is indeed expensive, as the quality of the product is proportional to the amount of time spent repairing defects after it has been produced. Modern manufacturing focuses on not manufacturing any defective products in the first place, and so "quality" comes, basically, for free(as little time is spent in repairing defects).
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Old 2013-01-03, 02:00   Link #3585
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
One thing to bear in mind is that economics is not a zero sum game. One region of the world doing well does not mean that another region will be harmed.
Yes. But it doesn't mean one can just throw jobs at China and expect unemployment to decrease in the west. Not without rather more hustling than what we've seen from our politicians.

Quote:
And as I said, wage costs are only a small part of the story.

1. They could be, and many of our industries are. Most of them are not consumer goods though, but much more valuable and more complex things (like power generators, trains, cars, buses, machine tools, satellites...)
Which they're also learning to make.

Quote:
It is incorrect to equate quality with cost. Often some of the cheapest goods are also the highest quality, in that they are extremely reliable. With so called "luxury" products, what you're really buying is an inefficient "hand crafted" production process, which outside the fuzzy world of romance is no better then a normal "mid range" product (I'll admit that the cheapest of the cheap is often quite unreliable). For example, I have a "mid-range" set of boots I bought for $100 that I have worn constantly for 4 years, and they're still in fantastic shape(and ultimately probably better value then the 40$ pair that only lasts a year). I doubt a $2000 pair of hand made boots would be at all better.
The problem is, the poor (which are such a big part of the market) will rather spend $40 than $100. To them, those additional $60 are a luxury.

Also, where were made your $100 boots? Because, while I've never paid attention to footwear, I've got plenty of mid-range clothing. All made in the far east.
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Old 2013-01-03, 02:22   Link #3586
SaintessHeart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Also, where were your $100 boots made? Because, while I've never paid attention to footwear, I've got plenty of mid-range clothing. All made in the far east.
Fixed sentence construction. [/grammarnazi]

While $60 is alot to compare, I would rather take a $27 safety boot with steel-toe inserts than a $15 one with hard leather head. At least I don't have to spend $3000 for a lawyer to fight my company or my insurer for $10,000 per toe.

However, you do have a point. The poor will make do with "whatever works"; which is sometimes a risk to their work safety and health.
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Old 2013-01-03, 07:56   Link #3587
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Yes. But it doesn't mean one can just throw jobs at China and expect unemployment to decrease in the west. Not without rather more hustling than what we've seen from our politicians.
Great recession aside, the unemployment in the west is not that different from other times in our history. For instance, in 1982, the unemployment in the USA was 9.7%, whereas in 2010 it was ~9.6. In 1982, there was no Chinese to suck jobs away. In fact, China has grown it's manufacturing base while the US has maintained similar employment levels. People found work in other sectors.

What really caused the collapse in American industrial employment was because they moved to much more efficient manufacturing methods. Because the market was already "saturated" with goods, consumers wouldn't buy more, so ultimately companies had to cut their excess industrial capacity (IE workers ). America employed less people in manufacturing, but still probably makes more then at any previous time in history.

All that said, American manufacturing employment is now expanding again, after 30 years of shrinking.

Quote:
Which they're also learning to make.
If we continue to work hard, we'll always be two steps ahead. And anyway, as they learn to make those things, the demand for those things will also increase. Just because they manufacture more, doesn't mean that we'll make less. It's entirely likely that they'll make a lot more, and we a little more.
Quote:
The problem is, the poor (which are such a big part of the market) will rather spend $40 than $100. To them, those additional $60 are a luxury.
It's true, but it's inefficient consumption on their part. I think it's something of a matter on those consumers educating themselves though. Most people figure out how to find long lasting durable goods, and certain brands tend to get good reputations.
Quote:
Also, where were made your $100 boots? Because, while I've never paid attention to footwear, I've got plenty of mid-range clothing. All made in the far east.
Made in China, alas. they're made(and presumably designed) by a dutch company though.

Something to note though, just because it's "Made in China", doesn't tell the whole story. Where was the leather cured? where were their machine tools made? It's only the final step that counts in terms of whether it has a "Made in X" mark, whereas in reality nothing is ever purely made in one country.
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Old 2013-01-21, 10:32   Link #3588
james0246
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Watching the Inauguration with my Grandmother. Currently talking about how pretty DC was back in 1947...
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Old 2013-01-21, 10:38   Link #3589
SaintessHeart
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Originally Posted by james0246 View Post
Watching the Inauguration with my Grandmother. Currently talking about how pretty DC was back in 1947...
How old is your grandmother. Centenarian?
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When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
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Old 2013-01-21, 10:46   Link #3590
GDB
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Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
How old is your grandmother. Centenarian?
She'd only really have to be 70 to remember things from back then. Maybe 80 to have a full view of it.
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Old 2013-01-21, 10:57   Link #3591
SaintessHeart
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Originally Posted by GDB View Post
She'd only really have to be 70 to remember things from back then. Maybe 80 to have a full view of it.
I thought James was one of the half-cens in this forum (Vexx and Seiji).
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When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
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Old 2013-01-21, 12:35   Link #3592
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Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
I thought James was one of the half-cens in this forum (Vexx and Seiji).
LOL, I'm approaching the Hill, but I am not over it yet (My grandmother is mid-80s, though).

Good Inauguration. Decent speech, a good benediction, and fairly soaring and encompassing poem.
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Old 2013-01-21, 23:24   Link #3593
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http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2...auguration.php

GOP really doesn't waste any time does it. Will be interesting if the governor denies it though.
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Old 2013-01-22, 01:41   Link #3594
Dr. Casey
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My aunt became a grandmother at 30, a great-grandmother in her late 40s, and a great-great grandmother in her early 60s :p I wonder when she's going to reach the great-great-great title.
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Old 2013-01-22, 03:23   Link #3595
SaintessHeart
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My aunt became a grandmother at 30, a great-grandmother in her late 40s, and a great-great grandmother in her early 60s I wonder when she's going to reach the great-great-great title.
If US goes the way of those religious zealots, this will be a norm.

Loli marriage FTW - *gets bludgeoned to death with a paddle*
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When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
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Old 2013-01-22, 10:00   Link #3596
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I'm not going to lock this thread, but please consider it to be unofficially closed. A new Presidency or Congressional thread may be created sometime soon...
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Old 2013-01-22, 18:59   Link #3597
Kyuu
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I'm not going to lock this thread, but please consider it to be unofficially closed. A new Presidency or Congressional thread may be created sometime soon...
A new election cycle. It already started -- as it is the nature of the system. Or, just change the title. General US Elections thread, or something like that.

But, aside from the Presidency... don't forget the other parts of government:

Spoiler:


Posted that - because it's true. There does exist a faction within this country, who look to take down the Federal government, in favor of increased state-by-state power. That's the legacy of the Confederacy for you.
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Old 2013-01-23, 14:10   Link #3598
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Not that the Teabaggers are worth talking about, but there's nothing wrong with promoting States' rights.

As a side note, I just realized I'm still a registered Democrat when I was sure I changed it on my last DMV form. Fuck that. Changed it right away online.

Though I guess I might have stayed Democrat to take advantage of the way primaries work since I didn't know any better Until I realized your vote for president doesn't count in California anyways. Though at the very least the Democratic primary was the most +EV way of having your vote matter here but that's no longer the case anyways thanks to open primaries being activated... one of the more sane things my state has done.
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Old 2013-02-12, 21:03   Link #3599
Irenicus
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I'm not going to lock this thread, but please consider it to be unofficially closed. A new Presidency or Congressional thread may be created sometime soon...
I made a judgment and raised it from the dead for an epilogue, because, well...

The State of the Union Address is beginning.

I wonder how many other Americans are actually glued to the *other* major event on the other coast, as the drama heats up.
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Old 2013-02-12, 21:10   Link #3600
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I made a judgment and raised it from the dead for an epilogue, because, well...

The State of the Union Address is beginning.

I wonder how many other Americans are actually glued to the *other* major event on the other coast, as the drama heats up.
i am surfing the web
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