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How the US Lost Out On iPhone Work 1303

Posted by Soulskill
from the we're-high-maintenance dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year are manufactured overseas. 'It isn't just that workers are cheaper abroad,' write Charles Duhig and Keith Bradsher. 'Rather, Apple's executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have outpaced their American counterparts so much that "Made in the U.S.A." is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.' Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option and recount the time Apple redesigned the iPhone's screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company's dormitories, and then 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. 'The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,' says one Apple executive. 'There's no American plant that can match that.' Apple's success has benefited the U.S. economy by empowering entrepreneurs and creating jobs at companies like cellular providers and businesses shipping Apple products. But ultimately, Apple executives say curing unemployment is not Apple's job. 'We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.'"
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How the US Lost Out On iPhone Work

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  • So, to translate: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tsian (70839) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:23AM (#38780247) Homepage

    "l. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company's dormitories, and then 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"

    Of course having next to no labour laws or enforced practices, combined with a workforce housed on site results in amazing results when last minute changes (or ramp ups in production) need to happen.

    I'm sure there are many areas of expertise and scale where overseas factories outperform their American counterparts, but is this really the best example to use?

    • Re: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sethstorm (512897) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:30AM (#38780297) Homepage

      The only skill that the US doesn't have that these workers have is being overly pliant [merriam-webster.com]. Businesses hate freedom unless it is solely in the hands of business.

    • by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:32AM (#38780303)

      It's a great example, the majority of a population will always be doing relatively unskilled labour ... so this is what the majority has to compete with in a free trade global marketplace. They have simply stopped caring about the opinion of the 99.9%'s to the point where they don't even bother lying about it any more ... which is kind of scary.

    • by qualityassurancedept (2469696) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:43AM (#38780381) Journal
      I thought the same thing. Do we really want millions of americans living in factory dormitories making barely enough money to send a few dollars a month home to their family's village, where there is likely no running water and everyone subsists on a diet of rice, vegetables, and a few servings of protein a week? Seriously... if an american factory worker has to compete against that, then there is no point in even bothering.
      • by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @11:18AM (#38781197)

        Listen to the what the Republican voters are cheering. Gingrich wants adults janitors from school greatly reduced and replaced by poor kids (literally poor kids because they need the on-job education more), and made to clean their schools. During the school day. More well off kids will keep their normal schedules.

        Romney wants to drop taxes for companies that can afford sending jobs overseas to 0%. Companies that can't send jobs to China will be taxed at 15%.

        Republican state governments have been pushing for public job related union killing bills, and declaring emergency take over of poor towns and cities (including Detroit). Emergency take over meaning they give the power of complete rule to an appointed person. Any voted position is now a figurehead position.

        NDAA, SOPA? We are slowly going to become China at this rate.

    • by enrevanche (953125) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:59AM (#38780541)
      One of the telling point about this is that this is recounted by Apple executives as a good thing. This demonstrates how a large part of a certain class of people view the rest of humanity as chattel. They have become so removed from their own humanity that they do not even see anything wrong in stating this fact openly as a good reason for their actions.
  • by sethstorm (512897) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:24AM (#38780249) Homepage

    But ultimately, Apple executives say curing unemployment is not Apple's job. 'We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.'"

    If Apple had no other option, they would still be able to make high-quality products with large-scale US labor. A tariff based on worker freedom that punishes the practices of China et al while it rewards the practices of the US and EU with tax deals would go a long way.

    The only good thing to do is to make it not only Apple's obligation, but everyone's obligation that sells in the US.

    • Notice that that's working in Brazil: Foxconn is building a manufacturing facility in Brazil to build Apple products for the Brazilian market locally, in order to avoid tariffs.

    • by trout007 (975317) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:18AM (#38780669)

      Did you ever read the reason Chinese goods are cheap because China manipulates their currency? I'm sure you all have. But have you ever though about what that really means? For instance why don't we just manipulate our currency more and make our good cheaper? And what does manipulate even mean?

      The manipulation they are talking about is inflation. The Chinese government creates money faster than we do. But what is the effect of this? When governments create money they rarely hand it out equally to all of their citizens. They create money in order to pay for things or reward their political friends with free loans, grants, or bailouts. But where does the wealth go? Since no wealth is generated by inflation it transfers wealth from those that create real wealth to those that get the inflated money. So what the Chinese government does is impoverish it's people by stealing their wealth in the form of inflation at a much higher rate than the US government does.

      What is the solution? A tariff doesn't work. All it does it tax the US consumers and gives that money to the government. With more tax revenue the US government has to borrow and print less which creates a stronger dollar. This makes Chinese goods even cheaper. No the only solution is to embrace it. Let the US consumers keep buying Chinese until the people there get a clue and overthrow their government. Think about it why should the Chinese people work so hard for so many hours for so little reward? They will wake up eventually and you will see China fall apart like the Soviets.

  • by ody (100079) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:26AM (#38780261)

    Wait, but I thought corporate 'persons' are job creators, whose taxes must be cut for the benefit of jobless Americans! If these "people" aren't willing to lose a little money to create jobs in America, then I may start to consider the possibility the trickle-down conservatives *may* have been wrong, all along!

  • "Not Our Job" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GreenTech11 (1471589) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:28AM (#38780279)

    'We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.'"

    Correct, you don't have an obligation to solve America's problems, you do however have an obligation to ensure fair working conditions and above-starvation wages for your workers. I wonder whether those 8000 workers who were raised from the company dormitories were paid overtime rates? And how much of their wage is docked for the "privelege" of living in said dormitories. Globalisation of manufacturing is a necessary and logical step forward, but it does need to be accompanied by fair working conditions, a matter on which Apple's manufacturers have a poor record.

  • by overshoot (39700) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:29AM (#38780285)

    Workers in dormitories
    24/7 uncompensated on-call
    12-hour shifts

    Not mentioned:
    worker safety
    Triangle Shirtwaist Company

    Shorter summary:
    All the USA needs to be a better place for companies like Apple is to repeal the last 120 years.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:32AM (#38780307)

    Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option

    It is a self-fulfilling prophesy. The jobs were initially shipped overseas due to the cheap workforce. Then the overseas workforce built up their skills because those skills were in demand and being used, meanwhile the skills of American workers atrophied because no company wanted to use them. The overseas manufacturing facilities were heavily invested in because that is where the cheap sweat-shop labor was, and still is. Do you know the working conditions at these factories are so bad that the companies install suicide nets [alien-earth.org] around the building to catch the workers trying to commit suicide by jumping off the roof? Do you know that the workers in those factories are required to sleep 8 to 10 people in a dorm room, and they are not allowed to talk or socialize with their roommates?

    Now it is at the point that manufacturing in the US has been neglected for so long, that to catchup and compete is a daunting task. And no company wants to make the investment in American people and manufacturing infrastructure anymore.

    The Apple execs are being very self-serving in their rationalizations for abandoning the American worker. They are just trying to paint a smiley face on a sad situation.

    In reality it is the American companies that neglected the American workforce and manufacturing infrastructure for cheap overseas labor. Then the American companies invested in the overseas workforce.

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:18AM (#38780665)

      The overseas manufacturing facilities were heavily invested in because that is where the cheap sweat-shop labor was, and still is. Do you know the working conditions at these factories are so bad that the companies install suicide nets [alien-earth.org] around the building to catch the workers trying to commit suicide by jumping off the roof?

      The suicide nets were a publicity stunt done to satisfy critics. As for the suicides themselves, China as a country has a suicide rate of 22 per 100,000 persons per year. Foxconn had 17 suicides among its 1 million workers in 2 years. Statistically, publicity seemed to be more of the problem than an actual spike in suicide rates.

      The living conditions are bad by Western standards but not so much by Chinese standards. The problem is many here and in print want to apply Western standards to what happens in China without understanding the full scope of the cultural problem. For instance does anyone why Foxconn builds dormitories for their workers? Many of these plants are built in the middle of nowhere where the land and resources were cheap. The towns around these factories do not have enough housing for workers. If the situation was here in America, the company wouldn't care and leave it up to the workers to find their own housing even if it meant that shantytowns were built. In China, a more paternalistic culture, Foxconn built dormitories to attract workers.

    • by nickmalthus (972450) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:55AM (#38781013)

      The Apple execs are akin to the 1800s plantation owners in that they claim without slavery they can't produce the products the market demands. How many of these dormitory workers are able to afford any of Apple's products? Whenever workers are unable to afford the products they produce themselves it leads to an unsustainable economy. Our country learned that during the Great Depression but our generation has forgotten all the lessons from that experience. Of course the global economy has been floated some time by currency manipulation by both China and the US but once those parlor games no longer work the reality of the true economy will reveal itself.

      China is still a communist nation; what would happen to Apple if some sort of conflict erupts between the US and China and China either implements a US embargo or nationalizes Apples manufactures for the good of the Chinese party? Certainly the Apple execs have thought about this and have made certain that they get compensated regardless.

      The ironic thing is that Apple claims they have no responsibility to help solve the US economic and unemployment problems while at the same time they donate millions to candidates and lobbyists to protect and promote their own special interests, drowning out the voice of everyday Americans. This is like when the Madoffs of the corporate world who spend their whole lives combating regulations and "government interference" are interviewed after a huge fraud is exposed and the first words out of their mouths are "It may be unethical but it is not illegal".

      As Socrates wrote long ago:

      "I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good, public and private."

  • Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wrencherd (865833) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:34AM (#38780325)
    From TFS:

    the time Apple redesigned the iPhone's screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company's dormitories, and then 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.

    How is this anecdote NOT just about "workers [being] cheaper abroad"?

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

      by moortak (1273582) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:03AM (#38780559)
      Because they don't mention pay just miserable working conditions.
    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ojintoad (1310811) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:04AM (#38780569)
      Personally, I feel this may also be about Apple's clout within the manufacturing world abroad and their ability to get results since they're such a high profile customer. Ars Technica (it's actually a Wired article) had a piece a few months ago about small businesses and how turning away from overseas manufacturing was a win, since labor costs abroad were going up: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/03/in-early-2010-somewhere-high.ars [arstechnica.com]

      In early 2010, somewhere high above the northern hemisphere, Mark Krywko decided he’d had enough. The CEO of Sleek Audio, a purveyor of high-end earphones, Krywko was flying home to Florida after yet another frustrating visit to Dongguan, China, where a contract factory assembled the majority of his company’s products. He and his son, Jason, Sleek Audio’s cofounder, made the long trip every few months to troubleshoot quality flaws. Every time the Krywkos visited Dongguan, their Chinese partners assured them everything was under control. Those promises almost always proved empty.

      Today, a year since Krywko’s decision to go against the offshoring tide, Sleek Audio has a full-scale manufacturing operation that can be reached via a 15-minute car ride rather than a 24-hour flight. Each earphone costs roughly 50 percent more to produce in Florida than in China. But Krywko is more than happy to pay the premium to know that botched orders and shipping delays won’t ruin his company. And so far, the gambit appears to be paying off: Based on enthusiastic customer response, Sleek Audio is now projecting 2011 to be its most profitable year ever.

      Just because Apple and other top tier companies (Corning is mentioned in the article) had a good experience with overseas manufacturing doesn't mean everyone will. If you're pretty much any business smaller than Apple, you might not get the results you want since they simply may not care about you as much.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:37AM (#38780333)

    The executive class of these companies have been farming out more and more work to China. They do so under the arrogant premise that the manufacturing can be done without learning the original design work. Already fair parts of the design work have been taken over by Chinese companies.

    The arrogant part is in thinking that we are the only ones that can come up with a good design, that we can create 'intellectual property' and make profits solely off of that. Nature grants no exclusive rights to creativity or intelligence. There is no inherent reason that the creative minds in China can't take over the one piece we think we can exclusively own. This is why American companies are so big on intellectual property. They think they are the only ones that can do high profit design work and that this is the only thing worth doing.

    One day these companies will wake up and realize that Apple etc need the ODM's far more than they need the brand names. They will simply refuse more contracts and start manufacturing their own original work. Apple etc will have no place to build or design their hardware and Foxconn etc will become the next Apple.

    I give at most five years before we see Chinese brand names taking the place of our familiar brand names on our store shelves. By the time this happens there won't be a damn thing we can do about it in less than two decades.

    • by tepples (727027) <tepplesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:59AM (#38780535) Homepage Journal

      I give at most five years before we see Chinese brand names taking the place of our familiar brand names on our store shelves.

      Let me guess: these brands will sound something like Acer, AOpen, ASUS, BenQ, CyberLink, Gigabyte, GWS, Haier, HTC, Huawei, Lenovo, LiteOn, Realtek, Thermaltake, Transcend, VIA, and Vtech. All these companies are based in PRC or ROC.

    • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:17AM (#38780649) Homepage

      The executive class of these companies have been farming out more and more work to China. They do so under the arrogant premise that the manufacturing can be done without learning the original design work. Already fair parts of the design work have been taken over by Chinese companies.

      The arrogant part is in thinking that we are the only ones that can come up with a good design, that we can create 'intellectual property' and make profits solely off of that.

      I think it's simpler than that... read the bit about yanking workers out of bed at Midnight and having thousands of units produced by morning. Why put up with arrogant workers who think they can sleep until the sun comes up, spend weekends and holidays with their families, and require more than a week's notice to relocate to another town? The "party line" is that China has strict labor laws that would forbid such things, but wink, wink, we can do it if it gets your business.

      The United States did this after WWII, and the arrogant Europeans mostly bought our stuff, in part because their countries were decimated, and also in part because Americans worked a little bit harder and cheaper than the Europeans were willing to. China is taking it to the next level, and it's a level I wouldn't want to follow them to. It's very seductive to business, if the U.S. wants to recapture domestic production, we're going to have to do what the Germans do and start paying 3 and 4x as much for our domestically made appliances and be happy doing it because they're of superior quality and using them benefits our countrymen.

      Or, we can kiss a couple of million of our children goodbye after 10th grade and ship them off to "trade University" where they'll live, learn and work in a world competitive environment for the next 30-40 years, doing whatever they're told on a moment's notice and getting 2 weeks per year of liberty - like being in the army, but without people shooting at you, and with much lower retirement benefits.

      In the "bleeding edge" emerging electronics tech world, Mr. Jobs may have been right, those jobs are gone. If you want ideas transformed from an executive decision to new designs in the hands of millions of consumers in less than 6 months, there's not time for everyone in that supply chain to watch their kids at soccer practice.

  • Trickle Down (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WillRobinson (159226) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:58AM (#38780531) Journal

    One of my customers provides a chip used several of apple's products as well as other phones and products. They were a spin off of TI engineers and products that TI did not want anymore. They designed the chip had the chip manufactured overseas and tested them here.

    We built 3 testers for them to final test and package the chips, which we build in less than 3 months the first one. Then we not only built it but ran the production on that machine for 6 months 24 hours a day seven days a week. While we built two additional machines. There are only two of us in our company. I think Americans can step up, in fact I know they can.

    After our customer was firmly entrenched with apple due to our support, they needed to start shipping millions of chips per month. They also had a new management team, who did not care if we helped get them off the ground, and did not even let us bid on the equipment and they intended to do the testing in Korea due to being closer to the final product. They also said the new vendor could build the machines for 1/3 the price. I told them bull shit. I have spend quite a bit of time in asia and while it could be made cheaper if they would be buying in larger volume something was wrong with what they were quoted.

    Well after about a year we found out it cost just as much for each machine as we had been quoting, but they were buying 20 of them at a time. We would have loved and been able to hire at least 10 people if we had been able to compete. Then we found out not only were they building the machines, they were running the machines and getting paid per part for the testing. Wow, we could have had at least 20 more jobs there, and I would have matched the Korean price too.

    What It real truth is, that companies like Apple, and my customer supplying parts to apple like, is they don't have to directly supervise people. It is so much easier for them just to be a engineering and marketing company and not worry at all about any "Production" at all. They feel that they are supporting "Talented Engineers" here.

    The other problem is for companies like our small company cant compete with Asian companies as they have a better infrastructure for expansion. Here we have venture capitalist who are looking for the quick buck. Just try and go out and get say 10 million to expand your operation even if you have a contract in your hand for 20 million per year. Just the blood suckers who want it all back within two years AND own half your company will be interested. Pretty darn sad it really is that way.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:27AM (#38780737) Homepage

    1. Apple doesn't owe you [presuming you are US American] anything and doesn't care to help.
    2. Apple believes US American laborers are sub-par and unqualified.

    This, from the mouths of Apple people.

  • by turgid (580780) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:50AM (#38780959) Journal

    Western workers have those too, it's just that, since we're not starving to death we're not willing to work 80 hour weeks for a pittance and accept orders unquestioningly.

    We like to have a decent standard of living, to work on interesting things, to have our expert scientific and engineering judgment respected by our managers, to take pride in our work, to make quality products that people want to buy and to be able to learn and grow.

    FTFA: A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the companyâ(TM)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.

    I have a wife, a son and a life. You will not catch me living in a company dormitory at some PHB's beck and call 24hours a day just to be able to make some VP in the USA another bonus this quarter. These Chinese people are only doing this because they have to, for now. In a few more years as their standard of living goes up, and they realise how badly they are being exploited, it will stop.

    I've just left HCL having been transferred there from Xerox last year as part of a global outsourcing deal where Ursula, Wim and Mark did a "partnership" with HCL to "leverage" there huge global talent pool or something. 600 out of the 3600 permanent engineers were transferred (the rest may follow soon). We were told it wasn't about outsourcing and that we'd have thousands of extra motivated and empowered people to help us accelerate the delivery of our projects, so we all went home and put our updated CVs on the job boards.

    It was just as well, because what really happened was that much of the existing work was taken away to us with very little time and resource being put into Knowledge Transfer. Lo and behold, these "passionate and empowered" super-humans from the sub-continent are struggling to deliver anything.

    The outsourcing companies run on this hubris-fueled delusion that they sell to western CEOs that western staff are fat, lazy and stupid and that their staff are intelligent and "motivated." What they actually do is to employ vast armies of fresh graduates (with absolutely no professional experience) at rock-bottom salaries and ship a few them over for a few months at a time (as long as they can get away with on the cheapest work permit) to "acquire knowledge." Of course, these poor young people are under enormous pressure to take on years of knowledge in a few weeks. Then they often go back to India (or wherever) with that knowledge and get put on a different project. The original project gets shipped offshore and work stops because no one knows how to do it.

    This is why outsourcing to places like India gets a bad name: the Indians (or wherever) aren't stupid or lazy, they're just young, inexperienced and being badly exploited. 25-year-old guys are being given the work of mature teams with decades of experience.

  • Total Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:56AM (#38781027)

    Just show them old pictures of Willow Run. A B-24 every 30 minutes. 50,000 workers and 13 megawatts of electricity to run the place.

    And then there was Oak Ridge. So big they ran out of copper and had to borrow 14,000 tons of silver from the Treasury. 75,000 workers + absolute SOTA nuclear tech at the same time.

    For aluminum and Oak Ridge the TVA had 12 hydroelectric plants under construction at the same time. Bigger total capacity than Three Gorges and built 70 years ago in 1/5 the time it took to build Three Gorges. It is the development model the Chinese used for the Three Gorges project.

    Boeing's Everett WA aircraft assembly plant is the largest building in the world. 400 million cu ft. I guess somebody forgot to tell them that you can't do that in America.

    America can't do it = stupid. America is still the largest manufacturing nation on the planet. And it uses only 8% of it's work force to do it.

  • by jht (5006) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @11:04AM (#38781089) Homepage Journal

    Apple makes gobs of money by owning the high-value part of the product - the design, engineering, and final sales. There's virtually no profit in actually manufacturing the product. So as a result, companies have emerged like Foxconn (the biggest) that specialize in the manufacturing process. And they make money by doing a _lot_ of manufacturing, for a lot of different vendors. They set up shop in mainland China for easy access to workers - and for most of those workers the crappy pay they get is better than they could earn elsewhere.

    And because of that, a whole supply chain rose around those companies to keep them freshly supplied with components. There's an entire infrastructure in and around China specialized in low-cost electronics manufacturing. That's not the only place Foxconn makes stuff (they have factories in Eastern Europe, Brazil, and India - all places where they can get relatively cheap access to an educated workforce). And also, Foxconn doesn't just make products for Apple - nor are they Apple's only manufacturing vendor.

    Also worth noting again is that the manufacturing is a low-margin business. Based on their 2010 numbers, they had about $59 billion in sales. Sounds like a lot, but less than 2/3 of Apple's numbers alone. Again, in profit they did $2.2 billion - but that's a low percentage of sales, and that's after supporting nearly a million employees.

    The only other thing I'd mention here is that there are companies manufacturing products in higher-wage places, and there are products better-suited to manufacturing here in the US. Precision electronics, low-volume, high-price items, and goods where the manufacturing cost is lower than the shipping costs from overseas would be - these are all good candidates for onshore manufacturing. iPhones, PCs, gaming consoles - those are gone, and they're not coming back. But the jobs they create are crappy ones anyways. And they'll always be chasing the lowest cost somewhere in the world.

  • by guidryp (702488) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @11:19AM (#38781201)

    This isn't just Apple, it is every manufacturer of almost everything you own.

    There is an excellent documentary called "China Blue" that follows a young girl from her village, to a work dormitory producing jeans.
    http://video.pbs.org/video/1488092077/ [pbs.org]

    In a world of economic, regulatory and political disparity, this is what Global Capitalism generates. The locations willing to offer the lowest wages and the least protection to workers, get the work.

    It the the golden times, from the late 1940's into the 1950's America enjoyed a massive competitive head start with most of the rest of the world being bombed into oblivion, and needing to rebuild. This was sustained for some time longer by staying ahead of the technology curve, and only outsourcing lower tech commodity work.

    But the world has shifted. There will be no golden times for the USA in our lifetimes. Our competition is no longer recovering, we are no longer ahead of the technology curve. We outsourced the technology and the engineering. It doesn't take long for our contractors to become our competition when they are the ones designing to hardware and software anyway. Did we think them reliant on our brilliant executive management?

    People can point fingers at "evil" right wing politicians, "evil" left wing politicians, "evil" corporations or "evil" unions. But in the end, that is trivia to occupy us while Rome burns.

    We are in a race to the bottom and it has significant momentum, so you better get used to it.

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