China As the New Rust Belt

Gordon Chang predicts that the United States will reclaim its lead in manufacturing (or hold it, depending on how you count things) relative to the Chinese:

Robotized production in China is no cheaper than robotized production in, say, Texas or California, where Foxconn maintains manufacturing facilities. And so it should come as no surprise that, as Foxconn replaces humans with machines, Apple CEO Tim Cook told NBC’s Brian Williams on Thursday that next year his company will manufacture one of its Mac computers in the U.S.

Even though Cook’s announcement could have been “political”—a “token gesture” as one observer in Hong Kong sniffed—it nonetheless is part of a broader narrative of factories fleeing China. After all, Apple is not the only company to recently announce it was “onshoring.” Lenovo, China’s largest maker of PCs, in October said it would move some computer manufacturing to its North Carolina facility, and General Electric has been transferring production back to Appliance Park in Louisville. Small- and medium-sized manufacturers are started to return to the U.S. as well.

American manufacturers, in short, are gaining on the Chinese. Boston Consulting Group has predicted that around 2015 it will become more economical to manufacture in the U.S. than China in seven industrial sectors. American workers are more productive and less likely to strike than their Chinese counterparts. Moreover, as suggested above, transportation costs are much lower and delivery times far shorter when goods are made here. And energy is substantially cheaper in America.

I’ve got it! Let’s reduce the productivity of American workers, encourage them to strike, and increase the cost of transportation and energy. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

55 comments… add one

  • Steve V – Michael has become hysterical in recent months, and is the straw man King.

    It isn’t just straw man arguments though. He is attacking what he thinks are people’s motivations. It isn’t that I’ve arrived at some conclusion because of an error in my thought process or my starting assumptions are wrong or something like that. No, no I must hate Barack Obama, the man, because he is black and had the effrontery to get himself elected POTUS. And to make matters worse he isn’t even a citizen of these United States!! Michael either will not or more likely cannot show where I’ve made a mistake in thinking about about issue so he has to attack my motivations. Paint me as a racist and then he wont have to argue against me. It is cheap and it is juvenile…which makes it truly amusing when Michael goes around proclaiming how mature and grown up he is…well when he isn’t bragging about how successful he is.

  • TastyBits

    @michael reynolds

    Because I think racism is a serious problem, this is the problem with shouting “racist” and “racism”. Many people who you call racist are ignorant bigots or racially insensitive. They believe the stereotypes and prejudge according to them. Of this group, many could be changed through education.

    There is a similarity with homosexual issues, but nobody is going to suddenly learn that their family member is black or brown. The point is that attitudes toward gay folks have changed dramatically in a short time. NOTE: I am in no way equating being gay with being black – not even a little bit.

    A lot of white people do not have much knowledge of black communities. They know some black folks through work or other interactions, but they assume the black folks have the same experiences as white folks.

    The police are one example of a stark difference between whit and black experience. Few white folks have had, or know somebody who has had, a bad experience with the police, and they project their knowledge onto black folks and the police. Depending upon where you live, the police may be worse than the criminals – the majority of the force and not a few “bad apples”. From many white folks perspective, there is no serious problem with the police. The problem is with those complaining.

    Some people are racists. Some people are racist sympathizers and willfully ignorant, and while there may be some technical differences, they are racists, also. Many people will begin to “get it”, but some of them are a little slower. The people who finally “get it” will begin to see the real racists.

    When you yell “racist” about a person, that person will immediately stop listening, and any chance to educate them is lost. Because you are the political “enemy”, they will assume the exact opposite further entrenching their ignorant bigotry. They will retort with “race card”, and when I beat you over the head, this further reinforces their righteousness.

    I would prefer to work with you to educate people. Working against you does more harm than good.

  • They know some black folks through work or other interactions, but they assume the black folks have the same experiences as white folks.

    I wish more people understood this, TastyBits. It’s not merely that different things happen (which they do) but that when they do happen their experience of them is different. It’s a bit hard to explain.

    A white, middle-class person who’s stopped by a policeman for speeding may see a blue collar guy who’s doing his job. He may be embarrassed or contrite or even, possibly, outraged. A black kid who’s stopped by a policeman for speeding may be in fear for his life. Same thing happened (stopped for speeding), different experience.

  • I would prefer to work with you to educate people. Working against you does more harm than good.


    It might help you in your quest (one almost surely doomed to failure) to realize that Michael himself is a bigot. Anybody who he thinks is a “conservative” is not just merely making an error in their thought process they are somehow bad people. This is why he has no compunction using things like the race card, when nowhere have I indicated anything to suggest I have an issue with Obama’s race. I have issue with his policies, but to go from that to me being a racist requires somebody who has some sort of short circuit in their mental faculties, IMO.

    When you yell “racist” about a person, that person will immediately stop listening, and any chance to educate them is lost.

    I think this is true of just about anybody, racist or otherwise. And it is particularly true if this kind of statement is made when there is absolutely nothing to back it up.

    To be quite honest here, you are wasting your time with Michael, he has zero interest in reasoned discussion and/or changing his mind.

  • TastyBits

    @Steve Verdon

    I understand what you are saying, but I feel very strongly about the racism issue. If he is willing to work towards educating people, I am willing to accept his other traits, and I will even run interference for him, occasionally. If he can identify a real racist or racist sympathizer, I will excoriate them.

    The biggest difference between race based bigotry and any other kind is physical. Conservative, gay, gun enthusiast, Christian, etc. can all stay in the closet, but skin color is hard to hide. As such, racism is a special, and it cannot be equated to any other prejudice.

    I am a scary looking guy, and my bite is far worse than my bark. Few people would want to tangle with me based upon looks, but with a shave and a change of clothes, most people’s attitude would change. A black man does not have this option.

    Based upon my background, I have experience with both black and white worlds, and I do not mean knowing the “black guy” at work. Many black people know they do not share the same experiences as white people, and the “black friend” is probably not saying what he really feels. I have a fairly good idea of what and why that is. Few white liberals fully understand either, but they do understand there is a difference.

    Racists and racist sympathizers are never going to change, but through education, the ignorant can shed their bigotry or be exposed as racists.

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