Thursday, September 13, 2012

Made in the USA



Okay, given my past attempts to keep Flint Expatriates free from partisan political sniping, I know this is risky. But try to set aside your allegiance to Democrats or Republicans. And shelve your personal feelings — positive or negative — about Jennifer Granholm as governor of Michigan. Let's try and discuss this on its merits.

8 comments:

  1. "The Dating Game" was also made in the USA and Jennifer was a 19 year old guest in 1978. I'd much prefer to discuss the merits of this YouTube video with Jennifer interviewing bachelors #1, #2, and #3!

    http://youtu.be/b4FJIP-eZCA

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    1. God, that was painful. It's a little before my time, but having watched several clips of the Dating Game, I'm left wondering if any participant — male or female — ever made it through an episode without looking like a complete fool.

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  2. I think she's charming in all the right ways. If she wasn't married, I'd be delighted to have an opportunity to be introduced to her.

    But, her economic analysis is not-news to anyone with decent knowledge of history and economics.

    Of course other countries like our exports. We like their exports, too. International trade is great. If it weren't for our thirst for oil, we'd do much better balance-of-trade-wise.

    That however says nothing about why jobs move overseas. American consumers like quality, but they also like good prices. Good prices come from having production capabilities that can achieve the targeted quality at the lowest achievable cost.

    Job export won't cease until there are no places that can achieve an American-consumer-acceptable quality level at a lower total delivered manufacturing cost than can be achieved for the same product in the USA.

    The reality is, unless we want to go back to Smoot-Hawley and trade barriers, and do without all those nice inexpensive overseas-made items we love to have the option to buy, there's no way to solve the problem other than for American manufacturing costs to decrease relative to the rest of the world.

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    1. Regarding my opening paragraph above...I was talking about the modern Ms. Granholm.

      I just got around to watching as much as I could take of the Dating Game video. Yikes. But, young-Granholm's emotive ease and self confidence then are obvious antecedents of her political communication skills now.

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  3. In short...the desire of wanting more domestic production is currently incompatible with the desire for cheaper prices.

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  4. I know I don't lie awake at night and dream of a fully revived American manufacturing sector, so, in that respect,I agree. But, I do believe that there are industries and products that can be made and successfully sold here at price points that will please consumers looking for the Made in U.S.A. label. we just have to care enough about this to work at it.

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  5. But to get the cheap products, you sacrifice a lot of jobs with decent wages. Then the people with low-paying jobs, or no jobs, really need the cheap products. You have no choice but to demand low-cost goods when you're desperate. Wouldn't it be better to have things cost a bit more to preserve the good jobs? I know I'm oversimplifying this, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence that a "service" economy is improving the economic situation for most Americans. It's improving it for a few, though.

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    1. > there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence that a "service" economy is improving the economic situation for most Americans. It's improving it for a few, though.

      Yep, our economic theory is pretty much busted right now if you think that having a robust middle class is a key to Americanism, which I think just about everyone can agree on. Modern cheap communications, cheap transportation and the easy exportation of engineering educational processes have broken it.

      But to some extent it's self healing, if you have a long enough timeline. Look at China...the middle class is growing like mad, and isn't interested in working cheap to make stuff for export. They want value-added jobs and higher incomes so that they can become avid consumers, too.

      Japan got there three decades ago, and Singapore and Malaysia are mostly there, too. The key exports from those places these days are very value-added and high tech.

      When everyplace that used to be highly populated and ambitious has evolved to have a major middle class, manufacturing in the US probably will be cost-competitive.

      Unfortunately, by then most of us here will be dead, and maybe our kids, too. But it's still foreseeable.

      I don't know what we do in the meantime except accept that manufacturing wages have to be closer to world-competitive if the products being produced are such that they can be made somewhere else instead.

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