> Our citizens don't want to work in manufacturing
Not true among those to whom college is not attractive. There is a group of Americans that would like a semi-skilled labor job that affords them a middle class lifestyle.
I grew up in an area primarily populated with people like that, and while all of my friends are now of the BS/MS/PhD crowd, there is a huge set of people who now go on to college not because they want to but because they don't know what else they can do. Unless they are lucky enough to know somebody who can get them in as an apprentice at a union.
Those people don't want the lifestyle afforded to Chinese factory workers, but the fact is that this lifestyle is an improvement for the vast rural Chinese underclass; this argument comes dangerously close to suggesting that we should further impoverish millions of people to improve the lot of tens of thousands of Americans.
It seems to be a simple fact that the US is structurally disadvantaged in electronics manufacturing.
> this argument comes dangerously close to suggesting that we should further impoverish
I apologize if my comment came across as suggesting a course of action. I'm merely commenting on the original commenter's assertion that Americans do not want manufacturing jobs. I have personally found that to be untrue, even if the job that they wish to have might not be possible here because of economic and/or regulatory reasons.
I just think you have to be careful not to conflate. Americans are willing to work in manufacturing; that's obviously easy to see. They are not willing to work for Chinese manufacturing compensation, even after you correct for environmental impact and shipping costs.
If manufacturing simply can't pay what an American worker needs to make, their willingness to work in factories isn't relevant, is it?
> Those people don't want the lifestyle afforded to Chinese factory workers but the fact is that this lifestyle is an improvement for the vast rural Chinese underclass
Why do you think this might be true? The only reason Chinese workers are poor is that they government let companies treat them as slaves. I don't think we should even consider that taking part on this is fair to Chinese people. On the opposite, agreeing with the practices of the Chinese government is exporting poverty to other parts of the world.
If you think that the advantage is that Western countries get cheaper products, this is wrong again: we could get cheap products anyway, but just using more machines instead of semi-slave labor.
No, you've misread me. I'm comparing Chinese factory workers to (more numerous) Chinese rural poor, who make four to five times less than the factory workers, and whose poverty cannot be attributed to greedy factory owners.
In objective terms, however exploited you think technology manufacturing "slave laborers" are by companies in the west, the west has done those workers a favor. The status quo ante was a poverty so grinding as to make the comparison to unemployed US auto workers laughable.
When you visit a factory, it is easy to see that this is not the case. Yeah, the work sucks, but workers are happy to have the chance in general - they save money to build businesses, give to their families, etc. Factory work is better than starving, and better than farmwork.
Oh, certainly it is. There are a lot of union jobs that pay well, though admittedly the better-paying ones require quite a bit of skill. My brother is a pipefitter, and while he makes more than many software developers, he is also qualified to handle pipe work (layout, welding, testing, etc.) in hospitals, hazardous chemicals and treatment plants, etc.
My father also runs one of the few remaining foundries and employs some semi-skilled, decently paid labor.
But, nether of those industries current employ enough people to make up for all of the folks who would want them. Or at least, until our infrastructure bill comes due -- a significant portion of the 50s and 60s era suburb/exurb buildout will soon require substantial investments just to have water/power/roads continue to function.