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jsavimbi 969 days ago | link | parent

I think you should look into additional graphs; they may help you understand income correlation. And I don't mean to be insulting, but just by looking at the figures, it's clear that the workers in Shenzhen are in the middle of economic growth, while the residents of Youngstown, OH, have ceilinged out at slightly above the poverty level. The income per capita in Shenzhen is ~$14K, growing at +10%. Their per capita income is 200% that of the average rest of China's. Youngstown's per capita is ~$31K and in decline, having never reached higher than ~$32K in 2007. That's 65% of the American average of $47K.

The people of Shenzhen have opportunity on demand. The people of Youngstown have no future. Please explain that to them the next time they max out a warehouse credit card on that 48" plasma they needed to have in order to feel better about themselves.

It's not a political problem, it's an economic crisis and we need those jobs back. Costs will go up and we'll have to hang on to that laptop for a year longer than we planned to, but all boats rise when the tide comes in.



tptacek 969 days ago | link

I'm not sure I see what the trendlines have to do with quality of life in either locale. Either Chinese factory workers are better off now than autoworkers in Youngstown, or they're not. Either Chinese factory workers are better of than Chinese subsistence farmers, or they're not.

Similarly, I understand the psychological importance of one's income relative to the community median, but I don't see how being worse off than the average American makes a Youngstown factory worker worse off than the average Chinese person.

You seem to think I'm saying "auto workers in Youngstown will be fine". I don't think that.

We can't just make up new facts to make political priorities we both hold more compelling.

Finally, by making the cost of laptops increase to create what are, in effect, make-work jobs in on-shore technology manufacturing, we also depress demand and penetration of laptops everywhere. Who's better off in this scenario? If we're going to pay a subsidy to people who would otherwise be assembling our laptops in (say) Youngstown, we should do it directly; taking it out of the entire market for laptops is regressive.

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jsavimbi 969 days ago | link

I understand your point but you can't give people what amounts to a handout while reminding them that they're better off than the Chinese.

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meric 969 days ago | link

What?

What's wrong with receiving a handout?

What's wrong with being better off than citizens of another country?

If you don't like the former, go work another job in another city.

If you don't like the latter, go work another job in another country.

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jsavimbi 968 days ago | link

- It dehumanizes the spirit and makes the receiver a dependent of the state; later to be vilified by an ignorant society at large when it suits them.

- Comparing apples to oranges is patronizing at best. Being better off is contextual and you cannot compare a child who won't eat broccoli to a Biafran baby.

- A vast majority of people live, work and die within a relatively short distance of where they're born and outside of famine and conflict, you're not going to get them to move away from of their family and/or community networks. The chance that they're even able to do so severely declines with the absence of solid education or an established, dependable contact in another city. Yes, there are plenty of people who do it, but there are usually mitigating factors that affect the decision-making process outside of those who have chosen a career that requires a move. We'd like to think that we're a society on the move but the reality is quiet the opposite.

- That's an even worse suggestion than moving to another city or out of state. Outside of high-skills, training and education protected jobs, there isn't much need for labor in other countries. As a matter of fact, most countries have a surplus of labor, not to mention a wage differential that would basically wipe out any future earnings potential. The suggestion is so ludicrous that I won't even address legal, language, cultural or distance problems that would turn away most people who even dream of doing it. And I say that as someone who spent ten years in a foreign country where English isn't spoken. That's asking the impossible and has very few benefits for anyone involved.

In conclusion, the "love it or leave it" crowd can stuff it.

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