February 19, 2012

The great factory worker shortage of 2012

The Washington Post has a long article on how factories in Michigan can't find enough workers to operate today's complicated high tech machine tools. Near the end, we read:
The shortage of skilled workers has also pushed up wages, though executives said raising them too far could push more work to overseas plants. 

So, why would you invest in getting trained (typically, on your own dime), when executives have been boasting to Wall Street for years about how they'll offshore your future job the moment you start to make real money?

54 comments:

beowulf said...

The two most important reforms needed to improve the economy are: 1. enact Steve Unz's plan to tighten up on illegal immigration at the same time the minimum wage is increased to $12/hr (the 1968 level when adjusted by SSA's Average Wage Index); and
2. Enact Warren Buffett's import certificate plan to eliminate the trade deficit and its $600B a year demand leakage (Buffett's plan would be be twice as stimulative as Obama's stimulus bill except it'd actually reduce the budget deficit).
For their own reasons, both parties will find a dozen reasons to change the subject from those two needed reforms.

Captain B. said...

Matt Yglesias had a post about this exact topic (of machinist shortages) several days ago. One employer claimed that due to the current 'skills shortage' he might actually have to train some of his current employees, presumably by putting them through community college, in order to fill some of his company's job vacancies. He was pretty much just griping that he can't cost externalize education expenses onto his workers. Boo hoo.

Bill said...

Part of the problem is the insistence that only a bachelor's degree will do for all Americans (ethnic and women's studies classes mandatory, of course). Germany has one of the lowest university graduation rates in Europe, yet for some reason has the best-trained workers in the world.

Go figure.

Anonymous said...

"Part of the problem is the insistence that only a bachelor's degree will do for all American"

Yep, My bachelor's degree was useless.

The companies should train their own workers. That also should include accounting, marketing. Even if you "worked" for free at a company learning an aspect of the company when you were 18-22, you would still save a lot of money on college. The company would also get some productivity out of you doing some jobs as you learn things. Maybe it's unworkable, but there has to be a better way than we have now.

candid_observer said...

This kind of reminds me of Murray's complaint that today's white working class have lost their "work ethic" because they aren't so eager to take on jobs that pay a fraction of what their father was paid, don't have anything like the same benefits, and can go up in smoke at the employers' slightest whim, because no union protects them.

Charles, what you're asking for isn't a work ethic: it's resignation and surrender.

And speaking of German workers, as did the comment above, isn't it funny how the strong unions they enjoy haven't destroyed their manufacturing base, and people across the world want to buy their products? So weird, you know?

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

This kind of reminds me of Murray's complaint that today's white working class have lost their "work ethic" because they aren't so eager to take on jobs that pay a fraction of what their father was paid, don't have anything like the same benefits, and can go up in smoke at the employers' slightest whim, because no union protects them.

Charles, what you're asking for isn't a work ethic: it's resignation and surrender.


Yep. For the white working class, the normal benefits of a strong work ethic(protection from layoffs, raises, promotions) have all pretty much disappeared due to offshoring and EEOC enforced discrimination.

The only real reason to work hard is to not let your coworkers down, and to have a good network with former coworkers who have moved on to other companies.

I am Lugash.

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

FTA:

“The problem is as soon as we get someone in, one of our other guys will jump ship,” said Tyson De Jonge, engineering manager at Engine Power Components. “They get better offers.”

Loyalty to the company died with the pension plan.

Unfortunately, for nearly everyone involved, the training department did as well.

I am Lugash.

Anomaly UK said...

Relating to the earlier commenters: Of my age group (born around 1970), a clear majority finished full-time education at 16. That group necessarily contained a chunk with above-average intelligence and self-discipline, who not only would expect to work in a factory or similar job, but would have confidence in making a successful career there, progressing to a management position.

That is in Britain, but I'm sure the same trends apply in the US, if not at exactly the same dates.

As over-education progressed, the damage would not appear immediately: that a new intake of factory workers did not include the intelligent would not cause problems, but as that cohort hit their mid-thirties, the gap would start to show.

Mike said...

candid_observer, there has to be some very real structural differences between the way unions are organized here and the manner in which they are organzied in Germany. I can only speculate, as I've not studied the specifics.

German firms do internalize a lot of their employee training through formal apprenticeship programs. I know a guy from Dallas that dropped out of high school and then managed to get enrolled in the apprenticeship program in Germany at Weinig (a manufacturer of high tech wood working macines). He came back to Dallas after a few years fluent in German and able to set up and program those machines.

You'll never get programs like that in the U.S. until Griggs v. Duke Power goes away. You can't have a test for intellingence as criteria for entrance.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it seems like some sort of 'malthusian trap' is operating on American industrial wages, basically thet are being pegged at some 'global median' - and due to ferocious competition amongst hungry billions, this global median isn't very much.
The upshot is in a truly 'globalized' word there is absolutely no rational reason whatsoever to employ a high wage American in any task that possibly can be substituted - therefore American wages will tens, asymptotically, to this global median.
On the other hand, the wages of the owners, the 1%, will soar exponentially due to overheads being minimized, and labor in particular reaching its 'natural bottom' (no Kardashian jokes please).These trends will accelerate until the owner class that his control of industry and land will tend to accrue all capital, dividing US society, more or less into a nation of 1% owners and 99% bottom dwelling helots, purchased, used and abused for a dime by 1%er supergods.
Worse than Victorian England or Imperial China.
You will find huge capital flows just sloshing between 1%ers just to fund their trivial needs ie expect an age of pocket or not so pocket Versailes throughout the USA, whilst Joe Blow sleeps in his car.
Perhaps that Marx chappie was onto something.

Reg Cæsar said...

...tighten up on illegal immigration at the same time the minimum wage is increased to $12/hr... --Beowulf

Why should immigrants be allowed to sell their labor for a measly $12/hr? They won't even pay income tax at that wage. They'd be freeloaders.

Jack their minimum up to twice that. Save the $12 jobs for Americans.

...jobs that... can go up in smoke at the employers' slightest whim, because no union protects them. --Candid Observer

Yeah, right. The same unions that funnel-- no, aqueduct-- your dues to candidates with a NumbersUSA grade of F-. That does wonders for your bargaining power!

Just how is a union supposed to protect you from the whims of your employer's competition?

Steve Sailer said...

There are differences in how unions work in Germany, but the subject is seemingly technical and I've never been able to wrap my head around it. Paul Johnson said that British occupation forces in the late 1940s gave West Germany the world's best laws regarding unions, while the British had the worst, much to the detriment of the British economy in the 1970s when competing with the Germans over, say, automobile quality.

Reg Cæsar said...

There are differences in how unions work in Germany...

If it's like Sweden, then the employers have collective bargaining rights as well, i.e., they can negotiate in concert like the workers do.

Compare that with the UAW's playing the Big Three off each other, one contract at a time.

IHTG said...

Steve Unz's plan

Heh.

Anonymous said...

The globalist oligarchs have been using the offshoring of physical capital to crush wages forgeting that in the years of crushing unemployment the human capital is rotting away.

They should all be on trial for treason in all the countries they have passports for.

Anonymous said...

"The two most important reforms needed to improve the economy are"

1) Have a business elite that aren't traitors.
2) Have a business elite that aren't traitors.

None of this is an accident. It's all about the 1% waging caste war on the rest of the country to make themselves richer.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
The British talk a hell of a lot of shit about the reasons why Germany beat them in the post WW2 economic battle.
Paul Johnson's (he's a good writer and historian but too much of a flag waving Tory) piece is just another little turd in a big pile of crap.I remember as a kid back in the 70s hearing a load of guff about 'new machinery and investment' after the war (Germany was more or less destroyed), giving Germany the edge, whilst Britain had old fashioned equipment.
Never mind the line being trotted out 30 years after the war had ended, but even as 10 year old boy I intuited this excuse was shit - since the Germans would be burdened by loan repayments on that machinery that would put them at a disadvantage, and what was stopping Briatin doing likewise and buying new machines?
In my opinion the England/Germany differential is due to HBD.

Anonymous said...

British workers were 'bolshy' in the 1970s due the terrible memories of the indignities visited upon the working class back in the 20s and 30s when labor was super abundant and treated like shit (echoes to the modern USA), being very fresh in people's mind.
The tight labor markets of the 1950s-70s in Britain were seen as pay-back time.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the government should pay for the needed worker training.

It could take some of the money that it uses to fund collegiate diversity studies and indentured lib-arts graduates, and direct it toward metal-working certificates. Why not?

In a competitive market, any given company would have a disincentive to pay for training a worker who can then be snapped up by a competitor -- unless they arrange a contract obligating the worker to pay back training costs when they leave...

Jeff W. said...

One thing I notice is how respectable commentators always badmouth manufacturing.

"Manufacturing jobs are not coming back. Manufacturing is automated now." (China had 112 million people employed in manufacturing as of 2006. It shows that there is still quite a lot of automating to do.)

http://www.manufacturingnews.com/news/09/0529/chinesewages.html

"Due to global competition, manufacturing jobs are not high-paying anymore." (So why don't we do something about the open-door trade policy with Asian mercantilists?)

"Small business is the engine of job creation." (A small service business cannot survive in a factory town that has lost its factory. Export businesses are needed to bring dollars into the community.)

Conclusion: The U.S. government and leading economists are toadies of corporate interests that want to continue making huge profits by paying slave wages. The fierce attacks their spokesmen launch against the idea of repatriating U.S. manufacturing shows they are frightened by a potential rise in American economic nationalism.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the commentariat here is unaware that German unions have almost HALF of the seats within the corporate Board of Directors.

Also, German finance vectors capital/ savings towards big ( unionized ) business almost exclusively.

They have no silicon valley.

Hence, they've got no Apple, Google, et. al.

The upshot is that Germany is simply no longer a TRUE first rank industrial power.

Eighty-years ago, many, many entirely new technologies were invented in Germany. Today, Germany takes stuff the Americans invent and incorporate it into their mature product lines.

Autos, machine tools... they're mature no matter how many tweaks you throw on them.

The rise of China is MUCH more threatening to Germany and France than it is to America.

Hence, they both vigorously block Chinese imports as much as possible via non-tariff mechanisms. ( The French are absolute masters of the art. )

If beowulf's crazed notions are adopted payoffs/ corruption will explode across the economy. Even Elliot Ness would flail helplessly.

-----

The economic essence of today's illegal immigration is soft-slavery.

The last time we extended amnesty to illegals -- and put them 'on the books' -- they were rapidly FIRED and replaced with 'fresh ones.'

Their 'job slots' required slave-wages... passing Federal legislation didn't change that.

It's interesting to see the postings of farmers dependent upon this slave labor, for you'd swear that the exact same logic and sentiments were voiced in antebellum Georgia. And that's because they were.

( They always revolve around how difficult life would be if they had to pay free-market wages. )

Smoot-Hawley tariffs were bizarre when America was the global lowest-cost-producer. And they were way, way, too high. Once the rough legislation was hammered out -- EVERY Congressman threw additional tonnage over the transom -- making for astonishing tariffs by the time it passed. ( The actual process took many, many months. It was kicked all over the Hill like a volleyball. )

Today is different: we've got a mercantilist-maniac stealing every thing that's not bolted down -- particularly to include intellectual property.

That idiots like GE are proud to send their crown jewels off to Red China -- what can you say?

( Their medical imaging division is, for all practical purposes, being destroyed and given to China. )

It must await the departure of the Marxist-in-chief, but some tariff regime is an absolute necessity.

------

More generally, Central Planning will be the death of us all, pocket-book death.

CRAPolicy = Central Planning B. Frank style.

ZIRPolicy = Central Planning B. Bernanke style.

Hyperinflationary Money Printing = Dissolute Planning B. 0bama style.

The terrifying contraction in Greece is right around the corner for any economy based upon 0bamanomics.

Anonymous said...

"So, why would you invest in getting trained (typically, on your own dime), when executives have been boasting to Wall Street for years about how they'll offshore your future job the moment you start to make real money?"

And why would certain kids study when they've been told to just on their butts and wait for superman?

And why would white underclass study/work to better themselves when their role model is Eminem(peddled by the entertainment industry)?

And if you're smart, why go for skilled manufacturing when you can make more money in finance or computer geekery?

Anonymous said...

"He was pretty much just griping that he can't cost externalize education expenses onto his workers. Boo hoo."

He has a good point. Too many people with highschool or even college degree don't know jack shit about nuttin. And even if he did send his workers to community college, there's no guarantee that they'd learn anything.

Anonymous said...

"This kind of reminds me of Murray's complaint that today's white working class have lost their "work ethic" because they aren't so eager to take on jobs that pay a fraction of what their father was paid, don't have anything like the same benefits, and can go up in smoke at the employers' slightest whim, because no union protects them.Charles, what you're asking for isn't a work ethic: it's resignation and surrender."

No, he has a good point. Times change, and people must adapt. With the New Economy, many people had a chance to study new information and skills and make themselves ready. While some white people did, some white people thought they could just coast by like old-timers. This is like railway workers thinking they're gonna have work with railroads even with the coming of cars and highways. This is why Bruce Springsteen-ism is stupid. It seems to think those old Union jobs are and must stay forever as an entitlement for highschool dropouts. Bruce blames Reagan but progressive yuppies who love him also support the New Economy and indeed are its main beneficiaries. And they don't mind bringing in tons of illegals to take jobs what whites are unwilling to do.
There are Mexican families who make a pittance but stay together and do succeed. Entitlementality is bad for any people. You can't just listen to rock music all through school, act like the kids in COUNTRY BOYS, and then expect there to be Union jobs just because they feel entitled to such. Economies change, and workers have to adapt. Many haven't.

Anonymous said...

"Yep. For the white working class, the normal benefits of a strong work ethic(protection from layoffs, raises, promotions) have all pretty much disappeared due to offshoring and EEOC enforced discrimination."

But even two people making shitty wages are living much better than most people around the world... or people in the past. We have short memories. We think only of post-war boom, but in fact, even low-wage people today are making better wages and have more benefits--through welfare, taxed income credit, etc--than most people in the past. And working class jobs were dangerous and low-paying prior to 8 hr work day, safety standards, and all that.
Though it's not easy to get by on low-wages, it's far from impossible either, especially if government pays you extra for working. And for poor people, there's free healthcare and all that stuff. And whole bunch of stuff are available to even poor people: microwave ovens, cell phones, etc. Look at the Gordon Gekko in Wall Street with a giant clunky phone. Today, poor folks can afford topnotch cellphones.

Of course, people are hurting, but they can still stay together and raise families and lead their kids to study and etc. Even if the father is a security guard and mother workers at Walmart, there's enough to raise and educate kids. The problem is culture. Our rotten culture has no sense of discipline, self-restraint, obligation, etc. Girls are raised by pop culture to whores, guys are raised to be morons.

Worst of all is section 8 housing and other such. Being poor and white aint so bad. But being poor, white, and having to live with dangerous blacks... now that really sucks.

The fact is poor white folks with the right mindset do climb out of poverty. There was this Polish-American family where the mother worked as a maid and father worked whatever odd jobs he could find. They didn't make much, but they stayed together, saved, and moved to a better place. It probably helped that they grew up under communism before coming here. Knowing life under communism, they appreciated freedoms here--something people here do not. One good thing about communism was it forced some degree of social and cultural discipline on its people. It was actually culturally more conservative than the 'gay marriage' and 'jungle boogie' BS that took over America.

JSM said...

"Jack their minimum up to twice that. Save the $12 jobs for Americans."

Yep.

And any employer caught not paying at least $24 / hr. to any illegals ought to be fined $48 for every hour they failed to do so.

And we can use that fines money to offset some of the cost of social benefits to give Americans making $12 a better life.

Also, workmen's comp: 2X the rate of Americans; and the illegals get NO BENEFITS. The funds go to compensate injured American workers.

David said...

>Even if the father is a security guard and mother workers at Walmart, there's enough to raise and educate kids<

False. How old are you, and what part of the country are you talking about?

It's labor that creates economic value. Looting labor is Job One for all exploiters, which today consist of govt-connected billionaires and their wannabees. Chattel slavery for everyone else and untold riches for themselves is their ultimate goal, and movement toward this goal is the result of specific and deliberate policy decisions, none of which are inevitable and none of which the intended victims should resign themselves to, as you advocate that they do.

Anonymous said...

Has no one here actually run a business or been in a managerial role of any kind?

The execs at these plants in Michigan are faced with waves of untrainable blacks and underclass whites, who demand lots of money, work union hours, file lawsuits, and generally don't get the job done. Try running a Subway shop with employees like that, let alone a complicated factory.

Oh, and if you do somehow succeed in pulling some Jaime Escalante Stand and Deliver transformation of the work force, the fedguv will take much of your new income in taxes. You are also the only one responsible for navigating the thicket of contradictory, expensive regulations, because these entitled numbskulls sure aren't going to fill in the EPA's TPS reports on the Fridays and weekends when the plant isn't running.

There is absolutely a good reason why China is eating our lunch in manufacturing, and it is about the enstupidification of workers and the rapacity of the US federal government. Executive "greed" (but never the population's "envy") has been denounced for nigh on 100 years now, so let's call that a constant. What's changed is the population and government, not the profit motive.

beowulf said...

Ron Unz, not Steve. :o)
http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/column/james-k-galbraith-minimum-wage-of-would-be-good-for/article_7049bbec-fe32-5e1e-89c4-77adf0836b3d.html

Anonymous said...

I have never studied German unions either, but I lived in Germany for a while and knew some working class kids. These are my impressions of the system. Unions are integrated into the school system. Kids who fail the exam to go on to high school are automatically assigned to an apprenticeship program. They have some choice in the matter, but the unions decide how many slots are available in each union. They may work half time for a while taking classes in the morning and working for low wages in the afternoon. After they complete the program, they get a union card. Hiring is done out of a union-run hiring hall. Jobs are assigned by seniority so young workers often work only part time, but receive generous unemployment benefits and don't mind the opportunity to party a lot. Older workers have enough job security to start families. I think it is a pretty good system. After seeing their country nearly destroyed by the struggle between labor and capital, Germans wanted labor peace at any cost. They gave a lot of power to the unions, but the unions reciprocated by behaving responsibly.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
No.In fact Germany's industrial export sector (which China only overhauled recently - it's far bigger than America's, despite America being 4 x bigger), is heavily geared towards hi-tech, but because in the main Germany exports industrial equipment (apart from cars and chemicals), you wouldn't know that - I suppose all you know about is Apple and Google because it's in front of you.
The entire world runs on German machines, precision, painstakingly made machines at that, machines that apparently no one else can make.

Anonymous said...

Employers are also biding time for the greater automation that's increasing every year and coming down the road.

They don't want to hire full time American machine tool operators, but once there is enough automation, they'll probably hire small numbers of them as consultants on short-term contracts, sort of like management consultants today at places like McKinsey and Bain. They'll be well-compensated but an extremely tiny sliver of the workforce. Not a large scale industrial workforce.

With greater automation, employers will be more immune against charges regarding outsourcing, anti-patriotism, etc.

edgy gurl said...

"And if you're smart, why go for skilled manufacturing when you can make more money in finance or computer geekery?"

I can't believe you'd suggest finance at this particular juncture. The 90s taught us all we need to know about job security for American programers. Obsolescence is always a potential factor there too.

As for the person suggesting that our lowest wages are somehow workable for the functional. It all depends on circumstances: benefits, job security, scheduling, cost of living. Welfare doesn't compensate for the kind of benefits companies like Wal-mart used to provide now offering the economy myriad low quality job opportunities vs the many solid ones of years passed. You also get a huge population of people who require welfare and get tax refunds. Who's paying enough taxes to be shared by the majority, the corporations?

Manufacturing jobs aren't easy nor is the skill set required interchangeable with what makes someone successful in the banking industry. Lower level, average paying jobs abound there as well. The point is: producing your own durable goods offers a kind of job security and job quality that the service industry can't match. There are only a few good paying jobs in finance, hospitality and retail anyway. I can't believe you'd really be thinking, "let them be waiters, let them be tellers, let them be cashiers".

Paul Mendez said...

Times change, and people must adapt.

Ahhhh! Now I get it. Father Time is the one who shafted the White Middle Class!

And silly old me thought it was the post-American global elites who view national borders, patriotism, religion, ethnic bonds and basic human freedom as mere impediments to the free flow of their capital and profits.

Anonymous said...

To the idiot who drones on about 'entitlement' and the 'new economy' and knowledge jobs'.
The fact is that across the board must employment sectors in the USA have crashed, including 'knowledge jobs'.
The only growth areas are nurse's aids, bartenders, hairdressers and the like.
Read Paul Craig Roberts.

Like RKU says, Charles Murray is an over rated sell-out whore who says what his sopnsors want him to say.
Herrnstein was the talented one of the two.

Rohan Swee said...

Times change, and people must adapt. With the New Economy, many people had a chance to study new information and skills and make themselves ready.

"New Economy".

Did you have a good nap, Rip van Winkle? Just to bring you up to speed on everything you've slept through since 1995 - turns out a lot of those New Economy jerbs were even easier to offshore than the Old ones.

Fred Z said...

Nice post, but as usual the comments interest me more with their mass of wild-eyed socialism, protectionism, nationalism and ignorance.

The Germans have their apprenticeship system, Mittelstand and techno-giants like SAP, now the world's largest provider of business software. Apple provides toys.

There is no doubt that immigrants, legal and illegal, are keeping wages down. None of the commenters want to admit that it's more than just the fact of an over-supply of workers. The immigrants work better, harder and faster than the local louts.

As for the comments accusing management of being vile traitors: Bite me. It's not your job, it's mine. You can tell me to stop outsourcing the day you stop using your cell phone ($ to Israel), stop shopping Wal-mart (Many goods from China) and generally promise that you'll buy my very expensive products if produced by your very expensive brethren.

As for the cries that the company, me, should educate you: Bite me. You had 12 years of baby school and a few years after that to learn on my dime, using the taxes I paid the while. You didn't do f*ck-all, you have no more skills than a rock and now you want me to spend more to teach you?

As for the comment that local wages are tending to the global mean, that's true. Even so, the local worker has an advantage in distance, language and self interest. Of course I'd rather my money stayed local, you think I'm an idiot? This commenter finished with a reverential reference to the lunacies of Marx. Neither he, nor anyone else mentioned Ricardo, probably never heard of him.

Well, I'd rant on, but I have work to do, jobs to kill and send to the orient, workers and their babies to be cooked and eaten, and so on.

Anonymous said...

IMHO the execs involved may be SOBs, but Steve's complaining about wages is not a basis for good career planning. Yeah, wages may suck and go down in the future due to offshoring, that is, when they are not going up due to military keynesianism or overseas currency problems or general modern chaos. But what should really matter is having a trade with the potential to keep you useful and employed for the foreseeable future. Low wage is worse than high wage, but a lot better than the zero wage you find in the ranks of OWS.

As a freelance programmer I don't earn much, but being able to do paid work and get better in my trade is a better lot than having nothing to do. I guess mechanical trades may be harder to find work in (can't work through the internet) but they also might be more resilient to economic problems. All that hardware does need to somehow run.

This fscked generation of ours might not afford household formation, but men still need a way to make a living, even if a small one.

Anonymous said...

You need nationalism first before you can have any sort of nationalist economic policies.

With a diverse and ever diversifying population, you can't really have nationalism at the federal level in the US. You can have imperialism, and try to pretend like it's nationalism by calling it "civic nationalism" or some such, but it's not the same thing. It's a different animal.

And virtually all college grads, all of the professional and managerial class, are indoctrinated in neo-liberalism, which is vehemently against nationalism - politically, economically, culturally, etc. - and strives to maximize open borders.

Also many people who would otherwise be nationalist and support nationalist economics in an environment populated by their kin see more and more aliens around them and subconsciously become supportive of neo-liberal policies that can enrich them, their immediate family, their class at the expense of the population at large which is increasingly alien.

Svigor said...

Yep. For the white working class, the normal benefits of a strong work ethic(protection from layoffs, raises, promotions) have all pretty much disappeared due to offshoring and EEOC enforced discrimination.

This theme appears over and over. There's probably a book in there somewhere, about how Whites & males are expected to keep paying the costs, even as the rewards vanish.

Svigor said...

And they don't mind bringing in tons of illegals to take jobs what whites are unwilling to do.

This should always serve as a red flag that screams "I'm full of shit!!! Ignore me!!!"

There is no such animal.

There are Mexican families who make a pittance but stay together and do succeed.

This should be another red flag screaming "I'm full of shit!!!" It comes down to social arbitrage: "Mexicans are from a society where living 10 to a home and carpooling with a single vehicle is a step up, therefore, they must be a superior human beings." Of course, we know with 100% certainty the guy waving this particular red flag is not a Mexican (he's boosting either "cognitive elites" or oligarchy, or both). There's loads and loads of work he won't do, making him inferior by his own metric...

Entitlementality is bad for any people.

Here we agree; the red-flag-wavers' sense of entitlement to slave-labor must be utterly smashed. Their sense of entitlement to open borders and the end of Nations must be utterly smashed. Something tells me they'll have to be smashed for that to get done.

But even two people making shitty wages are living much better than most people around the world... or people in the past.

Oh, it's you again, the anonymous oligarch-worshipper (or more likely, yet another disingenuous foreigner presenting what's good for him and his kind as what's right for the America and the Universe). Yes, today's oligarchs are much richer than they've ever been. They have enough. Today's Mexicans are living better than Mexicans have ever lived - so no need to open our borders to them. Chinese and Indians are wealthier than they've ever been, so, they don't need to come here.

We have short memories.

Haha. I love the "we" thing, very cute. There is no "we." There's us, and then there's you. And no "we" includes both.

Our rotten culture has no sense of discipline, self-restraint, obligation, etc. Girls are raised by pop culture to whores, guys are raised to be morons.

Do I really need to translate this one for anyone? It's "our" rotten culture...but not his. He's a hyena looking to pull some flesh off the corpse.

Svigor said...

What's changed is the population and government, not the profit motive.

Look, if I'm being taxed to fund a big gov enforcing all kinds of nanny-state regulations and costs, why should I look favorably on "fair competition" from countries exploiting the fact that they don't have the same regulations and costs? It's arbitrage. It should be protected against. If our bankers and executives want to do business in these slave plantation economies, they should live there, too. At the very least, they should be taxed to compensate for the arbitrage, not rewarded for it.

RECIPROCITY is far more important than any of the red herrings. E.g., I am not ideologically attached to high regulatory burdens, or low regulatory burdens. What I am attached to is the idea of RECIPROCITY. If the other guy operates in a place run like a slave plantation, he doesn't get to come over here and sell his wares as if he's paid the same dues I have.

Nice post, but as usual the comments interest me more with their mass of wild-eyed socialism, protectionism, nationalism and ignorance.

I wonder how long "socialism," "protectionism," "nationalism," and "ignorance" are going to serve to knee-jerk the American idiots (AKA "conservatives") into obediance? They're looking a bit worn.

"Protectionism," like "isolationism," is just a word for a good idea that's been saddled with extraneous baggage by people who hate good ideas.

There is no doubt that immigrants, legal and illegal, are keeping wages down. None of the commenters want to admit that it's more than just the fact of an over-supply of workers. The immigrants work better, harder and faster than the local louts.

Because they come from shitholes. That's what these "better" people create for themselves, in their homelands. They're so desperate to escape the shitholes their kind creates, that they'll work their fingers to the bone. Yes, I'm sure recently-freed slaves worked hard, for low wages. Yippee for recently-freed slaves, and their concomitant - slavery.

As for the comments accusing management of being vile traitors: Bite me. It's not your job, it's mine. You can tell me to stop outsourcing the day you stop using your cell phone ($ to Israel), stop shopping Wal-mart (Many goods from China) and generally promise that you'll buy my very expensive products if produced by your very expensive brethren.

No one is suggesting that people shouldn't get ahead as best they can within the rules. We're telling you we want to change the rules. But you're here supporting the obviously crooked rules, so: bite us. It's one thing to cheat because the refs let you get away with it, and everybody's doing it. It's quite another to glory in the situation when it's ruining the sport.

Mr. Anon said...

"candid_observer said...

This kind of reminds me of Murray's complaint that today's white working class have lost their "work ethic" because they aren't so eager to take on jobs that pay a fraction of what their father was paid, don't have anything like the same benefits, and can go up in smoke at the employers' slightest whim, because no union protects them.

Charles, what you're asking for isn't a work ethic: it's resignation and surrender."

Good point. And why does no one ever bring up the work ethics of the managerial class? Hewlett and Packard probably worked much harder, and for far less money, to build Hewlett Packard, then Carly Fiorini did to gut it.

Eric said...

If our bankers and executives want to do business in these slave plantation economies, they should live there, too.

And when Samsung puts Apple out of business everywhere in the world but the US, what do you think the net job gain will be in the US? Will it even be positive?

I'm not sure how long living standards for unskilled workers could have been maintained at the 1970s level no matter what policies were in place. To maintain that wage gap we would have had to protect US labor from foreign competition while at the same time compete vigorously in foreign markets.

The cold war put us in a position to do just that and we did it, but the cold war power structure was always going to be a temporary state of affairs. The math is just so overwhelmingly in favor of people who are willing to work for a few bucks a day.

David Davenport said...

And speaking of German workers, as did the comment above, isn't it funny how the strong unions they enjoy haven't destroyed their manufacturing base, and people across the world want to buy their products?

..........

After seeing their country nearly destroyed by the struggle between labor and capital, Germans wanted labor peace at any cost. They gave a lot of power to the unions, but the unions reciprocated by behaving responsibly.

...


If D-land has some special manufacturing magic or kultur, why are Vokswagon Golfs for the North American market hecho en Mexico, and way are Passats assembled in Chattanooga? Workers at the VW factory in Tennessee start at $14.50 hour. Unions? Nope, it's non-union.

My point? Germany ain't immune to the undertow of global competition.

Mittelstand and techno-giants like SAP, now the world's largest provider of business software. Apple provides toys

And which firm has larger revenues from sales of tangible goods?

Also, I'm not sure that SAP is bigger than IBM, also though that's a minor quibble.

Another point to stick in the eyes of Germanophiles here: the quality and reliability of VW, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche cars usually is less than that of Japanese brands, according to the rather trustworthy *Consumer Reports* magazine.

David Davenport said...

They have no silicon valley.

Hence, they've got no Apple, Google, et. al.

The upshot is that Germany is simply no longer a TRUE first rank industrial power.


Let me chime in with that.

Where is Germany's leadership in microelectronics or biotechology, including genetic engineering?

Where is Germany in aerospace or in nuclear power for generating electricity?

Germany -> a tall midget compared to Russia, France, or UK.

Making friends all over! :0]

P.S. -- I must admit I sincerely admire Cerac machines that make dental crowns while the patient waits. I think Cerac is Deutsche.

Anonymous said...

Fred Z,
David Ricardo pontificated about 'comparative advantage' ie nations specialise in exporting the goods they are best at producing.
What we have today is labor arbitrage, which is something completely different and never what Ricardo advocated.
Ricardo wrote about exporting such goods as coal, cotton, wool etc, things that some nations can produce efficiently and others cannot.
Labor arbitrage merely means racing wages to the bottom by transferring all paid work to the lowest possible location.This does nothing to 'enrich' the nation shorn of industry.Yes, goods might be 'cheaper' but that state is drained of all value added wealth producing industry - anything in fact that employs people and creates wealth.

Bill said...

The rise of China is MUCH more threatening to Germany and France than it is to America.

Seemed like the guys at the Siemens headquarters I lived next to in BJ were happy enough, but maybe they were just displaying that entirely typical Teutonic lack of concern for the bottom line...

Anonymous said...

"So, why would you invest in getting trained (typically, on your own dime), when executives have been boasting to Wall Street for years about how they'll offshore your future job the moment you start to make real money?"

Even better it helps explain why they have zero interest in training their own workers. That might cost money that would otherwise go to the pile.

Anonymous said...

"But even two people making shitty wages are living much better than most people around the world... or people in the past. We have short memories. We think only of post-war boom, but in fact, even low-wage people today are making better wages and have more benefits--through welfare, taxed income credit, etc--than most people in the past. And working class jobs were dangerous and low-paying prior to 8 hr work day, safety standards, and all that.
Though it's not easy to get by on low-wages, it's far from impossible either, especially if government pays you extra for working. And for poor people, there's free healthcare and all that stuff. And whole bunch of stuff are available to even poor people: microwave ovens, cell phones, etc. Look at the Gordon Gekko in Wall Street with a giant clunky phone. Today, poor folks can afford topnotch cellphones. "

We are rational status creatures, not rational economic ones.

"The immigrants work better, harder and faster than the local louts."

Their kids however don't seem to be getting their hard work genes for some reason. What might that be? I'd rather not fill my country with unemployed and unemployable minorities in your quest for cheap labor.

Anonymous said...

"As for the comments accusing management of being vile traitors: Bite me. It's not your job, it's mine. You can tell me to stop outsourcing the day you stop using your cell phone ($ to Israel), stop shopping Wal-mart (Many goods from China) and generally promise that you'll buy my very expensive products if produced by your very expensive brethren."

I will clarify my earlier remark and state that I understand why you made the decisions you have, and that had you done things differently you'd have been wiped out. Greshams law in action after all.

Anonymous said...

Machinists and others like them do not need college degrees, nor is the training they need that extensive and long, that they'd need to go to school for training. Workers in these areas used to be trained on the job. In the '70s, I knew guys who got that training and performed those jobs. I come from a family, where, for example my dad was a sheet metal worker, I had an uncle who was a master plater, and so on. These are jobs where the skills are learned, while on the job, not at schools. China doesn't send it's workers for these jobs to schools, they learn on the job. These employers are lying, and feel they can get away with it, because most Americans don't know anything about these jobs or what these skills actually are.

Anonymous said...

"German firms do internalize a lot of their employee training through formal apprenticeship programs."

In my experience at a big German firm, they spend enormous resources in training apprentices, well aware that most of them will end up working for other firms.

Why do it, then? "Nachwuchs": ensuring the growth of a new generation of workers. Try running that philosophy by US-style management.

Cennbeorc

Jack Reylan said...

If securities rules applied to research grants, half the professulas would be in jail! Professulas, trial lawyers and union organizers are Obama's core constituencies. Universities, libraries, museums and other public beneficiaries extort their patrons to lobby on their behalf with taxpayer resources. They even encourage students to max out their loans and invest the proceeds so the school can up its total. Obama learned when he worked for Don Kent at tuition-funded Arms Race Alternatives, while denying admission to Young Americans for Freedom and the Social Democrats. Ted Markowitz used the Xerox 9700 to make fliers for the 1982 June 12th nuclear freezers, but persecuted students for smaller infractions. They destroyed a supply side hero like Jeff Bell! "UPI June 6, 1992 Sovern took over at Columbia after student protests of 1968 and New York's fiscal problems in the '70s resulted in less financial support for the school, a situation made more dire by recent federal government budget cuts. . . But Columbia will be looking for a new president in a period troubled by criticism for destroying records that were being reviewed for improprieties. Universities in general have been under greater scrutiny for how they charge the government for federally sponsored research." When Obama falls in 2010, we should go through the grant-grubbing Ivy Leagues with a flame thrower! Ivy League universities are not good at getting students jobs, only grants to be commie nutty organizers. If you are liberal, anything you do is inherently ethical for the cause, but if you are a conservative, and believe in GOD, family or business, your very moral fiber, even down to trivial autonomic responses, is subject to persecution as either dangerously criminal or the result of clinical illness. Bush 43 had two Ivy degrees and they treated him as stupid because he was conservative even though he had better grades and entrance scores and took a lot tougher courses than Gore. Professors are the ultimate molestor high priests because they extort and control your transcripts and your grants if you turn them in. Like a cult, they will make your children denounce you and everything you stand for as unworthy. The lowest level university bureaucrats offer the worst affectations. No business ever trusts such left wing graduates who don't believe in capitalism and become crooks because they are taught the only way business makes money is crooked so they seek to avenge their unemployability through their own crookedness. The universities consider real jobs and competition beneath them, so they want their little sissies to live off grants, even in the hard sciences or business. How many of their engineering professors have Professional Engineering certification? Almost none! They love foreign students who slave up and don't expect professors to actually work for the tuition, like Americans do. (Surely You Are Joking Feynman p 215 "If I ask you a question during the lecture, afterwards everybody will be telling me, 'What are you wasting our time for in the class? We're trying to learn something. And you're stopping him by asking a question'." ) No middle class parent should consider sending their kids there, because these schools will destroy your entire family. See Zac Bissonnette's Debt-Free U. In his 2010 book on universities (p35) Columbia provost Jonathan Cole brags that undergarduates and their parents are suckers who fund the platform from which professulas can then rape taxpayers with grants. This is why they created Obama - to rape the taxpayer. It is high time to force the professulas to only have corporate support for their research, then we wouldn't be gouged like global warming and nuclear winter.