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Re: Design via Internet (India & Mexico)

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I agree with your thoughts.

Maria I. Falconi
Guayaquil, Ecuador

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Brown <mike.brown(--nospam--at)>
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)' <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Date: Friday, November 06, 1998 4:37 PM
Subject: RE: Design via Internet (India & Mexico)

>Dennis wrote: 
>"What choices does this family have other than bankruptcy, the need for
>second parent to seek employment to compensate for the lost wages, the
>to liquidate assets and return to renting rather than ownership or
>to chose a new field and be retrained."
>You forgot to mention the option to move to that part of the world where
>you can stay in your field of work and have your dollar go farther.
>That's exactly what I did, but within the U.S.  For me the cost of
>living in California was too high compared to the salary I was making.
>I was able to move to Idaho for a little less money, but have that money
>go a lot farther.  For example, I grew up in Santa Barbara thinking
>there is no way in my wildest dreams that I would ever afford to
>purchase my own home.  I had a house purchased in Boise, Idaho a month
>after I moved here.  I also did some research on the Internet to
>determine how much salary I would need to move back to California.  To
>move to San Francisco I would need about a 75% pay increase.  There is
>no way some one is going to pay me that much in the bay area (this
>amount would be about 2.67 times my age).  I would imagine the Los
>Angeles area has the same cost of living index.
>My point is that we already of economic differences within the United
>States.  Going global will have its benefits and will have its draw
>backs.  We'll just have to get used to it and adjust.  We just got to
>figure out what is important to us: how far our dollar goes or where we
>live.  Of course this is a very simplistic approach.  We got to keep in
>mind what our tax dollars are doing for us as well (this has to do with
>where we decide to live), paved roads, water, power supply, education
>(the biggest issue in my opinion), welfare, defense, etc.
>Don't forget, we are not stuck in staying in our current area of
>residency.  We do have the option to move.  Isn't that what our families
>did to get where we are now?
>Just an opinion.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Dennis S. Wish PE [mailto:wish(--nospam--at)]
>Sent: Thursday, November 05, 1998 9:52 PM
>To: seaint(--nospam--at)
>Subject: RE: Design via Internet (India & Mexico)
>Let me preface by apologizing to everyone who has participated on this
>thread. I lean more to the liberal side than conservative on most issues
>jobs. It is not my intention to deny reasonable competition anywhere in
>Your point about cheap labor is well taken, but from our perspective the
>labor rate is greatly different from that paid in this country.
>the standard of living is much higher here - which is the justification
>higher labor rate. I do not mean to imply less than adequate ability -
>a cost of labor that the United States can no reasonably compete with.
>As you pointed out "as you must be aware
>of, the standards of living can be very different from one country to
>another, so that what is considered rock-bottom engineering fees in the
>States can be actually pretty good somewhere else and afford you a
>graduate (like me!)."
>This is my point. The rate paid goes much farther in the country that
>refer - far enough for you to be able to save enough to attend Cornell
>complete your education based upon higher American rates (which I guess
>even pay a premium for being a foreign student). The difference is that
>few (if any) Americans can maintain the cost of living here and still
>enough for their children to attend Cornell. I would assume that the
>goes five to ten times farther in your country than it does in the
>If I were in your shoes, I would be doing everything I can to promote
>work from the United States.
>Give this some thought: What is the poverty level in your country (in
>dollars). In the United States the poverty level is encroaching upon
>$15,000.00 to $18,000.00 per year (the high end of the lower income).
>How well would you survive in your country if you earned $15,000.00 per
>from an American Employer?
>Let's assume that a family of three or four earns a net $30,000.00 per
>in the United States. The family purchases a home, pays for health
>and maintains the family automobile which has either been leased or
>but has payments left on the loan. In addition, let's assume that it
>$600.00 to $800.00 a month in food and staples (necessities such as
>paper, toothpaste, etc), $1,500.00 a year in property taxes, $2,500.00
>federal and state taxes (assuming the $30,000.00 is gross income) - plus
>cost for education, personal property insurance, automobile insurance,
>Automobile registration (about $300 and up in California for a new car
>year) etc.
>If this worker loses his job to competition outside of the United States
>could easily work for $10,000 per year less and afford to save $3,000 of
>for their child's college education.
>What choices does this family have other than bankruptcy, the need for
>second parent to seek employment to compensate for the lost wages, the
>to liquidate assets and return to renting rather than ownership or
>to chose a new field and be retrained.
>Maria, I am not implying that workers in other countries are any less
>capable - only that they offer an unfair competitive advantage that
>companies to move their labor forces out of this country. Most of the
>companies who lay people off are no longer American owned companies and
>therefore no longer loyal to the American workforce.
>You state: "Perhaps you should look in a more positive way: if I get
>and better paid work, my economy and thus my spending capacity will
>and I'll buy more American clothes, shoes, books, software, etc. so that
>YOUR economy improves."
>This is the argument used to justify NAFTA and GATT. Consider the
>consequences. In a previous paragraph you ask "Could you possibly afford
>buy things produced by American people?  No way. " You're right, but
>Americans can afford to by these goods since they earn more.
>Your previous argument has two serious flaws for American workers.
>First, we
>must sacrifice our existing standard of living to help yours improve.
>Second, Americans might no longer be able to afford products if their
>levels continue to fall and can't be compensated by an already dual
>family. The problem is not the cost of goods, but the cost of labor. The
>problem that seems insurmountable is what do we do when our indebtedness
>does not fall proportionately with our income? If we take a cut in pay,
>our mortgage lender reduce our principle to be in line with the change
>income, will property take fall, will health coverage be more affordable
>still offer the same services? Will our Doctors be willing to earn less,
>farmers sell food for less just so we can afford to eat?  Of course not
>this is not a proportional food chain we live in. No one wants to earn
>just because engineers and manufacturers decide to profit more by using
>cheaper labor. We jeopardize our homes, health care, transportation -
>all so
>your standard of living will increase.
>You also state: "It doesn't have to be all negative- if you're designing
>project overseas, say in India or South America, your engineering won't
>against the locals." Whoa, why not? If I have to take a cut in pay to
>your economy, why is it unreasonable for your country to pay more for
>American labor to help our economy?
>" But if you merge with a local firm and work together, you can produce
>well engineered product backed with local knowledge, at a competitive
>Just a thought."
>This is a very good point and one that would convince me to support a
>economic trade. However, you would need to overcome the transition
>before you can expect voluntary support. I did not support NAFTA and
>since it forces global trade down my throat by Government regulations -
>this was supported by many Republicans and Democrats alike. However, in
>example, we would be competing apples for apples based upon local
>that might require a foreign firm to absorb some of the higher cost of
>American labor.
>I object to doing local work (within the United States) and using
>labor just so I can profit more.
>Maria, put the shoe on the other foot. Assume that at some time in the
>future Americans are earning a fair wage of $1.00 per hour. Your fair
>is $6.00 per hour. Would you take a project in your home town and refuse
>hire local help in order to hire an American at $1.00 per hour just to
>the additional $5.00 per hour in your pocket? Personally I believe this
>be motivated by greed rather than competitive necessity.
>We are an imperfect society where corporations are bound by loyalty to
>stock-holders and greed rules over the responsibility of our workers. I
>understand this from a realistic position and believe that it is simply
>"Catch-22" that we have created. We build a workers standard of living
>to a
>point where he can afford and purchases the "American Dream" and he
>indebted in the process to cover his cost of necessities. He believes
>his well being is considered by his employer who then lays him off while
>hiring lower cost and equally competent labor. In the process, our
>condemns him for not being responsible and defaulting on  his debt. Even
>he recovers, he is marked for seven to ten years by bad credit ratings
>may not be able to rebuild what he lost.
>Today, I heard about three or four companies who are laying off another
>7-10,000 employees (sales people) during the Christmas season in order
>meet the stock-holders profit potential. Explain this to the families of
>these people as they approach Christmas.
>I hope you will understand my position. If we competed on a level
>field for ability, timing, economics of design or slight variations in
>rates - I would be supporting your statements. But as imperfect as we
>there are those who abuse the system (and these are the CEO's who must
>answer to their shareholders for the most part) and who do not want
>government intervention to protect American workers.
>I expect other countries with predominately higher cost of living have
>same concerns - Japan, Germany, England
>I thank you for your comments and hope you do not believe me to be
>or closed minded. I will admit I am wrong when American workers feel
>in their jobs despite unfair International competition.
>Dennis Wish PE