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Protecting wages and industry in this county could cause more than
international problems.  Like or not, international problems tend to turn
into national problems.  We protect our industry and wages, so other
countries do the same.  Now, some of our industry that we are now
protecting lose business because they cannot effectively compete in other
countries because they are protecting their own industry.  This already
happens.  Take the memory chip example.  There are accusations
that South Korea "protects" their memory chip makers, which then makes it
difficult for U.S. chip makers to compete.

You also ask who causes industry to move out...then supply an
answer...only part of the answer, if you ask me.  You say that
stockholders are the cause, which I agree with.  To begin with, keep in
mind that basically includes just about EVERYONE in the U.S. these days.
Don't you move your retirement money to different mutual funds if they
don't perform to your satisfaction?  But, beyond that, I also say that
consumers/customers are also partly to blame as well as the companies
themselves.  Customers want things cheaper (and faster).  We like the idea
of getting a good deal on a new computer or car.  Yet, it bothers us that
the company is maybe using methods like shipping work overseas to save the
costs in order for us to get that good deal.  As an example (admitted a
relatively poor one), you have been quite vocal in your belief that things
like code books and other technical publications should be either free or
significantly cheaper.  So, if ACI were to abuse the H1-B visa program to
hire staff engineers, etc to do the work necessary to produce their
technical documents at lower expense, would that work for you?  After all,
you would get your publications for less money, but then you would
probably scream about the Americans losing their jobs at ACI.

Don't get me wrong, there are TONS of things that companies do that waste
money, including overpaying CEOs amoung other things.  So, I agree whole
heartedly that many times companies would be better off trimming some dead
wood at the top than outsourcing work to presumably cheaper foreign
workers.  But, that does not change the fact that we as consumers have a
major influence over where things go.  If we demand cheaper products
(which might be due to the lower pay that we are can be a
vicious cycle), then we have to realize that this might mean more work
going overseas or more (presumably) cheaper labor coming here.

The problem that I always have is the everyone wants to do the quick and
easy solution.  They don't exist.  I admit that I might suffer from some
"decision paralysis", but the reality is that these are complex issues
where blundering in by doing quick fixes may in fact cause more harm.  We
tend to like to distill them down to nice simple little packages, but in
doing so we may be creating more problems in the future that might even be
worse.  Take the whole concept of Bush's tax cuts.  I understand the idea
of cutting taxes to spur capital growth.  While may not completely buy the
idea that giving such breaks mainly to the richest people in the country
will likely spur capital growth, it does have some merit.  But, then on
the otherside of the issue is the simple fact that the federal government
is by far the biggest customer of private companies in the country.  So,
if you take money away from the federal government that it would have
spent on obtaining services from many different private companies, how
many companies will suffer due to the lost work?  What long term impact
will this have on the economy?  While I certainly don't know, I doubt even
Nobel winning economist know with any certainty either.

But, hey, what do I know...I am just a dumb (underpaid) structural
engineer! <grin>


Ypsilanti, MI

On Mon, 10 Nov 2003, Dennis Wish wrote:

> We are a fairly integrated society - a melting pot and we protect this.
> Protectionism in the U.S. is not intended to protect any one culture or
> religion - it is intended to protect American Laborers who are citizens
> of this country whether they gave their oath today or through their
> great grandparents one hundred years ago.
> You are correct that by protecting industry and wages in this country
> will cause international problems. I agree with this as many of the
> large companies moved their corporate offices outside the U.S. and this
> becomes one of the first signs that industry started in the U.S. is
> easily sold off to the highest bidder.
> So who is it that is causing industry to move out - it is the
> shareholders of the stock of these publicly traded companies that will
> only hold their shares as long as profits meet reported expectations.
> For this reason they need to develop lower paid wages in countries like
> Liberia and Libya which may be the next resource for low income wages.

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