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Re: Outsourcing - light commercial and high end residential

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Sorry Master Christopher,

I don’t know what came over me, and I apologize unconditionally for my behavior. I hope you will forgive me, as I know you are very kind hearted and always think good of us, in spite of us behaving like this sometimes. To prove further of my sincerity in my apologies, I have asked for forgiveness on each of the points raised by you to hammer in my imbecile head (here in black font)

This isn't a debate--unless parroting a lot of nonsense about capitalism is debating. And unless by capitalism you mean concentration of economic power in in the hands of a decreasing percentage of the world's population.  The use of cheap outsourced labor has nothing to do with 'the advantage of all the citizens of [our] country' and everything to do with buying low, selling high and ultimately putting your competition out of business. That ought to be obvious from all the screaming by outfits (like big steel) who preach 'free trade' when it comes to selling high, and 'unfair dumping' when their customers get the chance to buy low. So let's not get self-righteous about protectionism and free trade or giant sucking sounds when there are real issues to resolve.
I am sorry once again. I had tried hard to learn about logic, rationalism & capitalism, and for that I have read Aristotle, Descartes, Francis Bacon, Adam Smith, J.S.Mill, and so many others including Ayn Rand & Richard Bach. But obviously I have not been able to grasp the intricate concepts with my small & incompetent mind. You, Master, are obviously much more well-versed about these things, and I ask for forgiveness for thinking I know so much about laissez faire capitalism, free trade and so on. I hope your kindness will make you realize these concepts are very tough for an imbecile snake-charmer like me to understand.

Whining about protectionism ignores the fundamental issue of quality, assuming that cheap and quality are the same. Ignoring quality for the low bid brought us counterfeit bolts and 'forged' pressure vessel flanges that were actually cast and assembled with slugged welds. Laissez faire marketeering works fine for cheap shoes--if they squeak or don't fit you lose $20 and learn to shop elsewhere next time. With counterfeit bolts or ignorant designers millions are at stake and there may not be a next time.
I know, Master, you have nothing but good and kind intentions towards us third generation chimpanzees. You have devised WTO & GATT so you can send us pleasures like Coca Cola & Pepsi, MacDonald’s hamburgers and tasty Dominoes Pizzas, and Intel & Dell computers so we can play games to keep ourselves entertained, and also to provide us with arms like F16s so we can defend ourselves from second generation chimpanzees, and we are so grateful for your kindness. I think it is the Jack Daniels that you send us, that sometimes get on our heads and we start behaving in such an untoward manner, so I request you to please stop sending us Jack Daniels. 

This comes hard for a tax-and-spend Democrat like myself, but it's obvious that there are a great many offshore 'consultants' who simply don't meet any reasonable standards of competence. I follow a number of engineering mailing lists and  the tone of a great many posts from so-called senior engineers and designers tell me that many such offshore design offices clearly don't have the experience needed to meet US and European professional standards. Like the guy who dithered for days over a simple hoist becaause he couldn't draw a simple free body diagram. Or the questions about FEA of bolted joints by people who haven't a clue how a bolt works.

I have now started to realize Master that whatever you do is for our own good but we in our ignorance sometimes fail to understand that (same may be the case of you sending us Jack Daniels). This brings to my mind one incidence of a question posted by one of the other great Master Charlie Carter on July 14, 2003 on this great list, which was "Mixing bolt diameters in a shear connection would probably not work. How would the connection know how to send more load to the stronger bolts? This  same idea would apply to any group of bolts sharing load equally.". To which I had in all my ignorance replied “The connection is a structure too, which deforms in proportion to it's stiffness. So, in a connection it is not possible for a smaller dia bolt to deform more than a larger dia bolt (which it will have to, if equal loads are transferred to both the bolts). So the deformation will be governed by the larger dia bolt, which in turn will be the mechanism thru which the larger load (either shear, or tension/compression, or a mix of both) will be transferred to the larger dia bolt. Please note that I am not commenting on any codal provisions, practicality, or feasibility of the situation, but theoretically speaking, there should be no problem with mixing different dia bolts in a single connection, as the bolts will take loads in proportion to their respective capacities.” I realize now that it was a tongue in cheek attempt on my part to show off that I can know more than the great Masters, I stand corrected now. Maybe it was the case of too much of Jack Daniels once again, or maybe on of my chimpanzee friends had offered me pot to smoke, that my mind was so hazy that I tried to answer back to a great Master. Please forgive me.

What I see are people who have been taught to run FEA and CAD software assuming that the software does the design and interprets the analysis. Couple this with technically illiterate US corporate management and it's pretty obvious why design jobs are moving offshore, and it's got nothing to do with all the high-sounding complaints about free markets and protectionism. It also has has nothing to do with intelligence or work ethic and everything to do with a complete lack of understanding of providing engineering services to US and European standards. (I realize many foreign-born subscribers probably consider this a slander. I mean no slander--write me off-list and I'll apologize or give you an ear full, as warranted, with examples.)

It is not we, Master, as we are helpless. It is some other Masters like Bill Gates who have set up big offices here, employing thousands of imbeciles like us for what they say software development. I do not know, how we can do such complex work, but again we are so ignorant of your ways. Then other Masters came and they want us to detail steel & rebar, and now some are even asking us to design buildings in which you great Masters live. Oh! What a folly? But I beg, Master, it is not we, but the other Masters who are telling us to do such things. We are helpless, so I beg you to stop these other Masters from expecting us to develop software and design buildings.

The large problem facing engineering is the same as that facing manufacturing. As the US becomes a country of middle-men whose only ability is to buy low and sell high, we lose our ability to innovate and to build products that result from innovations.  We can make out OK buying cheap shoes from China although it's a shame that our industrial leadership can't dope out how to use an innovative high tech approach against sweatshops. But when our suits decide we can't afford to have a steel industry or an engineering profession, it won't be long before we're a second-class nation with a few rich stockbrokers riding herd on everyone else.
Capitalism, BTW, isn't about buying low and selling high or free markets--it's about ownership the means of production. Not a mention of it in the US Constitution, which is what gave the robber barons their start and why it was so tough bringing the worst of them to heel.
Christopher Wright P.E

As I have said above in my submissions, these are too complex issues for me, and I trust you fully, Master, as I know that what you do for us is for our own good. I only pray that you would continue to be good hearted, and not annihilate us from this earth, like in your anger you have done to Saddam Hussein and Iraq. I promise, I will always behave myself, please forgive me and other chimpanzees like me for our occasional trespasses. I also would like to take this opportunity to ask my fellow chimpanzee Ashwin to also desist from taking too much of Jack Daniels, and thus using such foul language against our benevolent Masters.

Your humble servant

Pankaj Gupta

Structures Online

India