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Old 05-28-2020, 06:26 PM
 
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Can't add much but Asians take the long view on things. Americans have the attention span of gnats and what results are you going to get with a crackhead trying to solder a component onto a motherboard?
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Old 05-28-2020, 06:30 PM
 
Location: southern california
58,764 posts, read 77,664,847 times
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Americans don’t want to pay American wages -everything moved to Asia and huge increase in cheap illegal labor Immigration
Started in 1968 With exodus of steel mills and auto plants
Wages in USA 52 years years behind the economy
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Old 05-28-2020, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
5,409 posts, read 1,986,200 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blisterpeanuts View Post
Since the late 1990s, nearly all high tech devices have been manufactured in Asia, initially in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, later in mainland China, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Why has this happened, and is it likely that some electronics manufacturing might come back to the West? What obstacles might be preventing this?

I have my own theories, based on general knowledge of current events, but I'm not in the hardware business (well, actually I do work for a company that manufactures various types of devices with factories worldwide, but I'm not on the hardware side).

It seems to me that Westerners have a pretty good grip on research and invention, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of steadily engineering, assembling, and improving fundamental components, we lack long term focus.

The Asians, however, seem to have the patience to do repetitious, detailed work like soldering chips and other parts into tiny circuit boards. Also, they now have almost a total monopoly on chip foundries and other fundamentals of electronic products like LED displays.

This last part puzzles me the most. Why can't someone set up a plant to make LED displays in, say, Florida or Arizona, that is equally competitive, given that the components don't require tremendous hand work? Literally, it could be a machine etching or extruding some kind of material with an almost completely automated process.
Americans are lazy, they expect to make middle management money for mfgering work.
The unions drove mfgering jobs to China.
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Old 05-28-2020, 06:38 PM
 
5,963 posts, read 1,755,840 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blisterpeanuts View Post
Since the late 1990s, nearly all high tech devices have been manufactured in Asia, initially in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, later in mainland China, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Why has this happened, and is it likely that some electronics manufacturing might come back to the West? What obstacles might be preventing this?
Intel still has Fabs in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Massachusetts.

GlobalFoundries (spun out from AMD) still has fabs in Vermont and New York.

"Coming back" is probably a non-starter; it is unlikely a company would close existing factories overseas. "Expanding in the West" might have a shot - as new capacity is needed, it could be located in the West -- IF. IF lots of things lined up.

Take high end semiconductor manufacturing. The semiconductor wafer fabrication plant, usually called a "fab" or sometimes a "foundry" manufacture things that are among the most complex devices ever created by Mankind, and are only >< that far away from magic. It costs anywhere from $6 Billion or $8 Billion up to $12 Billion to build a fab (doesn't cost materially less to build it elsewhere, and all the equipment inside is the same price around the world) - and it takes several years to build such a factory and install the semiconductor manufacturing equipment. A company that builds a fab is betting that there is a market for the products 4 years down the line once the fab comes online.

The jobs in fabs are good paying jobs - employees are scientists and engineers of various flavors, frequently with PhDs, and the work is intellectually challenging and interesting. Compensation for those scientists and engineers is well into 6 figures. These are good, upper-middle-class jobs.

Even with US labor rates, employee compensation is pretty much irrelevant to the decision on where to site the next Fab for the next generation of processors - the fixed capital costs swamp labor costs.

The bigger issue in site selection are a host of other things - stable access to utilities (fabs consume quite a bit of water and power), good inbound/outbound transportation (roads, rails, ports, airports) that are reliable, a stable political infrastructure, etc.

California has chased all the fabs out of Silicon Valley. The state doesn't want fabs because they consume a lot of water and electricity, and a bunch of nit-wits are worried about "chemicals" -- you know, the kind who're afraid because someone told them tap water contains measurable amounts of dihydrogen monoxide. "EEK! We need to get Big Corporations to get the dyhydrogen monoxide out of our drinking water!" (I'm not sure what's worse: that such people vote, or that they reproduce.) To add insult, when a Semiconductor purchases the equipment to go inside a fab (steppers, etc) California decided, unlike everywhere else, to charge sales tax on those capital goods -- because, of course, it's a <yech> corporation.

Getting all the permits to build a new fab in the USA can take the better part of a decade, and even then it's not a given that the many governmental entities, each of which assert they have veto power, don't wake up on the wrong side of their collective coffins and just say "no." All manner of bed-wetters come out of the woodworks, complaining "OMG - this proposed Semiconductor Fab will bring traffic!" and "OMG - the newly hired employees for this Fab will bring children, and our schools are already overcrowded!" and "OMG - Air Pollution from the cars! Our precious snowflakes!" or my perennial favorite, "OMG - ITS A CORPORATION!!!"

None of that pearl-clutching exists overseas. Unlike the US, they are eager to win the status of having such a high end technological wonder in their country and see it as a source of National Pride. Unlike the US, foreign governments bend over backwards to attract new semiconductor fabs. Unlike the US, they shower the semiconductor companies with tax incentives, tax holidays, reduced-price electricity, a million credit-hours at local universities to train employees, expedited & dedicated import/export licensing & customs, secure high speed connectivity, etc etc etc etc etc.

Unlike the US, Foreign nations actually *want* the fab. They know it is a bit analogous to an anchor tenant in a shopping mall (remember those things?) They realize it is a springboard to economic development, and realize it will attract other tech companies so the nation can develop its own tech ecosystem. It diversifies their economy. It is a good thing.

Contrast that with the US: The US makes it has hard as possible to build a major semiconductor fab. Expedited import/export licensing? Hell no. Expedited customs? Hell no. Tax incentives? Hell no. Improved transportation infrastructure? Hell no.

In the US, governmental entities view a major semiconductor fab as a source of tax revenue to be squeezed and milked and publicly scorned for the sin of, you know, trying to make a profit. Even worse, politicians spew the word "corporation" as if it were more vile than a convicted serial pedophile rapist.

***
So -- what's it take?

1) Tax incentives - that's not going to happen given the financial pressures of the Coronavirus. Governments want money coming to them, not flowing away from them.
2) Sane, streamlined, permitting - that's not happening as long as there are fringe groups to elbow their way to the table.
3) Infrastructure for transportation, utilities, and the like - governments won't have the money for this.
4) A "Corporate Welcome Mat" - this may be the hardest barrier of all. Can you imagine shrill Elizabeth Warren rolling out a welcome mat? How about Bernie Sanders? Joe Biden?

***

The following really happened about 15 years ago. Intel Corporation was looking for a site for an assembly/test manufacturing facility - this is where they take the wafers from the Fab, cut them up into their individual processors called "die", test them to see if they actually work, and package up the good ones while destroying the bad ones.

Vietnam was on the short list. Vietnam said, "Here's the location we would have you build your factory. It has everything you asked for."

Intel looked and said, "Yes, it has everything we asked for, but if we wish to expand in another 5 years, there isn't enough space. There's some adjacent space here, but then there's a river, and the extra space up to the river isn't enough."

Vietnam said in response, "No problem. We'll move the river out of the way."
And they did.

Can you imagine what would happen in the USA if someone suggested moving a river - so the greatest semiconductor corporation in the world could build a factory???

Last edited by RationalExpectations; 05-28-2020 at 08:02 PM..
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Old 05-28-2020, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Florida
2,674 posts, read 1,214,616 times
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The simplest answer to your question is that American consumers decided they didn’t want to pay twice as much for American made electronics as those made in Asia.
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Moving?!
503 posts, read 156,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TestEngr View Post
Doing things without labor abuse, chemical dumping, and under/Un-employment are worth it my friend. Yes, people I know in India and China if they live long enough plus go without cancer, will be glad if all the dumping chemicals and labor abuse goes away by paying the extra $60 when they look back in centuries from now. Look at slavery in the US, was it truly worth it today to have done all that so that in the short run cotton was cheap back then? That is close to what you are saying. Oh sure you will say you are not saying that at all, but reality is it is close to it even if the people there get better wages then they would have otherwise.

Fancy engineering stats. I graduated electrical engineering in the 80's, I read the undergraduate program I went to had 12 graduates a few years ago. When I graduated they were close to 200. Not sure where all the EE's are getting jobs though I suspect it is mostly foreign students in those stats versus the 80's when only a few didn't already have a green card or US citizenship. I lived near several tech universities and did activities in the IEEE student group (about 5 people), nobody I heard from got a clear EE regular industry job that I heard. Most of the foreign graduates you have in those stats did get jobs back in their country when they went back I bet.

It is about being fair to ourselves here in the US. Nothing else. We should realize the lessons of US slavery and turn against abusive justifications of cheap labor and environmental abuse. Sure it isn't marked as slavery in todays world but a world power like the US, what we can't help but being abusive around the world? In a couple hundred years wait till the books write about this era, it will call the relationship the US currently has in overseas abusive I am quite certain. I want none of it. Just being fair to who we are, if we are truly world leaders we don't need those abusive relationships and they will appreciate it if we don't do that in the future.
Hey, by all means go lobby the Chinese and other countries to clean up their act. I'm just saying, duplicating the entire supply chain here in the States to serve 11% of the market wouldn't accomplish that.

If your alma mater department is actually graduating 90% fewer students now, that is a way bigger drop than the national average. Hope they figure out what's going on and correct it.

I'm not as confident in these figures, but it looks like students on temporary visas earned ~12% of bachelor's degrees in EE in 2015. Graduate degrees would be a different story.

https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2018/...-united-states
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:21 PM
 
455 posts, read 489,490 times
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No need to replace manufacturing jobs 1:1 since the population is declining. US fertility rate is around 1.7 which means population is decreasing.
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:47 PM
 
5,963 posts, read 1,755,840 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
Just to cut to the chase, there is no need for every nation to have every capability. We have the choice of making a de-facto global economy, driven into place by more than greed and treaties, work better and with continual adjustment and improvement, or retreating to a nationalized economic model in which we have less that is more poorly made and costs more...
Therblig, very well said.

At the same time, I think this pandemic has taught us, however, about the downside of relying upon an international supply chain for certain types of things, where those foreign governments can and have just swooped in and said, "no mechanical respirators for you!" like the Soup Nazi said to Elaine. Or was it Kramer? No, it was to George first, then Elaine.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Guadalajara, MX
7,492 posts, read 3,644,311 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuero View Post
US fertility rate is around 1.7 which means population is decreasing.
Well, except for the inconvenient fact that it isn't.

So let's think... where did your analysis fail on the conclusion?
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:44 PM
 
4,516 posts, read 3,907,405 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuero View Post
No need to replace manufacturing jobs 1:1 since the population is declining. US fertility rate is around 1.7 which means population is decreasing.
Actually, the U.S. population is still growing, but mainly from immigration. You are correct that the birth rate is crashing, especially the last year or so.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, if the immigrants are the right labor force for an expanding manufacturing sector.

When managers of product companies are saying, "We can't locate a new plant or factory here because there's not enough skilled workers" then we know we have a big problem.

For decades, our K-12 schools have been behind in math and science, and now we're paying the price. Fewer native-born Americans go into the technical fields, which are dominated by foreign students, particularly in graduate school. We have to hope these students decide to stay in the U.S., but increasingly, they go home. 30 years ago, Chinese people were staying in the U.S. whenever possible, but now they're returning to China, for example.

I think RationalExpectations pretty much summed it up. We have an anti-business culture today, a product of 60s radicalism, union activism, and the shear stupidity of many of our corporate leaders.

When G.M. was losing $40 billion in one year, shouldn't the CEO have declined his fifty million dollar salary? There was that famous fiasco where Pres. George H.W. Bush went to Japan with the top U.S. auto makers in 1989 to try and convince the Japanese to buy more American cars; the Japanese mocked them savagely, pointing out that if a Japanese company was bleeding like that, the CEO would resign in shame.

So to sum it up, manufacturing has dried up in the U.S. because of:

- cultural reasons (factories are hard work, require skills no longer taught in school)
- anti-business attitudes (Sixties hostility toward working for "the man", NIMBY no factories in our neighborhood please)
- regulatory strangulation
- taxation
- liability and lawsuits
- lack of skilled work force
- Asians fanatically dedicated and competitive
- bad management

Am I missing anything? Somehow, despite all of these obstacles, there has been a bit of a renaissance in American manufacturing in recent years.

Furthermore, the virus has given a renewed push to "made in USA", especially versus "made in China" which is practically a dirty word now if you read the social media. Sure, over time this anger will subside, but a lot of people are asking how we could have become so dangerously dependent on a frenemy for even substances like ibuprofen.
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