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U.S. Losing Out to China, India

Posted August 28, 2008 8:12 AM

With the rising economic stature of Asia, which is now assuming many of the manufacturing roles formerly performed in the U.S., some are nervous that manufacturing in the U.S. will disappear, writes David Greenfield of Control Engineering magazine. The sheer numbers of engineering graduates boggle the mind: China produces 200,000/yr and India 120,000 vs the U.S.A.'s 70,000. How can the U.S. maintain its leadership position in face of such overwhelming odds? What do you think can be done?

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Guru
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#1

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

08/28/2008 11:01 PM

Don't worry my Dear. Though America is producing less number of engineers, they attract many engineers from India (and now China). Just see the statistics of nationalitywise statistics of various industry sectors, your worry will vanish in to blue. Quite good percentage of of engineers now working in IT industry in US is already Indians. Same is true for medical industry.

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#2

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

08/28/2008 11:46 PM

Adapt & go with the flow, or improve education

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#3

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

08/29/2008 1:15 AM

.."can the U.S. maintain its leadership position in face of such overwhelming odds? What do you think can be done?.."

Nations and humans shall be delinked, using wisdom(not engineering or business intelligence)from the effects of time.

If any culture has kept any concerns for humans then that country having dreamt such a culture have also kept the dreams of the rest of the world.

Once upon a time a group of 13 colonies somewhere in the west, dreamt of such a culture,earnestly, as read in history books, and nucleated upon it the glistening World of the 20th Century!

One should not chase on the hot trail of worldly people or their nations and become despaired, if at all, and reach from there..nowhere...doesn't matter whether it is a rich or a poor country..

...we can still have the human faculties and responsibilities not lost.. depite time gone..to track down in our own consciouness and rediscover the common roots in the Love of Godhead where the creation of equality for man and fellow earthly species truly exists for ever!

.."and thus this 'world ' under the same old God [can certainlly afford] a new birth of freedom and that the 'livelihood' of the people by the people for the people need not perish from the earth...

Let us substitute in that greatest expression ever, of 'human dream' ...the words: "world" and "lively hood " to formulate a better world for 21st century.

submitted with full honesty, great humilty and heavenly hope for the best ever!

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#4

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

08/29/2008 1:32 AM

Easy for Americans, if Bush minded man is in a seat.

Invade the country with more produce of Engineers, just as they did in Iraq for Oil (and now aiming Iran).... though thankfully not merged with US.

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#5

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

08/29/2008 7:51 AM

If boys and girls in U.S schools are not serious about the education (please read yesterdays blog about indiscipline in schools) then most of them drop out. If so few can afford very expensive college education, then how you expect them to complete engineering degrees. Parents can not afford to pay higher fees at colleges.Many kids leave their homes after finishing school and take up jobs which are meant for non graduates.

Anyhow vacuum is filled by engineers from India and other countries as they are very keen to rush to U.S to realize their American Dream but their children meet the same fate like any other Americans.

Suresh Sharma

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

08/29/2008 10:26 AM

well.... As I see it. A student goes to school half of his life to have a better education so he can get a better job and have a higher pay so he can live a better easier life. (and don't give me that bullshit I want to learn stuff, you know we need cash) In the U.S. most of the people don't need a education to live a better easier life because you can have other kind of bussinesses that can get you money without having a degree, and I mean a LOT of bussinesses not necessarily engineering!

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#6

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

08/29/2008 9:18 AM

"How can the U.S. maintain its leadership position "

I am missing something? I didn't know the U.S. was in a leadership position. From a global view isn't the U.S. more viewed as the nieghborhood bully than a leader?

Sorry... not trying to bash the U.S.A. I just don't see it.

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

09/04/2008 12:12 PM

Well, you've been mindlessly listening to the haters, and not doing a lot of traveling to other countries?

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#8

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

08/29/2008 11:41 AM

My mind is a little foggy regarding the history, but I seem to recall that there was great concern in the late 1950's about the higher quality products arriving on American shores from a new Germany arising from the ashes. Then, sometime in the 1960's, popular opinion of Japanese products changed dramatically, and there was concern that the Japanese were going to bury American industry (an interesting sidebar- have a look at the number of Japanese companies in a variety of industries that have moved manufacturing to the US). Then, later, I don't remember exactly when, there was the same concern over Korea.

The United States is still the biggest market for manufactured goods that has ever existed. It is good for the world that other countries/cultures aspire to the level of quality required to market products to the US.

With regards to immigrant engineers, the US is a society built of immigrants. Bringing others from other cultures enriches the resource base. This can only be good.

So why do anything?

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#9

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

08/29/2008 5:07 PM

Whenever one tries to compare "sheer numbers" with China they are on a fools errand.

Those "engineers" would most likely be predominately "technicians" as we would use the term in the west. Translations are always an issue, especially when guanxi or "face /prestige" is involved..

And many of those are via local provincial "institutes" of unknown provenance.

China (and India) are certainly capable of graduating excellent engineers, indeed I have met many, and China especially is a force in manufacturing, but 200,000 to 70,000 engineers is not apples to apples comparison.


And the number of "correspondence school masters in engineering requests for thesis topics" coming to CR4 from overseas doesn't tell me much positive about the level of education in those courses. There was a Duke study on this subject in 2005 or 2006 but I can't seem to find it on their website.

I have a number of client companies that are making high value high precision parts here in the US which are being exported to CHINA for ASSEMBLY.

China excels in high quality low cost assembly.

That may statistically be considered "manufacturing," but by that standard, so would making tacos at taco bell...

That has been my gripe with the detroit auto"makers" who have really got out of manufacturing and now are just assemblers for the most part, buying kits and assemblies from suppliers.

"Manufacturing" ain't just "assembly" and "technician" just ain't "Engineer."

I'm sleeping well nights. I welcome the higher standard of living globally that has resulted from all people getting to work at higher and better use than poverty and subsistence agriculture. Ultimately, to harvest peace, we need to plant economic justice. When everyones children have the same access to quality of life, through what we ALL manufacture, it will be a better world. RIght now, they think that heavy dirty industry is a better life compared to subsistence agriculture. And the US and EU mommies and daddies surely don'y have those jobs in mind for their kids. WHo wants their pride and joy to work in a coke plant or slag crusher these days? In China it is a way out of poverty.

May G-d Bless them. I don't begrudge anyone the rewards of their hard work.

milo

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#13
In reply to #9

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

09/08/2008 9:59 AM

While I can't say anything on the Chinese scenario, I don't think the number of engineers produced by India is something to worry about. Quality has been given the boot right from the school level.Political expediemcy has ensured that even the country's premier institutes - the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management have to admit candidates based on reservations for different communities. All other engineering institutions are known to have dilute standards of admission (the ability to pay capitation fees is the preferred selection criterion) , teaching ( if you are good you join IT or some industry not the teaching profession) and evaluation. Ultimately since most such 'engineers' fail to impress the private industry, they seek recourse in government employment, again based on communal reservation and certain gifts for favours recieved(!). Here again, the government is contemplating forcing such job reservations in the private industry, after all are they not using the facilities of the land - water, power, etc?

While we do produce excellent engineers, they are not in large numbers. A marked proof of my statement, is the overhyped software and ITES segment, in which the Indian workforce is pretty strong. However, this is beacuse of the anomaly of the US, where work involving pretty low intelligence or knowledge or skills still commands a high pay if the employee is an American. Work involving deep technical knowledge (of hardware or software) has rarely succeeded in India (just a handful) and has generally returned to the US. One such rare case is that of Tektronix Instruments.

Political machinations apart, the facilities available in India can rarely if ever match those abroad, mainly because we cannot afford to buy and maintain the same.

In conclusion, the number of engineers churned out are no threat to the US.

- Bala C.

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#11

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

09/04/2008 1:05 PM

Well, lets look at this from a dilution perspective. If you take the population of China, India and the US (from Wikipedia) and divide the numbers out on the back of a sheet of paper (and hopefully don't make 5th grade arithmetic mistakes) you get the number of engineers per person. These are very rough numbers of Engineers per the general population: India: 1/9000, China: 1/6500, US: 1/4000. So not too shabby for the US.

But the shear number of Engineers or even the % of the population is not the important issue. Keeping an edge is a function of how free a society is and how efficient those engineers can work. You need engineers, but you also need an environment of entrepreneurship. That is what gave the US an edge to begin with.

If they cannot work because the business climate is too socialist (Remember the old CCCP?) you don't necessarily get the benefit of those engineers. Both China and India have opened up their economic model over the last few years and they are booming.

So, as long as we are "laissez faire" we should have engineering folks from all over beating down the door to get in. And no reason to panic.

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#12

Re: U.S. Losing Out to China, India

09/05/2008 5:04 PM

A lot has to do with the living standards in each country, the food costs and such. The U. S. is still the nicest and freest place to live, in my opinion, although there are some places with better weather or scenery. When Africa comes out of its tribal ways and dictatorships, India and China will cry about losing manufacturing jobs to Africans who will work for less. The U. S. is losing manufacturing jobs, but most of the technical and design work is still done here. Engineers and professional people from around the world come to America for a better life and more freedom.

Still we must completely revamp our educational system to better meet the educational needs of our children. The old model of the government schools, supported by a local tax base and controlled by politicians has failed. Too little of education is practical or even basic knowledge, it has been dumbed down and taught to the tests. The main aim should not be to prepare every child for college and those less capable just be left behind. We need to start vocational education in the 7th year and then divide into Technical College or Academic College tracks starting with the 10th year. Bring in formal apprenticeship programs for all. Keep it flexible enough that someone who really wants to can change tracks.

Tariffs can be used to overprotect a nation's industry or to make the local industry capable of competing against lower labor costs. With modern computers tariffs could be rapidly adjusted to make the Chinese radio sell for the same price as the American radio of identical design in the U. S., tariff money could also be used as a subsidy to lower the price of the American radio so that it would sell in China for the same price as the Chinese radio. Level the playing field and everyone benefits.

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