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Out with Exporting, in with Local Investment

Posted December 31, 2008 8:21 AM

With a plunging U.S. economy leaking into the global markets, the same old routine won't survive. The best solution is to adapt. Without exports to rely on for the plastics industry, China has developed a stimulus plan to invest in its own infrastructure, housing, and transportation. Now Chinese plastics makers are prepping for the wave of new business in trains by making them lighter with composites, adding polyurethane seat cushions, and contributing nylon and thermoplastic elastomer to rail infrastructure projects.

Is China making the right decision to alter its investments — which affect plastics — toward industries within its own borders, rather than its traditional strength in exporting?

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#1

Re: Out with Exporting, in with Local Investment

12/31/2008 3:32 PM

Seems like they don't have a choice, if they want to keep the workforce that supports 1.3 billion folks employed and the government stable. Hopefully they'll use friendlier "green" plastics (no or minimal BPA, melamine, etc.), for the sake of their rail passengers. Now if only Amtrak would upgrade its rail cars, French TGV style, that would certainly take the edge off of using public rail transit here in the U.S. Guess I'll keep driving to Montreal to enjoy my Tim Horton's chocolate croissant, until that happens. - Larry

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#2
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Re: Out with Exporting, in with Local Investment

01/01/2009 7:41 AM

The biggest problem trains have out west is they never actually paid for themselves until we did the cargo/passenger split and created Amtrak.

One of the reasons the western states are such a checkerboard of land ownership was to finance the railroads, land given to the rail companies to be sold off to pay for the investment costs.

There isn't (in my limited knowledge) a passenger railroad in the world that runs without some form of government subsidy.

And I was pondering the other day why we would want to go back to rail; the instant we did they would have the same issues as the airlines.

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In reply to #2

Re: Out with Exporting, in with Local Investment

01/02/2009 3:03 PM

Hi edignan - I was predicting a few years ago that Amtrak would go under, since there wasn't much political will to keep it alive as a nationwide entity. But then $4 gas hit, the trains were packed, and I had to do a re-think. If we keep it alive, it would be nice to bring our trains and tracks up-to-spec, with the European and Canadian standards (smooth tracks, clean and comfortable interiors, WiFi, etc.). That TGV train from Brussels, Belgium to Paris, France was an amazing piece of 21st century technology, when I was travelling on it for business in 2003. Trains across Germany and the rest of Europe are amazing as well, and are little commercials (kinda like our Space Shuttles are) for those countries that maintain them so well. - Larry

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#3

Re: Out with Exporting, in with Local Investment

01/01/2009 5:21 PM

long over due; Ike did the same thing with US economy only built interstate highways. why have 20 kilos of plastic in a million cars when you could use 20000 kilos to carry a million passengers?

milo "Back of the envelope calculation, be gentle please."

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#5

Re: Out with Exporting, in with Local Investment

01/28/2009 12:49 PM

I think the local investment should be in small companies who could buy new or used machine tools and have a way to employ a small amount of people who can make small quantity runs. If that group was organized properly, they could create a buying group that would be close-to-competitive with larger metal and plastics buyers. There are many "retired or ready to retire" individuals who could run a small company profitably without devoting a lot of time to it.

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