Good points, Dave. What I was talking about is the lack of restraints on manufacturing, particularly indigenous manufacturing. While there are environmental regulations on manufacturing, they are not enforced. There is also very little enforcement of IP regulations. Those two areas alone give China an advantage we can't match.
@Rob: Actually, there is tremendously more bureaucracy and regulation in China than there is in Europe or North America. In spite of the reforms of the past couple of decades, it's still a socialist country with a centrally planned economy. China ranks far lower on the World Bank's ease of doing business index than the United States, Canada, Mexico, or any European country except Greece. Companies don't move to China because of the ease of doing business; they move there because of low wages.
BillFZ1, I wasn't thinking in terms of government regulation so mush as government support for business. But you have a good point. Certainly China does not face nearly the same level of regulation as we see in North America and Europe.
Rob, I respectfully disagree. The playing field can be leveled, or at least close to by having the non-technical goverrnment politicians get the heck out of the way of american manufacturing. I live in California where the effect of too much government is obvious. People and manufacturing simply move away. The federal government needs to get a clue from this. Interfere too much and ANY company will go off-shore. Monitor an industry but don't interfere and production will return. I have personally seen a repetitive job leave a manufacturer I was working at durring the 1970's. It went to Singapore. That same manufacturer brought the job back to the US to have a more responsive manufacturer and make less scrap! Now it is likely that the return would not happen because of stifling goverment regs. Bill J
I agree, ChasChas, but keeping the playing field level when we're competing with countries that receive heavy assistance from their governments. There is now way a democratic system like our would ever be able to match the government involvement of non-democratic countries such as China. So the playing field in many ways will never be level.
Patrick Dixon has it right. The government should protect our rights and property. In so doing this, the present government needs be a better watchdog by keeping the politcal and financial playing fields more level. The rest should work itself out.
Yes, we have to keep options the open. Free or open market is a good for all sort of business, especially in an economic slowdown time. This may help the companies to make use of maximum benefits and hence in turn a superior quality product at an affordable price.
Right now, the prime predator is China. Flooding the U.S. with inferior goods. Especially in machine tools. Features are often so inferior, they cannot be considered "agile manufacturing". Deliberate attempt to cripple U.S. industry at all levels. From home workshop to the biggest corporations. Management of U.S. companies dealing with China do not seem to see the inferiority of the Chinese tools or just don't care. Not useful to those in business or those at home trying keep things running. Some protection from bad Chinese products and underselling of U.S. business is in order.
Alex: I believe our country gets long-term benefits from, as you've described it here, funding of research, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I get worried, though, when our government officials start picking winners in private industry. As Jon Titus points out, their track record with Solyndra and Ener1 would suggest that they're not particularly well-qualified to be doing that.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.