Can somebody explain to me WHY we don’t make TV’s in America anymore? Why we don’t make radios/MP3? Why we don’t make phones? Why we don’t make 90% of our cars anymore?
In Michigan we've been preaching to buy American made cars since the 1980s. The rest of the Nation hasn't been listening.
2 things - price and quality
As our standard of living has improved, everybody, myself included, wants it all. We want all the nice little toys for the kiddos. We want all the latest electronic gadgets. We want them cheap so we can buy more. Yes, greed. If we deny we are each greedy, we're living in dreamland.
Everybody knows that if 2 things are equal, the cheapest wins. So the big push for quality and low cost.
Early in the 70s and 80s, the chinese market could win on one - cost. Chinese stuff was crap. We laughed at it, and still bought some. But they were able to drive the quality up, and then we started buying it, because it was cheaper than what we make at home. Now they are a threat, and we're losing out to them because we didn't focus on cost.
And that's where the unions have hurt US manufacturing, because that cost was so high.
Plus...more US companies are now selling all over the world. It doesn't make sense anymore to have one manufacturing country, they can manufacture wherever now since they may want to manufacture closer to where they are selling.
I work for a Michigan plastics manufacturer. We have a huge push for 1. Cost and 2. Quality. There's a third push, and that is for locality. Most of our customers want their product to show up when they need it. We've actually been doing very well lately, plus we sell plastic parts to china, Germany, France, taiwan, mexico, and lots of other places. We make parts for GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Daiwoo . We're not union, and while we don't pay union wages, we do employ many people who need those jobs.
I'm in IT, and part of my job is to use technology to simply jobs and improve processes so that we don't have to hire extra people. Cost cutting allows us to cut prices, which in turn allows us to sell more stuff, which requires that we hire more people.
It comes down to innovation. Staying ahead of the curve. We haven't done that. We made the standard and then just sat back. From what I've heard, the Chinese are EXCELLENT at taking a process and replicating it. So they just need to copy what we've done and make it a little bit better, and they can win because of the labor costs.