21 de março de 2012

Indústrialização e globalização - algumas leituras

Fui colecionando, a este propósito, alguns artigos. São todos muito interessantes, e carreando muito material para reflexão: o bold é meu .

It is hard to estimate how much more it would cost to build iPhones in the United States. However, various academics and manufacturing analysts estimate that because labor is such a small part of technology manufacturing, paying American wages would add up to $65 to each iPhone’s expense. Since Apple’s profits are often hundreds of dollars per phone, building domestically, in theory, would still give the company a healthy reward. 

But such calculations are, in many respects, meaningless because building the iPhone in the United States would demand much more than hiring Americans — it would require transforming the national and global economies. Apple executives believe there simply aren’t enough American workers with the skills the company needs or factories with sufficient speed and flexibility. Other companies that work with Apple, like Corning, also say they must go abroad. [....]

Wages weren’t the major reason for the disparities. Rather it was costs like inventory and how long it took workers to finish a task. [....]

In the past decade, the flow of goods emerging from U.S. factories has risen by about a third. Factory employment has fallen by roughly the same fraction. The story of Standard Motor Products, a 92-year-old, family-run manufacturer based in Queens, sheds light on both phenomena. It’s a story of hustle, ingenuity, competitive success, and promise for America’s economy. It also illuminates why the jobs crisis will be so difficult to solve.

Politicians say we have the most productive workers in the world. They don't know what they're talking about. 

Alternatively, companies can cut costs by seeking out cheaper suppliers around the world—to use the business school term, they can engage in global supply chain management. A U.S.-based computer company can lower its costs by moving its customer call center from South Dakota to India. Walmart can shift its clothing purchases from a Chinese shirt manufacturer to a cheaper supplier in Vietnam. Apple can find a cheaper offshore supplier for its iPhone display screen. 

But here’s the rub: both of these corporate strategies— domestic productivity improvements and global supply chain management—show up as productivity gains in U.S. economic records. When federal statisticians calculate the nation’s economic output, what they are actually measuring is domestic “value added”—the dollar value of all sales minus the dollar value of all imports. “Productivity” is then calculated by dividing the quantity of value added by the number of American workers. American workers, however, often have little to do with the gains in productivity attributed to them. For instance, if Company A saves $250,000 simply by switching from a Japanese sprocket supplier to a much cheaper Chinese sprocket supplier, that change shows up as an increase in American productivity—just as if the company had saved $250,000 by making its warehouse operation in Chicago more efficient.[....]

[....] David Ignatius is one of the people who works in this industry. His Post column today urges readers to contemplate the awful thought that, quoting Francis Fukuyama:"What if the further development of technology and globalization undermines the middle class and makes it impossible for more than a minority of citizens in an advanced society to achieve middle-class status?”It is very useful to the One Percent to pretend that their wealth and the near stagnation in living standards for everyone else is just the result of "the further development of technology and globalization." However this has nothing to do with reality. Globalization has hurt the living standards of the middle class... In the same vein it is not technology by itself that has made some people very rich. It is largely government granted patent and copyright monopolies that have made people rich. These polices are becoming increasingly inefficient mechanisms for supporting innovation and creative work. [....]

In the past 30 years, the UK's manufacturing sector has shrunk by two-thirds, the greatest de-industrialisation of any major nation. It was done in the name of economic modernisation – but what has replaced it? [....]

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