Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class

From NYTimes.com comes this story:  Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class


“We shouldn’t be criticized for using Chinese workers,” a current Apple executive said. “The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need.”

What remains unknown, however, is whether the United States will be able to leverage tomorrow’s innovations into millions of jobs.
In the last decade, technological leaps in solar and wind energy, semiconductor fabrication and display technologies have created thousands of jobs. But while many of those industries started in America, much of the employment has occurred abroad. Companies have closed major facilities in the United States to reopen in China. By way of explanation, executives say they are competing with Apple for shareholders. If they cannot rival Apple’s growth and profit margins, they won’t survive.
“New middle-class jobs will eventually emerge,” said Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economist. “But will someone in his 40s have the skills for them? Or will he be bypassed for a new graduate and never find his way back into the middle class?”
"The Chinese government had agreed to underwrite costs for numerous industries, and those subsidies had trickled down to the glass-cutting factory [that did the work for Apple]." No doubt much of the other benefits China offers Apple are also courtesy of the Chinese government.



KEY QUESTION: 


Is this a condemnation of our education system? Or is this an indication that all we really did after the Civil War was push our slavery overseas?