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This blog used to be about politics. Not so much anymore as I have worked through my fascination with that subject. It now seems appropriate that with a new president and the end of the Bush nightmare that I move on to new subjects that are more in line with my current interests. I may still occasionally express an opinion about political matters but for the most part I will be commenting on music, photography and personal observations. Thank you for reading.

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The Great Fall to China

"Article 24. The state strengthens the building of socialist spiritual civilization through spreading education in high ideals and morality, general education and education in discipline and the legal system, and through promoting the formulation and observance of rules of conduct and common pledges by different sections of the people in urban and rural areas. The state advocates the civic virtues of love for the motherland, for the people, for labour, for science and for socialism; it educates the people in patriotism, collectivism, internationalism and communism and in dialectical and historical materialism; it combats the decadent ideas of capitalism and feudalism and other decadent ideas."

I wonder just how many people have read the Constitution of China. I hadn't until today.

Following a discusion that started here (Amanda at Mouse Words) which led me to a discussion at The Sideshow, and to a provoking article by Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.

If one US company or a few move offshore, their profits improve and consumer prices are lower. However, when work in general moves offshore, American lose the incomes associated with the production of the goods they consume. Domestic production is turned into imports, with the result that America draws down its accumulated wealth in order to pay for the imports on which it is dependent.

Which ties into a candid talk given by John Chambers, the chief executive officer (CEO) and president of Cisco Systems Inc.

"We can have a healthy discussion about whether that's in 2020 or 2040, but it will (become the world's largest economy) and China will become the IT center of the world," Chambers said, speaking at a press conference in Beijing last week.

Chambers tied his comments about China's growing economy to the announcement of Cisco's plans to invest US$32 million in a research and development (R&D) center that will open next year in Shanghai. The center will employ a staff of 100 and focus on the development of VOIP (voice over IP) products and technology.

Looking ahead, Cisco plans to expand the Shanghai R&D center over time to include work on other areas of technology related to networking, Chambers said, outlining a long-term vision of a network of Cisco R&D centers spread across China.

Explaining why Cisco chose Shanghai for the site of an R&D center, Chambers was quick to note China's excellent infrastructure, a good university system that provides a pool of talent from which to recruit researchers and business-friendly policies implemented by the country's government. But Cisco's decision is about more than developing future VOIP products, it's about positioning Cisco for future growth in China.

"What we're trying to do is outline an entire strategy of becoming a Chinese company," Chambers said.

Of course a few years ago when people where warning Americans that the loss of manufacturing would inevitably lead to the loss of other jobs, there was a general air of pride and disbelief that anyone else in the world would be able to point and click a mouse with as much talent as American IT workers. But as it turns out, writing code, maintaining a network and other such "skilled" work can be done by just about anyone with a little bit of training. Go figure... and they might even spend less time sending IM's to each other as well.

Pride is a horribly delusional trait, but one useful in re-inforcing a deeply held belief in one's own moral, physical and mental superiority. It was pride again that convinced many American IT workers that they didn't need to take any measures to ensure their own livelihoods, convinced as they were that they were such an invaluable (if horribly overpaid) asset to their employers that they held all the cards.

Not so. (And yes, I am engaging in little bit of "I told you so.")

The BLS reports that the number of employed US technical workers has fallen by 221,000 in six major computer and engineering job classifications during 2000-2004. The largest drops were suffered by computer programmers, followed by electrical and electronics engineers, computer scientists and systems analysts.

Back then it was common knowledge that the key to future success was simply going back to school, training yourself in trades of the "new economy" and moving into the 21st century. Well, the 21st century moved again. And are we to go back to school again? What are we to learn this time? The fastest growing segments of the economy are the service sectors, anything that cannot be outsourced will stay here.

I doubt you'll need much schooling to be a Wal-Mart greeter.

And people are still not putting together the pieces. Its one thing to complain about the guy on the other end of the tech support phonecall having an Indian accent. Its another to realize that you voted for that circumstance with your purchase decisions. Moral indignation isn't worth squat when you insist on going to the store and buying the lowest priced good. How do you think they are saving costs?

Your big fat paycheck was an obvious choice.

But honestly, its too late for that now. We had our chance and we didn't care. Pride was too powerful. The middle class was all too willing to sell out the working class, and now they're happily selling out each other, convinced that they will be left standing with a comfy little house in the burbs, a growing 401K plan, health insurance and a spiffy SUV in which to motor about town.

But hey, what do I know? I'm just some retail salesclerk that writes a blog in his free time.

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About Me

35 yr old
Highlands Ranch
Recording Engineer
Voted for Kerry
Voted for Obama
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22.3% Less Smart

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