Wednesday, June 15, 2016

If only we can make everything right here in the USA

For a few years now, I have required students in my intro class to read "I, Pencil."  Chances are pretty good that if my esteemed colleagues got to know about it, well, it can't get any worse than how things are now! ;)

Students, who typically have heard from most instructors in the social sciences that the market is bad, that corporations are evil, and that self-interest leads to disasters, expect me also to say the same things.  Instead, "I, Pencil" is the first of the readings for them.  In the essay, Leonard Read makes a claim that makes students sit up and think: He writes that "not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make" a pencil.   Got you also thinking, eh; go ahead, read it.

If only the Republican presidential nominee had read that simple story, which even a fifth-grader can read and understand!  Had he understood it, he would have not claimed that when he is President Apple's iPhone will be an all-American, proudly Made-in-the-USA, phone.

I know, I know, you don't care about what I say on such matters.  So, here are the details from MIT Technological Review.  Consider the components and their suppliers, for instance:


So, if the Republican candidate wants Apple to make iPhones in the US, with components made domestically, then, hey, you thought an iPhone is bloody expensive now?  Wait until they carry the "Made in the USA" label!

But, even that is incorrect.  Because, here in the US we don't have all the materials that are needed to manufacture the components, as in an making iPhones out of “American atoms.”  Why?
According to King at the Ames Lab, an iPhone has about 75 elements in it—two-thirds of the periodic table. Even just the outside of an iPhone relies heavily on materials that aren’t commercially available in the U.S. Aluminum comes from bauxite, and there are no bauxite mines in the U.S.
Did you know that there are no bauxite mines in the US?  Think about all the aluminum that we use here in the US!  Real American patriots will never drink beer from aluminum cans, and those who do are traitors ;)

Which is why David Abraham is quoted in that essay: “no tech product from mine to assembly can ever be made in one country.”  This is nothing but a restatement of the bottom-line of "I, Pencil," which is about a much simpler technological product.

Abraham writes elsewhere:
Some 150 years ago, nearly all the materials in a person’s home originated in a nearby forest or quarry. Roughly 35 years ago, with more developed supply lines and a demand for consumer appliances, the average American home used around 20 elements. Since then, material scientists have led a quiet revolution, transforming the products we use and the materials that allow them to work. In the 1990s, for instance, Intel used 16 elements to build its computer chips; now the company requires close to 60 elements.
If only somebody can make the Republican nominee understand these things.  Oh, yeah, he does not care to understand these--all he wants to do is win by saying whatever can get him the votes to be the best fascist leader of the world! :(  

3 comments:

Ramesh said...

Hear Hear.

The real tragedy is that this would normally be preached to a Democratic nominee. That is has to be preached to the Republican nominee shows how far the GOP has fallen.

Mike Hoth said...

Can I still be a real American patriot if I drink my Coca-Cola from aluminum cans? Because I was actually taking a sip when I read that line and had to pause for a moment. Of course, having just finished your course on international trade I'm well aware that I can't even breathe without taking in Chinese products!

Sriram Khé said...

OMG, the right-of-center commenters are agreeing with me. We have entered the bizarro-world!!! ;)

Mike and Anne, who are loyal GOP people, have quite some serious problem on their ballots ... these traitors who drink Coke from cans!!! ;)

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