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United States Hardware

Lenovo Building Manufacturing Plant in North Carolina 120

An anonymous reader writes "One of the major themes of the ongoing presidential election in the United States has been the perceived need to bring product manufacturing back to the United States. A recent announcement from Lenovo is going to play to this point; the PC manufacturer said today that it's building a U.S. location in Whitsett, North Carolina. The new facility is small, with just over 100 people and is being built for a modest $2M, but Lenovo states that it's merely the beginning of a larger initiative." It makes sense: their U.S. HQ is a stone's throw away in RTP.
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Lenovo Building Manufacturing Plant in North Carolina

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  • Re:Very good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Panaflex ( 13191 ) <<convivialdingo> <at> <>> on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:10PM (#41540877)

    Oddly enough, the most likely reason they're putting in a plant in the USA is...... (wait for it).... to sell into DOD. You get an instant +5 karma by manufacturing in the USA for contract win purposes.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:16PM (#41541659)

    Even if it's just for PR points, some domestic manufacturing employment is a good thing. The reason why isn't nice, it's not politically correct, but it's the facts:

    Not everyone is intelligent enough for knowledge work.

    In my opinion, if we continue the way we're going, we're going to spiral into a society with three classes -- business owners, knowledge workers and a huge swath of working poor. If everyone has to complete at least a masters' degree to secure a place in one of the top two classes, that completely ignores the other 75% of the IQ distribution.

    Think about the way society was organized in the 50s through the 70s:
    - Only the highly intelligent and/or well off went to college. They typically inherited a business, got a technical, science, engineering or other kind of knowledge job, or became academics. Each one of these outcomes guaranteed a stable job for life because that's what business ownership, academia or large corporate employment did back then. This is still the preferred path, minus the guarantees of course.
    - For the high end of the medium-intelligence scale, there were plenty of paper-shuffling jobs in corporate environments. Remember that before computers, automation and email, large corporations had to employ thousands of file clerks, secretaries and layers of management that just routed paper reports around. Because US companies were doing so well, and things couldn't be outsourced and automated, a huge upper middle class thrived.
    - For the low end of the medium-intelligence scale, there were millions of factory jobs. They were all simple, stand on a line for 8 hours and perform a single task or set of tasks. Because of unionization and a lack of global competition, even those jobs were stable and paid reasonable living wages. This was the bulk of the middle class, and I grew up in a Rust Belt city in the early 80s so I got to watch it all unravel live.
    - The screwups, dropouts or just plain dumb people wound up doing menial labor. But even at that end of the scale, there was less downward pressure on those wages, so they were able to scrape by for the most part.

    The problem is, in 2012, you can locate a factory anywhere, employ thousands of people for a fraction of the price that 100 would cost you, and pump out products just as quickly as before. All the secretaries and paper routers lost their jobs in the late 80s/early 90s automation and downsizing waves. So now, where do all those people who used to have solid incomes go? They either end up permanently unemployed, or go work menial jobs for just above minimum wage, no security and no benefits. So you have a huge class of working poor, working at Wal-Mart, as a home health care aide, or something else.

    It's a really tough problem that might have a very bad ending in the next 40 years or so -- we need to find something for everyone to do and someone to employ them. Conservatives love to tout entrepreneurship as our savior, but do they really think a factory guy whose job was bolting the same two parts together for the last 20 years is going to be a successful business owner? Thinking like that will mean you have a class of bankrupt working poor instead of just working poor as all their little ventures fail.

    So yes, I hope manufacturing comes back. And I hope it can be something that someone can build an entire career on, not just a string of $10/hr temp jobs.

  • Re:How Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:26PM (#41541795) Journal
    Oh, there is little doubt of that. However, it is STILL more than what large American companies have done. Hell, you have ppl like Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Immelt, Rometty, Palmisano, Dell, Gates, Jobs, etc arguing that the best way to help American companies is that they be allowed to bring back tax free the money that W/neo-cons tax breaks gave them. Of course, we did this once already, and NONE of it was used to create new jobs here in the USA. So it is twisted that it is even being suggested.

    Yeah, I have little faith in Chinese companies, since 99% of them are controlled by the Chinese gov, OR are loyal to their nation (and I do not blame them for that). BUT, America's large business leaders are the worse scum on this planet.
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:51PM (#41542041) Homepage Journal

    Given that the average monthly salary at Foxconn is $350

    That is a meaningless number. When I was in Thailand in the USAF, it was a 3rd world country (since industrialized). The bungalow I rented cost $30 per month, woman included. I could feed four for a dollar in a nice restaraunt. I could take a bus anywhere in the coutry for five cents, a taxi for a buck. A tailored shirt was five bucks. When I was in Delaware I lived like a pauper, eating in the mess hall and living in a barracks and was always broke, same salary in Thailand and I lived like a king.

    I'm twice as rich as someone in Chicago earning the exact same amount as me, because prices there are twice what they are here, especially for essentials like food and rent and utilities.

    Without pricing info, the monthly salary is a meaningless figure. They most likely indeed do live terrible, poverty stricken lives, but otoh $350 may be a lot of money there and they could possibly be living better than me.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming