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Sunday, November 14, 2010

And we keep wondering why our kids might have to learn Mandarin for 2nd language..

Recently in the news, call it a tale of two countries if you will


The republicans have sworn to stop the high speed rail network plan to connect big cities in the US and the democrats may not be able to do much.

Reason? Spending is a bad idea now
What is gained? political clout and voters
What is lost? American competency in building these systems, jobs, greener eventually cheaper transportation over the next century


The government has decided to build a 500 kilometer per hour high speed train system

Reason ? make sure that 10 day traffic jams never happen again and also make China the "only" player in the high speed train making business. (read it carefully.. they don't think "another".. they want "only")

What is gained ? Eventually any country that needs high speed rails will have to get it from China.

What is lost? Probably anyone who has anything in the path of this line that some Chinese official draws on a map will either relocate or disappear from the face of the planet and no one will ever know. Anyone who tries to say anything about this will be jailed. China will be called an evil superpower by everyone else. They will go "So? Duh!"

If you are a materials scientist who migrated to the USA 30-15 years ago, you might have seen how the USA had an edge in materials research because you could say for example get a crucible made out of Beryllia (Beryllium oxide or BeO) which you can use to melt other special materials only from special manufacturers in the USA. Of course you would not even know who made this crucible and how to get your hands on one.

The US made sure that scientists in other countries did not get access to this type of thing. Have actually had many of my professors wish there were plants in India that could be setup for this so they could do the same research as their American counterparts.

Today all those places are dead. Alibaba.com is pretty much the only source and if Alibaba blocks BeO crucibles for non Chinese research other "developed" nations will have to scramble and spend millions of dollars to re-establish an industry they wish they did not let go.

Same thing has happened with Rare Earth Elements. Want to try Lanthanum oxide as your gate dielectric in your transistor? Want Gadolinium or Neodymium as dopants in your exotic vitreous products? Guess what.. you are out of luck. You have to beg the Chinese for it.

When a country goes out of its way to shut down an entire industry by using various practices legal or otherwise and monopolizes that industry someone should do something?

The sad thing is that the US was in this situation 20 years ago. Now the Chinese have their hands on the reins!

Pretty soon we will not have any underwear to wear if the Chinese systematically go out to eliminate Fruit of the loom and Jockeys..

Of course we will all play our part in helping them do this. We will go to Walmart or Costco, look at the price per underwear (those little signs that do the division for you to even out and show you the unit price from a pack of 3, 6, 8 or 10!) and buy the cheaper option. Well, that is the way the world works, no?

There are two options. Make it possible to drop prices of what is made in the USA.. or get the Chinese to sell their product at true cost. American manufacturing is not going to get any cheaper unless our employers can be competitive with the global employer force.

While all that remains a distant dream and maybe my grand kids will see that happen, the only thing left to do in the interim is to not close down factories that do specialty materials in the name of national security interests!

Velcro has pretty much made sure my kids take a long time to learn how to tie a shoe lace! Some know how need to be preserved for our future generations...

be it how to tie your shoe lace, make boondhi laddoo or extracting elements from Yittria ores.



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I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 10:15 PM, Blogger Poetry wrote...

Some serious pondering??? Now got my thoughts on the mulling mill...

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 6:50 AM, Anonymous sudarsan wrote...

hi sundar.. thanks for writing.. true.. we see it happening and cannot seem to make sense why soo..

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 12:39 AM, Blogger dipali wrote...

Very valid points, Sundar.
Great post.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 9:53 AM, Blogger Maddy wrote...

Hey..I agree with you totally..But, this is not new..It had been the same for 1000 years like chinese monopoly of silk or dutch monopoly on spices or spanish monopoly on coffee or rubber ...Recent chinese Rare Earth export ban for a week to Japan concludes what is going to happen in the future...


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