Somewhat interesting article, in view of next week's elections. Seems to me that I have seen this cycle already three times, in my lifetime. First, with Europe post WWII, then with Japan, now with China, Korea, Taiwan, India, Singapore. The urge to move offshore is impossible for US companies to resist. International treaties or no makes no difference. And eventually, the urge is lessened because cost of living and wages in the previously low-cost labor and/or design well reach of even surpass those in the US. (Of course, countries like India and China are like gigantic uncharged capacitors. It would take an enormous current before any reverse voltage shows up.) Problem is, there is no entity that credibly "controls" any of this. This happens in spite of anything politicans are likely to do. In large part, because political campaigns are incredibly expensive, which means politicians know very well who they have to be beholden to. And too, any stringent laws which might benefit engineers will also increase the price of fun toys for everyone else. No one, except possibly engineers, really wants this. That's why WalMart and Target survive. Even if, as engineers, we all end up being product specification writers for WalMart in the near term, my sense is that this situation will reverse itself of its own accord in time. Bert --------------------------------- Experts: design offshoring yielding mixed results George Leopold (11/03/2006 1:21 PM EST) URL: http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=193501675 WASHINGTON - The globalization of semiconductor design is providing some competitive benefits for U.S. chip makers but is roiling the U.S. job market for engineers, a university study concludes. A survey conducted by Clair Brown and Greg Linden of the University of California at Berkeley and presented at a National Academy of Engineering workshop on engineering offshoring found that the U.S. remains the leader in advanced chip design. But growing costs, competitive pressures and globalization are reshaping the industry in ways that are just now being understood. "So far, offshore activities appear to complement design activities with expansion" in the U.S., the authors found. But the "long-run impact on U.S. leadership and jobs [remains] unclear." In the meantime, China and India will grow in importance as markets and suppliers of engineers and design skills, they added. Lower overseas labor costs-as low as 90 percent lower in some locations-are providing U.S. chip makers with competitive advantages, the study found. The "ideal result" of the offshoring trend would be that U.S. companies "will grow and hire more workers at home and abroad." But the authors warned that some U.S. engineers will lose jobs due to the offshoring of design projects and "only the remaining [overseas] workers and consumers [will] benefit from the firm's move offshore." The study also found that competitive advantages are offset by other costs associated with design offshoring. These include: the need to describe design tasks more precisely to overseas design teams; extra controls on intellectual property, especially in China; increased management costs; and reduced productivity and slower product cycles. Together, these factors raise the risks for offshoring chip design and R&D projects, the study concluded. In order to counteract the disadvantages of offshoring and maintain U.S. technology innovation and job creation, the U.S. needs to maintain its strong university system, the study found. Policy makers also need to restore U.S. economic stability to promote continued investment in innovation and a "transparent and globally-integrated financial system [that] is necessary for private investment." The debate over offshoring is getting louder, with all sides in the engineering community weighing in on the future implications for employment and innovation. Much of the debate has shifted to assembling reliable data such as labor statistics to determine the overall economic impact of outsourcing projects like chip design. Critics worry that a new wave offshoring to India and China will stifle U.S. innovation as it confronts stiffer global competition. All material on this site Copyright 2006 CMP Media LLC. All rights reserved. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.