Originally Posted by Schrott
This is something I do not understand. If a little country like Germany can do it why not a big country like the US.
Germany is a manufactoring country and its products are expensive, but everybody wants them, Made in Germany stands for something, why can not Made in the USA stand for the same thing and employ.
You know, I think part of that is the American industrial system as defined by Henry Ford and such folks. The assembly lines in the US were broken down into smaller tasks which could be easily taught to immigrants who had poor English. In Germany and most of Europe even, the American idea of interchangeable parts caught on much later, I think it was Browning who first used the concept, they went to an expose' in the UK, around 1880 and the Browning guy took 20 rifles apart, put all the parts into one barrel and reassembled the rifles using random parts. Before that all parts were hand fitted and therefore unique to each item.
In WWI, the French machine guns were still hand fitted, and as such, when they broke in the field, couldn't be repaired.
One can also look at the difference in US and German tanks in WWII. Our advantage was only in outnumbering German tanks more than ten to one. We had a design which was not that good, but had the ability to produce them quickly. The German and even the Russian tanks were far superior to what we brought to the battlefield.
I also read not too long ago that engineering apprentices at Mercedes all start out learning how to use a flat file properly. That tradition is revered.
But I also think, and you can comment on this, that Germany was traditionally the leading industrial giant in Europe, and many of their exports go to nearby trading partners today, France, Nederlands, Belgium, etc.
Many fields Germany produces in, we are direct competitors, such as GE vs. Siemens, and also with regard to medical imaging, auto parts, instrumentation, other high tech, non-consumer products.
Another thing is tobacco was once a huge export item, still is likely but not what it used to be. US companies now grow tobacco for the Asian market in Asia, and it has fallen quite a bit in production in the US.
I think the thing we lost was making consumer products for our home market. Personally, there are many things I would like to be made in US or Germany, or UK and buy one of them and have it be high enough quality to last me and my offspring a lifetime. That choice is often not there any longer. Many small manufacturers cannot resist lucrative buyouts by large companies, and those large companies often use the brand name, then export the manufacturing. One of those companies was White Mountain Ice Cream makers, they had been making them for over a hundred years, wooden coopered tub, and both hand crank and electric. I have one that was made in Vermont, I think. They were bought by Sunbeam, who moved the manufacturing to China. I am reading in Amazon that customers were finding metal filings in their ice cream, so there was some problem with the dasher mechanism. The thing is, they did not lower the price. At that moment, I knew a high quality American product had been lost.