On Business: Maintaining a competitive edge

The plight of the US illustrates the folly of outsourcing advanced manufacturing to low-wage economies.

by Eamonn Fingleton, World Business

The Washington Post's British-born economic commentator Sebastian Mallaby recently opined that corporate America is now enjoying a "golden phase". Golden phase? There is evidently a flourishing market in the US capital for wishful thinking. Mallaby may be too young to remember, but corporate America once enjoyed a real golden age - in the 1960s. It was a time when ambitious young executives everywhere aspired to work for US employers.

The awe in which American business was held in those days was not misplaced.

Corporations such as IBM, Xerox, Boeing, General Electric, Motorola, Texas Instruments, Hewlett-Packard, Eastman Kodak and General Motors luxuriated in the knowledge that though American wages were two to five times those in western Europe and east Asia, no European or Asian rival came close to challenging US leadership in advanced manufacturing.

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