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American Know-How and Jobs Go to China

October 25, 2002

Re your series on China becoming the factory floor of the world, Oct. 20-22: Thanks for the detailed description of the ongoing transfer of American know-how and jobs to communist China.

After seeing the "American Talib" sentenced to 20 years for being a traitor to our nation, I wonder when we can expect to see some politicians and captains of industry brought to justice for being traitors on a much grander scale. The unpatriotic, strictly profit-driven decisions of these people have cost millions of Americans their livelihood and damaged the security of this country to a degree that no terrorist, domestic or foreign, ever could.

Michael Dressel

Los Angeles

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Re China, the economic blockbuster. I've seen this coming for years with a great deal of trepidation. I don't see how the U.S. can survive this onslaught, fueled by China's basement-level wages, gigantic population and our country's gluttony for goods, whether needed or not.

Your series of articles did mention that some jobs have been created in America by this shift of manufacturing, but they are all related to importing and exporting -- lawyers, truckers, etc. Will there be anybody left in America who knows how to make a bicycle or a pair of shoes?

Isn't this troubling? That we are losing our manufacturing base, our factories, our know-how, our skilled workers? What if -- as seems more and more possible -- some horrible world conflagration breaks out? Where do the shoes for our soldiers come from? The microchips for our instruments?

Even if that doesn't happen, every worker is a consumer. When we buy something that has been made in China, we most likely support the few people at the top of some large international business and/or some Chinese workers and not our neighbor, who needs to eat too and also may in turn use or buy our service or product. Can someone make me feel any better about this situation?

Ruth Silveira

Los Angeles

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Your articles on trade in China should be a wake-up call to all American workers, blue- and white-collar alike. Our so-called free trade is really one-way trade, fostered by our own multinational corporations in collaboration with a bought-and-paid-for "special interest" government in Washington. Wake up, Americans, before our own workers will have to live on 40 cents an hour.

Carl Melin

Buena Park

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Re "China's Next Challenge: Mastering the Microchip," Oct. 22: For the Chinese to really succeed in microchip production they would need to establish the kind of infrastructure already found in existing and successful companies. I doubt that they can easily do that.

More than five years ago, China used designs from expired copyrights to build camera and film factories. One of their first cameras was a model of the Kodak "Brownie" camera of the 1940s vintage. They had to subsidize almost every step of the way to develop this industry. Throwing resources at any opportunity will not necessarily ensure success. The chips the Chinese are producing seem to be "old" ones. Better and cheaper models are already available.

Don Sheehan

Cincinnati

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