Economic changes call for adaptation
I want to compliment you on your May 13 Viewpoint, ``Ups outweigh downs of the world market.'' Yes, there are many businesses that are adversely affected by the rapid economic changes seen today, but that's part of life.
David Whatley's complaints [``Buying American keeps work in U.S.,'' May 6, Page 6] weren't hard to understand until he pulled out the populist/socialist rant about ``Greed! Large, multinational corporations want to make more money ... at the expense of the average working-class American.''
As a businessman, he should understand that firms that don't give customers what they want go out of business. It's not so much greed as simple survival that compels firms to source products where they find the best value. Example: Kmart, now in Chapter 11 - a ``large, multinational corporation'' that didn't serve customers as well as Wal- Mart. Most people simply don't care where a product is made as long as it represents value: the best quality for the lowest price.
Let's also put to rest the idea that the United States is losing its manufacturing base. Manufacturing represented 40 percent of the gross domestic product in 2001, the highest in more than 50 years. Yes, employment in manufacturing has gone down, but the value of the goods ``made in USA'' have gone up. This is the natural consequence of Adam Smith's ``invisible hand'' of economic forces that distribute economic activities between regions so as to provide the greatest overall economic benefit.
Joseph Schumpeter called capitalism a force of ``creative destruction'' - new businesses and companies destroy old ones. One might as well rail against the tides of the ocean. The better way is for management and business owners to adapt to change.
Roger F. Jones
Franklin International LLC
U.S. trade policies are anything but fair
Regarding Helmut Mueller's April 29 Perspective ``Mold buyers need big picture,'' Mr. Mueller's points are well-taken and need to be conveyed to our elected officials by each and every one of us in this industry.
Other related industries are affected in the same way by so-called fair-trade policies. Look at injection machinery's decline of 50-70 percent in the past year or two. This affects the electronic controls business, the hydraulic components suppliers, the machine job shops, the hundreds of sales and engineering professionals as well as all the folks in the resin business.
Small businesses like screw and barrel repair, hot-runner controls, mold component suppliers, bulk resin-handling equipment, scrap granulator companies, etc., are all hurt. The list goes on and on.
I've seen the plastics industry in steady growth from the mid-1950s until our government's new policies took effect. The results have been devastating for so many here in the United States. China and some other nations are grinning, but what about the United States?
It's not fair trade unless it's fair for both sides. Let's write our representatives now.
Woodward Plastic Machine Co.