It really shows how trying to capitalize on populism can quickly lead to a politically motivated trade war. This is a perfect example of trying to untangle a globalized supply chain and figure out what is equitable to populations where jobs are getting scarcer. Its a remarkable case, and even if boeing is not materially hurt by the match-up (and they claim not to be) they still need to embark on a charm offensive in Canada and Europe to reassure people they won’t try and manipulate the protectionist sentiment whenever it suits them.
I’d be curious whether automation could eventually completely disrupt Foxconn’s business model – perhaps completely reversing the incentive to outsource manufacturing to low-wage countries. In the case where automation is an existential threat, then investing in state-of-the-art automated facilities in the US could solve both protectionism and automated competition issues simultaneously.
My other thought is that wages are increasing even in countries like China, whilst real blue collar wages in the US have stayed stagnant for decades. Given the huge tax breaks that are becoming available for companies willing to build in the west, it perhaps is becoming increasingly economical to make in the US again.
One way to ease the pain would be to allow people to retire ‘naturally’ i.e. no new trucking jobs, but current ones aren’t cut either at least until the trucker retires. Therefore would-be truckers have time to figure out what they’d do instead and current ones aren’t kicked to the curb.
In regards to the UBI question, I’m personally a big proponent but I think it needs to be coupled with a large overhaul of the education system to retool kids for the 21st century economy. It’s just much harder and more painful to retrain someone that’s completed half a career in the same role.
Super interesting – it was pretty smart of NEE to purchase their panels in advance of a tariff.
From memory, I think First Solar is supposed to be a competitive US panel manufacturer – that could be a good way to get around the tariffs and stay competitive. Another option is to simply grow overseas in places like LATAM and Europe.
My firm owned a number of ports around the world and preparing for extreme events was always a consideration. To avoid diverting taxpayer money to pay for capital expenditures, they may consider privatization that should give the city a boost to its finances and potentially additional tax revenues.
It will be interesting to see if climate change puts higher capex ports out of business as larger, climate-resistant ports benefit from increased cost advantages and the concentration of supply chains.