03 March 2011

Going Up?

I am at the WSJ ECO:nomics conference this week, where tomorrow I'll be on a panel with Chris Field of the IPCC. During the opening panel last night Louis Chênevert, CEO of United Technologies, provided another telling anecdote about the massive scale of China's growth. The world elevator market is about 500,000 units per year, of which, 280,000 are installed in China and only 16,000 in the United States (this article has some details).

On the panel, Chênevert, Mark Pinto  (of Applied Materials) and Zhenrong Shi (of Suntech Power Holdings) explained and agreed that, in their business areas, companies are relocating to China not because of labor costs, but rather because of scale and subsidies.  Given this, my sense is that in may contexts the US cannot and should not try to compete.  Think of elevators as a good example.


  1. So if we shouldn't compete, what are the rest of us going to do - become college professors? Only so many of us can be groundskeepers and housekeepers for college professors, or waitresses and barbers for college professors. Ultimately, where is the money going to come from to pay college professors - the nannies and waitresses? You can only give up so many jobs before you've got an economic perpetual motion machine.

  2. -1-Mark B.

    The lesson is to pick your battles, no?

    Here in Colorado we often wonder where the money will come from to pay college professors ;-)