|My guess is that manufacturing (employee) wages will be a smaller part of the cost of production in the future so it will not be a significant factor in the value chain (as it it now or in the past).|
The value proposition decision will be to make those products as close to the end consumer as possible (w/i miles not in other Countries) as transportation/logistic expenses will be the largest component in the value chain. It is critical we invest now in our human resources as the new labor force will need to know how to build/manage and maintain these next generation manufacturing technologies.
As an example, look at oil exploration/drilling and or mining where more technology is used to find and extract the resource. I have followed many mining companies and they are investing large amounts of capital in automation, specifically smart autonomous mining equipment and it's working. Driverless Trucks/Cars and delivery vehicles are all in stages of development. Kroger has test sites (in AZ) for autonomous delivery of groceries and prepared meals.
The big political 'bomb' that must be addressed are all the 'unfunded' pension liabilities at the Federal, State and local levels and how that will be financed in the future. Interactive map of pension liability by state.. (Looks like Alaska, California and Illinois the worst at $25k per person unfunded. Tennessee appears to be the lowest by far (actually not a surprise to me but the gap with the rest of the pack was)
Unless pension funds around the nation continue to earn 7% or more per year on their investments, it’s likely that taxpayers will be on the hook for trillions of dollars of promises to government unions. These promises have been made by politicians past and present, resulting in pressure to increase taxes and cut government services. (Negative interest rates will just make the problem worse)
I do agree w/ your view on enforcement of intellectual property for China but also for every country/business/individual that does not license and/or follow the copyright rules.
Tariffs are but one way to enforce compliance. Even my example of local recycling where we send containers full of our garbage to China and get boxes in return really s/d be processed locally and/or by the manufacturer providing in-store collection. Local/State and Federal policies could promote better recycling through taxes and/or manufacturing guidelines.
We live in interesting times and change is good.
FWIW, I do not agree w/ a Carbon Tax but do like the general discussion (by all groups) on solutions to use our resources more efficiently.
Have you noticed the big investments that Exxon has made in Solar. So the market forces are working.
I continue to look for investment opportunities in companies that are developing (profitable) solutions to many of these social/environmental manufacturing problems. But sometimes you need broad action through Executive Order(s) to effect change.