Forum: Liquid Lounge
[DELETE] Trial balloon: "The summer of 2012 is looking like an 'eerie' echo of Pre-Lehman 2008"... rlhartman New
[DELETE] I kind of disagree. I think the US financial market was more screwed up in 2008. lrcable New
[DELETE] So the US can improve our standard of living by imposing trade barriers? Cool! rlhartman New
Amazed by the presence of 100+ microcontrollers in the Chevy Volt? (Not an exaggeration.) One reason that is even remotely economically possible is because electronics can be built so cheaply that we can produce and sell high quantities. That results in more design cycles, which drives up experience, which further lowers costs, lather rinse repeat.
Data: A surprisingly capable microcontroller these days can cost well under a dollar in reasonable volumes. One vendor of such devices recently reported the shipment of its TEN BILLIONTH microcontroller. These things are in greeting cards playing music, for Pete's sake - and I bet those cards weren't made in America. A supposedly enviro-friendly vehicle like the Volt would not be remotely economically feasible were it not for overseas high volume manufacturing in what at first might appear to be unrelated industries.
I am neither celebrating nor condemning the use of offshoring here. It certainly has negative long-term consequences for our economy as I pointed out earlier. But it is a two-sided situation and I fear many people miss the other side. Much of what we take for granted these days is directly or indirectly tied to cheaper goods, which stimulates demand, which increases the economies of scale, which leads to more design cycles, which yields greater experience, which further drives down the cost of the components and materials that make such incredible products possible.
I often wonder how our state-of-the-art would be different if all this offshoring hadn't happened. Not saying a reduced SOTA would be a bad thing, but I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have cars with 100+ microcontrollers in them.