Even a blind sow -- as they say -- drags home the occasional worn-out tire; and so it is with Our Local Fishwrap (and Post-Literate Gazetteer). They may not quite grasp it, but they've dug up a story at the intersection of small-government libertarian/conservatism and flat-out libertarian anarchism.
See, it's magnets. Magnets of the sort used in military hardware. Since Anderson, Indiana's Magnaquench was purchased by "Chinese investors" (and we're not talkin' Taiwan) , Uncle Sam has had to import every last neodymium magnet in every last missile, servomotor and so on and so forth -- and so has the guy that makes your headphones (maybe these folks? [I'll take the SR60i model, John]) and the sole-and-only nation from which they are imported? Yep. Our pals in Red China.
On the one hand, every business that starts up over there is another bunch of folks earnin' actual foldin' money and getting a better notion of the bigger world; I still hold to the same opinion I did when the Brits handed over Hong Kong, that it was just a matter of time before the dynamic go-getterism of the tiny former colony infected the rest of China and transformed it.
--On the other hand, that's not likely to be a fast or painless process and it won't surprise me if China manages to come to blows with some other nation or nations in the process. So what're the odds suppliers to our .mil folks might need magnets in a hurry and find there are none to be had? Should we roll those dice?
On the other other hand (or is it a foot?), about the only way to bootstrap the industry back up is for Congress to start requirin' in-country sources for all such componentry, which is plain meddling.
Balanced on the remaining foot? Lemme put on my Wookiee slipper an' point out that in Libertaria, the military are all private firms and not very large ones at that. Where they buy their arms, armor and CCC gear is their own lookout. (Where is Libertaria anyhow, and why can't I buy a bus ticket there?)
Meanwhile, back where I live, the skilled magnetizers at Thomas & Skinner point out that the guys who know how are not gettin' any younger -- and they are getting jobs in places other than the magnet biz. If we want to keep on -- if we even want to keep up -- now's the time to start.
P.S. See previous post. Magnetic Springs dries up and then -- not quite a generation later -- the magnet biz starts departing. H'mm.
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
4 weeks ago