No Longer Made In The USA: Cone Mills, Thanks To The Human Garbage At “Platinum Equity”

Heritage America, meet Modern America. One year ago, the International Textile Group was purchased by Platinum Equity Partners. If you’re not familiar with what “private equity” firms do, it’s this: They buy companies that are perceived as undervalued, then they go through and ruthlessly force every aspect of that company through a race-to-the-bottom process. The newly-efficient parts of the company are then stripped and sold. It is a process by which the rich become richer and the poor become unemployed, and it represents late-stage capitalism at its bloodthirsty, inhumane worst.

The flagship plant of International Textile Group is the Cone Mills denim production facility in North Carolina. Few people expected that it would survive the private-equity process. Sure enough, ITG announced that it is terminating production and closing the plant after 117 years of operation. Think of that! This plant survived the world wars, the Great Depression, the energy crisis, the Carter Depression, and the 2008 recession. But it couldn’t survive a year of private-equity management.

The employees are sad, but proud to have made the world’s finest denim. From now on, the high-end denim market will be entirely owned by the Japanese, who treasure the concept of “American jeans” and who have created modern machines to faithfully reproduce the irregularities of Cone Mills’ century-old production line. There will still be denim fabric made in America, courtesy of “Denim North America” in Georgia. You will still be able to get USA-made denim jeans from Dearborn and a few other suppliers. But the real high-end fabric, the stuff that makes my Flint&Tinder jeans so perfect, the fabric that served as the basis for the USA-made Lucky 363 Vintage jeans — that’s gone with the wind. So a bunch of billionaire jerkoffs can increase their rate of return by a fraction of a percent.

If you want to try the Cone Mills products before it’s too late, I’ve rounded up some options for you, based on some personal experience.

L.C. King has White Oak Jeans. Your mileage may vary with LC King stuff; I’ve found that the sizing can be hit or miss.

Levi’s has some USA-made jeans left.

Flint And Tinder makes what I think are the best Cone Mills jeans left. You can find a set here but you will have to join Huckberry to buy them.

Lucky Jeans has a very small number of remaining Cone Mills jeans in waist sizes 29 and 30.

If you want to hem your own jeans, and if you have relatively slim legs, check out Brave Star.

If you’re aware of others, please leave them in the comments. Thank you!

81 Replies to “No Longer Made In The USA: Cone Mills, Thanks To The Human Garbage At “Platinum Equity””

  1. Pat

    Well this sucks. The financialization of American business has been the downfall of so much good stuff (and so many good jobs) it’s not funny. And no politicians ever talk about fixing it — maybe they can’t.

    Also: the LC King jeans I have are bit heavy on tags and embroidery on the back pocket — the ones pictured in your link seem a lot better on that front.

    Reply
  2. Nick D

    PAGING TRESMONOS!

    Wearing a pair of Tellasons White Oak jeans now (they were what I had on at Mid-O).

    Gustin also is doing a run of White Oak denim jeans.

    Yes, you pay more for real jeans, but a cheap pair of imported garbage is false economy. An $80 pair of Gustin White Oak jeans worn 2x as much as some disposable Costco Levi’s lasts 3-4 times as long in my expirence.

    Reply
  3. ScottS

    I can’t even estimate how many pairs of made in the U.S.A. Levi’s I’ve worn completely to threads over the years. I never imagined a day when a pair of 501s would cost $170, but I confess to paying it to have the U.S.A label. I most enjoy wearing them to Europe with a pair of Walnut McAllister Wingtip Oxfords, and a Brooks Brothers button-down oxford shirt. Our Continental brethren positively covet the authentic American style and I love rocking it, and European women are particularly appreciative of the confident American male look. The men are definitely lacking something in Europe these days.

    Reply
  4. phr3dly

    That’s now how private equity works.

    Source: I’ve seen Pretty Woman, so I know that corporate raiders actually work with the owner to save the company, and win the affection of the prostitute with a heart of gold.

    Reply
    • Bark M.

      Cox Automotive was one of the few companies I can think of to survive the private equity wars, mostly because thre was very little that COULD be outsourced. Providence eventually gave up and sold back to the Cox family.

      Reply
    • michael

      Private Equity/VC is generally only good at cutting costs, and at improving operational efficiencies, not at developing new products/services or identifying revenue opportunities. BUT underlying this situation is that, at some level, old Management/Owners gave up on the company and its employees. So VC will change the company’s structure and whoever eventually buys it will have to figure out how to improve revenues.

      I was surprised when Cerberus didn’t destroy Chrysler. Now that I think of it, has anyone seen an article(s) on what happened (the inside story) when they were running the place?

      Reply
  5. Vincent

    A few more places to check out for Cone Mills stuff:

    Gustin: Reasonably priced and a decent amount of material variants. Each batch is crowd sourced, so it takes some time from order to receipt. The slim fit isn’t actually that slim, but you can use the size charts to figure out what cut works best. I’ve got two pairs on order right now to stockpile. Jeans using Cone denim are labeled as such.

    Luther’s: One of the rare companies using Cone Mills shrink-to-fit. The upper is modeled after a vintage 501 and the different models just vary the tapering from the knee down. I’m so happy with these that I tried to order extra pairs when I heard Cone Mills was ending production. FWIW, I talked to the owner and he thinks someone will buy the facility, or at least the machinery.

    Railcar: Pricey, but local to me so I’m going to check them out soon while they still have Cone stuff available.

    Reply
    • Nick D

      I’ve tried on a few railcar jeans and they are outstanding. I’m saving my pennies for their 23oz extra heavies.

      Reply
      • jawns

        I just squeezed really hard and a couple fell out, so I bought a pair of x001s. Kudos to Vincent for making me impulse buy a good pair of jeans after a couple years of putting it off.

        I made the mistake of buying Nudie jeans once upon a time and they shredded within two years in such a way that they became indecent; since then I’ve bought garbage that I can replace without feeling it. Hopefully this is a better experience.

        Reply
        • Vincent

          FWIW, depending on how they fit and what you do in them, crotch blowouts aren’t unheard of with jeans. They can be repaired quite easily.

          Reply
          • a blown crotch

            Yeah, it’s the typical failure mode for me, but it was the speed with which it happened that was the problem in this case- I usually get 3-4+ years. Nudies aren’t very sturdy.

            I bought from Self Edge and they wanted $30 to repair, but had to be dropped off in-store. Looks like Railcar has similar darning machines so maybe I’ll send them off eventually.

  6. Ryan

    What a fucking shame.

    Detroit Denim (https://detroitdenim.com/) uses Cone Mills denim in their goods. They have a few different cuts, and are willing to measure and make patterns to keep on file for you.
    They also can properly repair just about any quality pair.

    I’ve been to their shop a few times, quality and staff are A++. There’s something about walking into a shop and seeing the workers producing the very product you are purchasing that I can’t shy away from.

    Reply
    • Deadweight

      All of Trump Family Shit was made in China or other developing countries, where slave labor was abundant, environmental regulations non-existent, the idea of labor laws were anathema, and government regulators (for whatever bare regulations actually existed) could be bought off cheaply.

      MAGA indeed!

      Reply
  7. tresmonos

    Gustin is still funding cone denim.

    I’m reaching out to see if I can make some horrible capital acquisition on their looms.

    Don’t discount Mount Vernon Mills. They’re so efficient, they ship US made denim all over the world for cut and sew ops.

    Reply
  8. Kevin Jaeger

    If I’m not mistaken Cone Mills was already in bankruptcy a number of years ago. I believe a vulture capitalist picked up its carcass and combined it with some other companies to make the current company be a (supposedly) viable business. So perhaps if not for a vulture capitalist willing to take some risks this whole operation may have been sent to liquidation years ago.

    I’m not intimately familiar with this industry but I think that prior vulture capitalist that threw this company a lifeline is now the Commerce Secretary.

    Reply
  9. TheMook

    Not exactly the same but this one smells frighteningly similar to the new owners of Heritage Guitar recently selling off 49% of the company to the son of a Chinese billionaire.

    No need to worry though, Meng is said to love USA guitars and simply wants to *make* them available to more far eastern consumers.

    Insert worry.

    Reply
  10. hank chinaski

    Lulz that the GOP tried to run one of these vultures for president.

    And to think they named it ‘Financial Modernization’.

    I has a sad.

    Reply
    • Deadweight

      Trumpito is worse by far than Romney – Trumpito is *literally* MAGA in empty, hollow words and unicorn & lollipop platitudes, only (corporations like Carrier and others, that Trump “pressured” to at least hang out [false] hope that they’d reconsider NOT moving plants and jobs to Mexico’were only playing Trump’s game and had no intention of staying or keeping those jobs here).

      At least Romney was honest about the end result in word and deed.

      Trump is as full-of-shit as any human to have ever walked this earth. Romney was spot-on to call him a “phony, fraud and snake oil salesman.”

      But both Baruth Bros went all in and got on their knees, and stroked the Trump shaft, cradled the Trump balls and drank the Trump gravy, and are apparently still doing so to this day.

      Low-information voters, frustrated, are worsening America’s foundation.

      Reply
      • Mopar4wd

        I had issues with Rom’s flip flopping to please a crowd then comes the Donald. The man literally flips in the same day sometimes in the same speech. Everything that comes out of the man is drivel designed for the audience on hand to love him for 30 sec.

        I still don’t see how people don’t notice it more.

        Reply
        • Kvndoom

          It wouldn’t have. They both sucked equally. But at least she didn’t make lofty impossible promises to the economically and hopelessly doomed, or promise trickle down bullshit.

          Reply
          • Kevin Jaeger

            Well, Hillary has demonstrated she has mad skillz at trading cattle futures and could have brought that expertise to the Presidency. Who know what she could have accomplished if she had the whole Federal Reserve at her disposal rather than a mere thousand bucks?

        • DeadWeight

          HRC sucks wet donkey balls (or wet donkey carpet).

          But Trumpito is *literally* something the USA may never recover from, and has a relatively good chance as going down in history as America’s Caligula.

          Also, Mueller is going to assemble a textbook prosecutorial case that proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Trumpito’s been in deep hock to foreign actors (oligarch and state-owned bank surrogates of authoritarian regimes in China and Russia) for decades, and in fact, has been depending on their infusions of laundered money to keep afloat, just as the Kushner Family, Manaforts and others in his inner circle have been doing so.

          Trumpito really and truly is a treasonous, seditious, deeply compromised criminal, and it will all be proven with hard facts.

          Reply
          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            How does this differ from the Clintons taking Saudi, Russian, and Soros money to create a psuedo-dynasty of American oligarchs?

            I think you’re projecting as regards Trump. The guy is no more dirty than HRC was and he has an excuse: he’s spent forty years doing international business.

            We’re also now finding out just how deeply the Saudis paid Obama et al.

            If you want a politician with integrity, go see if Rand Paul wants to risk his ribs.

          • whatever

            I think there’s something to be said for the quiet, polite, easily-traceable-but-generally-kept-under-wraps sort of corruption that has kept our country running since it began, versus the bombastic, who-gives-a-fuck careless hucksterism that pays little heed to the plausibility of its claims and either doesn’t put much effort into a careful presentation, or cannot competently do so.

            If you’re the government, I expect you’re trying to fuck me. I’d rather simply operate under that assumption and work around it without also needing to deal with you being rude about it. If you have to piss on my leg, tell me a good lie, like you’re going to piss on my leg but it’s for a greater good, rather than just claiming it’s raining which I can just look up to deduce is false.

          • DeadWeight

            Trump’s the dirtiest slimebag to ever hold the office in U.S. History, and by a fair margin…

            …and that’s saying a lot.

            Trump is the creation of a completely broken two-party political system that is actually a duopoly that works together to try and maintain their respective power and relevance.

            Republicans and Democrats differ very little on 90% of spending, with both supporting Social Security as sacrosanct, ffarm subsidies, to military complex and big pharma subsidies, and everything in-between.

            What they do in this little rigged game of Kabuki Theater is throw out social wedge issues to try and create the appearance of being “different” from each other (while the both perpetuate insane fiscal policy that be edit the top 1/10th of 1 percent). Nancy Pelosi and her hedge fund manager husband have far more in common with Trump and his Wall Street backers (Icahn, Adelson, etc.) than 98.2% of Americans would ever believe.

            What the Republic needs now, at a true moment of crisis, akin to the 20s, is someone like an Eisenhower (who just so happened to warn America about those diseases which most compromise it now during his farewell speech to the nation).

          • Arbuckle

            “HRC sucks wet donkey balls (or wet donkey carpet).

            But Trumpito is *literally* something the USA may never recover from.

            Trumpito really and truly is a treasonous, seditious, deeply compromised criminal”

            I felt the same way, only reverse the candidate names.

            It was either going to be HRC or Trump. I spent the entire primary cycle hoping for a different outcome, but that’s the hand we were dealt. I went Trump, and (for now) I’d even still vote that way if given the same choice.

            That said, I’d be happy if the guy decided to resign tomorrow.

          • Kevin Jaeger

            For what possible reason would Russians or anyone else prop up Trump’s companies over decades? I understand a lot of people don’t like Trump. He’s pretty easy to dislike.

            But what would possess you to dream up these stories of decades of criminal activity when his businesses have all been so flagrantly public all these years?

          • Deadweight

            Because Trump, the Kushners, Trump’s buddy Manafort, and that whole circle jerk could not get conventional financing in traditional ways, given their wipeouts (Trump’s Atlantic City gambit broke his credit, cuck Jared Kushner’s dad was sent to the pokey by Chris Christie – ironic – and Managing owed many tens of millions to the Russian mafia…errr friends of Vlad).

            This is all factual, and there will be much, much more specific information as to how Trump & Kushner, along with their minions, such as Manafort, were all dependent on loans from “banks” that were Cypriot or Turkish or Hong Kong and fronting for foreign governments (often highly hostile to U.S. Interests’ ones) to keep them and their operations and businesses afloat.

            If you look at the case Mueller is piecing together, and the brilliant staff he’s utilizing to do it with, any you have an iota of intelligence, you will be able to see how Mueller is building a case that rivals what Giuliani put together in taking down the 5 Families.

            Trump is as dirty as they come, has been in bed with foreign loan sharks as his only source of funding for decades, and is as compromised as all hell – this is as dangerous a situation as it gets for the United States . This is the real, true reason Trump is the 1st presidential candidate and nominee to refuse to release his tax returns.

            Trump is now in a catch-22; if he tries to fire Mueller because Mueller gets to the heart of his longstanding corruption, it immensely helps the obstruction if justice case, while if Mueller is allowed to do his job, Trump will get nailed for everything.

  11. Texn

    I buy Prison Blue jeans from Pendleton. However, not totally sure the denim source. Jeans are made at the local women’s prison and sold at a small store, or online. No congeal visits.

    Also swing into the Woolen Mill outlet. You can buy “Mill ends” for very cheap, like a nice wool blanket that is a 1/4 inch narrow for a 1/4 the price.

    Reply
  12. Harry

    The most recent pair of Allen Edmunds shoes I received was made in the DR. I know some of the shoes they sell are made elsewhere but it was a model I had previously purchased and was made in Port Washington.

    It is probably pure placebo, but they don’t feel as nice on my feet.

    Reply
  13. Ronnie Schreiber

    A tangent to the topic:

    I’ve been fooling around with tube amps and I wonder how come nobody makes vacuum tubes in the USA? Jack’s big on buying American but I’m willing to bet most of his tube amplifiers use tubes sourced from eastern Europe or Asia. Sure, they closed down the tube factories here in the 1960s and the reason why the Russians, Slovaks and Chinese still make them is that they still have the equipment, but we’re not talking clean-room high tech here. The 12AX7 was developed in 1946 and the 6L6 was put together a decade earlier.

    If Jack White could have brand new vinyl phonograph record presses made for his new pressing facility in Detroit, there’s no reason (outside of financial viability) why an American company couldn’t start up a vacuum tube mfg facility. I read recently that one of the tube brands, I think it is JJ from Slovakia, is American owned. It probably makes more business sense to buy an existing factory in eastern Europe than to build one from scratch here. Still, I have the feeling that if you offered American musicians and stereo buffs the option of buying American tubes many would choose that option.

    Reply
    • Athos

      Bestest tangent ever. I’ve been researching nixie tubes for the last couple of months and the sources are all countries that sat behind the iron curtain.

      Reply
    • Shortest Circuit

      Not many oldschool engineers left who know how to go around tube amps… IMHO it is not financially viable – the output transformer is the soul of a tube amp, it has to be wound rather precise (those two windings seen on circuit diagrams are actually 8-12 independent layers of wires, wound and connected in a way as not to saturate the core of the transformer, and also keep frequency response as flat as possible) so you either need good equipment or skilled labor to manufacture them. None of them is cheap… a good stereo tube amp would have to cost around $2500 to be viable in my opinion. And who would buy a 2x35W amp for this kind of money outside of audiophiles, when 75% of US households can’t put up $3k in cash, should some disaster hit. (for the life of me I can’t pull the research up right now)

      To the last sentence: Stereo buffs will pay for the extra quality even if it only perceived. Musicians? A mixer in a studio with 100+ faders looks cool, and conjures up the image of great artists sitting behind a glass wall, creating something wonderful. Problem is those consoles need a lot of upkeep, rent and techs need to be paid, equipment needs purchased, etc. Then a kid comes with a pirated Cubase and VSTs and offers to do it for 1/10 the price in his home studio (garage really). The quality will be worse of course, but not 1/10th. I believe the choice there will be fairly easy for the band.

      Reply
      • Ronnie Schreiber

        You can build and sell a modern version of the Dynaco ST70 (which fits your prototypical 2X35W) for a lot less than $2,500. I was just looking into upgrading some Dyna MKIV chassis that I have. It’s true that the output transformer is the heart of a conventional tube amp but replacements for the Dyna OTs are just a bit over $100.

        It seems to me that guitar and harmonica players are deeper into the tube thing than even audiophiles. Bruce Egnater, who makes highly regarded boutique amps, told me that guitar players change tubes like they change socks, “and they think they can here the difference,” he said skeptically.

        BTW, I found a company, Monoprice, selling Chinese clones of the Fender Champ (it’s a relabled Laney Cub 8) for $99 plus shipping, and that’s with a Celestion branded speaker. One can’t buy the components that cheaply. I’m beginning to wonder how China Inc. turns a profit. The cheapest American kit for a 5F1 Champ is more than $400.

        Monoprice’s business model is rebranding Chinese products already in production. I found out about them because the sell some 3D printers (a version of the Wanhoo Duplicator which is itself a clone of the Prusa). Right now they have a copy of a Les Paul that’s on sale for $183, and it’s a set neck guitar with a quilted maple top (likely paper thin veneer but it looks good) with decent online reviews. Like the Koreans and Japanese before them, the Chinese have eventually figured out how to make decent guitars. No wonder Gibson is in trouble (well that and the fact that Henry has mismanaged the company).

        Reply
        • Ronnie Schreiber

          BTW, just saw this Epiphone branded, bolt on, Les Paul with two single coils, advertised as the cheapest Les Paul ever, for just $99. I gues that’s how Gibson is going to compete, by racing to the bottom.

          http://www.guitarcenter.com/Epiphone/Les-Paul-SL-Electric-Guitar-Turquoise-1500000137036.gc?source=4XBACR

          Again, I don’t know how they do it and make money. I assume Guitar Center is paying Gibson less than the retail price, and that Gibson is trying to make a couple of bucks on it. After you take away the middlemen and consider the fact that pickups may be cheap but aren’t free and that CNC routers cost real money, I just don’t know how anyone makes money on a $99 guitar these days.

          Reply
        • Shortest Circuit

          That ST70 intrigues me, if I find a broken one in a fleamarket or garage sale I will likely buy it… the ones on eBay are listed between $800-$1500 (modded).

          BTW, have you seen the videos of beaten/broken-up Les Pauls found in Guitar Center dumpsters?

          Reply
          • Ronnie Schreiber

            Yeah. I’m friendly with a guy who manages a department at a Guitar Center and I’ll ask him about it the next time I see him.

            There’s a very interesting interview done during the Summer NAMM show with with George Gruhn discussing the recent Washington Post article saying that electric guitars were going the way of the accordion.

            Gruhn says part of the problem with the guitar industry is that a solid body electric is pretty durable, they can last 50 years or more. If you’re in the business of making and selling new guitars, you’re competing with a huge inventory of used guitars. Add in the fact that like the Japanese and Koreans before them, the Chinese have learned how to make decent guitars and I’m not sure that Fender and Gibson (and PRS to a lesser extent) are in the best place. Gibson also seems to be having serious quality control issues in the U.S. production. If a $900 U.S. made Les Paul has flaws, and the $183 set-neck Chinese copy is actually a decent instrument, it doesn’t bode well for Gibson. I think we’re witnessing an encore of the lawsuit period, when Japanese copies of Fenders were better than what CBS Fender was making.

            It’s a terrible time to be an American maker of mass market guitars. Now if you’re a kid learning how to play, it’s a great time. You can buy perfectly playable instruments for $200 or less and for $99 buy an all-tube Chinese clone of a Fender Champ that actually sounds fine.

  14. -Nate-Nate

    ? No one’s going to try and blame this on Unions like they did when the very same thing occurred to Hostess Inc. ? .

    I’m sad this happened but not surprised .

    Older folks might remember the wave of venture capitalists doing this same thing all across America in the 1970’s looting fully paid for pension funds and abandoning many elderly Americans who were too old to “just get another job !” .

    -Nate

    Reply
    • rnc

      Carter just inherited the fruit planted by Nixon/Volker in 1972 (believe Yanis Varoufakis explains how that worked pretty well in the “Global Minotaur”), crazily enough Carter chose Volker to clean up the mess, think it took balls to put someone in position to stamp out stagflation by causing a massive recession, but jacking interest rates up to the 20’s was the only way to break the cycle

      Reply
      • -Nate-Nate

        ” but jacking interest rates up to the 20’s was the only way to break the cycle”

        _Maybe_ .

        Many Americans were caught short when their adjustable home loans came due and had to get 18% (!) new loans……

        Not me thank God .

        -Nate

        Reply
  15. Aoletsgo

    Love that Quaaludes and Honey band, saw them do a great show at the Ark.
    Also thanks I just spent some unplanned hundreds for Flint and Tender jeans. A visit to Detroit Denim is also now a must this winter.

    Reply
  16. Doug

    I lived in Greensboro for about 10 years, and it is truly sad what the city has become between the loss of most of the tobacco and textile jobs. Cone was such a fixture in the city, and now it has been sent to the dustbin primarily because of all the misguided globalism. The place is becoming more and more of a Socialist craphole and I am so glad I was able to move to the more vibrant areas in Eastern NC.

    Reply
  17. Paul M.

    Ahh get over it. Fat Americans (westerners) are not suited to making some things. Including clothing. Hello Yorkshire, where they used to make yarns.

    America today is defined in west coast technology. Get with the times for God’s sake.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Authentic LOL.

      You mean the “west coast technology” that swallows 1.2 million Indian and Chinese H1-Bs/fake-students/guest-visa employers and gives Americans a great chance to serve those people a drink at Starbucks?

      Reply
      • Paul M.

        Yes, meaning Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, …. Perhaps for Christmas, you can buy yourself an Alexa and then not disdain what America is today. Just saying

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          At the risk of taking your comment a bit too seriously, I’ve worked in tech since 1995. The companies you mention above are largely staffed and operated by non-Americans. A generation ago, kids were pushed and shoved into “computer jobs” by any means necessary, only to find that their dream job was already occupied by an H1-B.

          Reply
          • Paul

            The companies I mentioned are just a few. The list goes on and on on west coast as I am sure you know. Side note, I outrank you in IT since graduating from Purdue school of Engineering in computer science in 1984 and still at it. H1 visas are a symptom, not the cause. Those companies at the bleeding edge, can’t get enough of the great talent they need. (Make no mistake, America has a shortage of great math and science students. While Americans major in business and other non science/math majors, Indians and Chinese and Russians and Iranians major in large numbers in math and sciences). So they (American high tech companies), require some H1 augmentation. Where the abuse for H1s occur is not by those type companies, it is by your middle America corporations that have decided to reduce costs on all fronts, and outsource to Infosys or Tech Mahindra, who in turn bring their cheap Indian talent to America to staff those positions that require on shore talent. Those companies are the same ones that may use cheap contractors, or outsource call centers to overseas, or decide on using cheap parts in place of heavy long lasting equipment.

            We are moving away from why I picked on this article. You are decidedly pro American made, as though America has a monopoly on all things good that are human made. As Honda and Toyota have proven, machines can be made better by some overseas cultures. Doesn’t mean America is not good at making and building things, but it doesn’t mean America is also number 1 in manufacturing.

            Here is the thing America is good at:
            Concepts. Filling a Need. Entrepreneurship.

            Men can’t get erections, so medical companies come up with Viagra.

            Rentals of cars are expensive, and taxis are nowhere to be found, here comes Uber.

            Can’t buy a car or a home in other countries because you don’t have cash? No worries. In America we have 30 year mortgages, and 72 and 84 month car loans to rescue.

            Cable TV is too expensive? No worries, here come streaming technologies that make yesterday’s cable and DirecTV, the IBM mainframes of 70s and 80s.

            Need computing power? Can’t afford a mainframe or DEC or Unisys/Burroughs, Check your current laptops that have more computing power than those old dinosaurs.

            Need mobile computing power? check your newest cell phones.

            My point about this rant? Don’t lose the forest for the trees. People in middle America sometimes forget how great America is. Because where they live, things seem and are depressed as some companies that built things here are now gone. It is not about GM and Ford and other trinkets that are made here. It is about the culture. It is about filling the need. After all it is all a cycle. If we don’t have the jobs here to afford the trinkets that are now made in other countries, then we start building cheap things here again that people here can afford, right?

            And no number of H1 visas given or not given change that. America is safe, as a walk through your nearest Best Buys and looking at all the various streaming gadgets should tell you. We are thriving, not going down the tube. You just need to know where the action is. And remember, we are GREAT at filling the need and concepts. No one else in the world is even remotely close.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            Always nice to hear from an old hand in tech!

            I want to believe what you’re saying. But the cynic in me says… how come China, India, Israel et al manage to have both a tech economy and a manufacturing economy? Why do Americans have to choose?

            The fact of the matter is that the most brilliant American students are going into finance because they can do the math on what Google pays vs. what Goldman Sachs pays. And the Wall Street firms are closed shops where foreigners need not apply. It’s sad but true.

          • tresmonos

            Paul,
            You graduated in 1984. I’ve got 20 years on you in STEM and a better education. From my perspective I can tell you this – you’re out of touch. I’ve helped outsource STEM jobs. Everyone is replaceable in today’s economy.

            There are backbone engineering positions and there are the drones that execute the vision. The only people that will have jobs left are the visionaries. And the more project managers, coders, design and release engineers we outsource, the more likely those visionaries will come from abroad. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if you believe in the world reaching parity. I personally think it’s horrible as we inhabit the best country on earth.

          • Hogie roll

            I can’t believe he’s repeating that trope about can’t get the talent they need. Turn off H1B. Once they have to hire American, wages go up, then more kids enter STEM. Supply and demand is truly baffling and I didn’t even study finance.

        • Ronnie Schreiber

          ” how come China, India, Israel et al manage to have both a tech economy and a manufacturing economy?”

          Regarding Israel, Pinchas Rutenberg’s establishment of a hydroelectric plant on the Jordan river a century ago can’t be ignored as a factor in the growth of Palestine’s and then Israel’s economy. Add to that the Technion, Israel’s MIT/Cal Tech level engineering school (and Hebrew University’s engineering school as well, built by my mom and her friends volunteering for ORT). Intel, Motorola and many leading tech firms have large facilities in Israel in no small part because of those engineering schools.

          Add to that the fact that David Ben Gurion and other, mostly socialist, Israeli leaders recognized the need for industry. Israel needed to be an exporting country, both with agricultural products like Yaffa oranges and hothouse flowers, and with manufactured goods. Kaiser-Frazer Israel assembled knocked down kits first of KFs, then of Studebakers and accounted for 25% of the country’s GDP in some of those years. Then there was the move by the kibbutz movement away from socialist agriculture to cooperatively owned manufacturing facilities. Back in the ’70s they started exporting cheap plastic goods, yesterday I noticed that the Rigid tool cases sold by Home Depot are made in Israel.

          While textile mills and steel mills aren’t needed there now as those goods can be imported, Israel’s leadership in the 1950s knew they were building a country and a country needs industry.

          Also, Israel is not particularly rich when it comes to natural resources. The country’s greatest resource are smart, creative people who are willing to take a risk. The entire Zionist endeavor, hell, being Jewish just by itself means being willing to take some risks.

          I will say that a lot of Israeli firms, like American and European firms these days, are doing the design and engineering there and outsourcing manufacturing to eastern Europe or Asia. HumanEyes, which makes my Vuze VR camera, has them made in China. I do custom embroidery for some Judaica sellers and I’ve started seeing “Designed in Israel” on some stuff.

          Reply
        • Daniel J

          In the last few years there is between 40K and 60K bachelor degrees given out a year in Computer Science, Software Engineering, and Computer Engineering. Are THAT many new jobs out there that they can’t be filled by Americans? Call me suspicious. Then again, it would explain why in some areas the pay rates haven’t increased. Just get them from somewhere else instead of forcing the local market to meet demand.

          Reply
          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            To the contrary, the job market is shrinking, aided by the moronic focus on agile programming and devops that privilege speed and “velocity points” over quality of product.

  18. Jason smith

    Iron and resin brand motorcycle jeans are made with cone mills denim woven with dyneema thread for abrasion resistance.

    Reply

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