I know this one will light some fires...
Interesting discussion to which I want to add a few questions to present a different view.
1. Do we really believe that answers to posts of eFunda will 'give away' techonological gems? Seriously?
2. Can people produce goods and services to quality by blindly following instructions (technology) without any inventiveness?
3. Two centuries ago, the western world created the steam engine and the textile looms. Many millions 'lost' their jobs in India and China. Then it was OK to beat the world with innovation and technology, and if jobs were lost, tough! Market forces made jobs flow one way earlier, now it may make these flows reverse. Why are market forces not OK now?
4. The Economist, a respected political and economics weekly, quotes some figures on outsourcing of service jobs from the US; as I recall it, the volume is about 0.5% of all service jobs in the US. Sure, that includes all the burger flippers and check-out clerks as well, but there are many other 'high-tech' services retained too. Should you be beating your breast on such numbers?
5. On the comment on US Universities being better than others, I would ask that you take another look. True, some of the best are in the US and they produce some outstanding talent. Posts on eFunda are not a good test of the what is out there in terms of the best. Have you looked at the real competition from outside the US? And have you looked at some of US grads who are not among the best?
6. Finally, have we forgotten the brain drain? Dont we know that the US attracts the best and the brightest from the same countries that seem to be beneficiaries of outsourcing? Guess who gets the green cards, and their average age. If you take a walk in some of the best Campuses in the US, try to check the nationalities or ethnic origin of the Masters and PhD students. I have done a straw poll, and I guess over 30% have an asian origin! With this mass of intellect (and the corresponding deficit in the countries of origin), where do you think innovation will originate? Market forces move these students, the same ones that decide outsourcing.