Sunday, July 08, 2007

Boeing Unveils 787 Dreamliner

We watched the roll-out ceremony for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner online this afternoon.

At the end of all the typical congratulatory speeches and short films, hosted by Tom Brokaw, the movie screens were pulled aside to reveal the 787 coming into the view of the gathered employees and dignitaries. It was a very stirring scene, which I have to admit made my eyes water a bit -- though it's a commercial airliner, it was almost a patriotic moment. It struck me that the plane and the creativity behind it represent what is good about American capitalism.

I asked my husband why they were holding the ceremony on a Sunday, and then he pointed out today's date. :)

Update: More here, and photos of the hangar doors opening are here.


Blogger Dana said...

The Bonester is loaded up with Boeing stock; so the Dreamliner's success bodes well for that big screen TV and outdoor bar-b-que I've had on the backburner. (Selfish, selfish, only thinking about Number One.)

Still, on the patriotic front, Laura says: "It struck me that the plane and the creativity behind it represent what is good about American capitalism."

Unfortunately, that "capitalism" means many of the Dreamliner's components are being manufacturered in Italy and Japan and other foreign counties, then shipped to Washington state only for final assembly. Part of what makes the 787 so revolutionary--besides the lightweight shell--is that it's being constructed in sections, like a pre-fabricated house, and then "snapped together." This modular sensibility means Boeing can shop the world market. So expect its aircraft to eventually have the "Assembled in the U.S.A. from parts made in Malaysia" sticker.

So there's no getting around the global economy. Despite the feel-good hoopla, this is probably the LEAST American plane ever to roll off the assembly line.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

If you click on the link for Boeing's online presentation, you will find that the roll-out ceremony was available online in nine -- count 'em, nine -- languages. Great marketing.

Boeing's creation of a new plane which is selling like hotcakes around the globe seems very capitalistically American to me (grin), even though some portions are being made overseas. Although it's very true some portions are being made overseas, production of components is spread throughout the U.S., including South Carolina and Kansas. Here's an interesting article describing how the components are being brought together and then shipped to Washington:

Best wishes,
Laura (another Boeing stockholder)

9:26 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

"So there's no getting around the global economy."

A postscript, your post inspired a very interesting discussion with my daughter, who pointed out there has always been a global economy, it's just that the speed at which this global economy moves is now much faster as the world is all now more easily connected. That interconnectedness makes it easier for some jobs to leave our country, which is generally what people worry about when they talk about the "global economy," but that's just one particular angle of the total global economy, which also includes trade (such as Boeing turning around and selling those planes to the world).

The global economy in history: for instance, think about the early explorers and trade going back to earliest times...the discoveries of new things (spices, jewels, etc.) to trade and new places to trade them was a big impetus for early exploration.

When I visited the House of Seven Gables in Salem, I always remember the tour guide saying that when Hawthorne lived there, you "could smell the world" when walking along the harbor because the ships carried spices from various countries...we were trading globally. Some colonies were started to support sending certain products (tea, cocoa, etc.) to their mother countries...a kind of early "outsourcing" although the products could not be produced in the mother countries due to environment. And look at our own early economic relationship with England. We relied on them for certain products, they relied on us for other materials and products, until we dumped the tea overboard, at least. We were deeply interconnected with other nations even then, it's just that communication and trade took longer.

Well, anyway, thanks for being the springboard for an interesting discussion!

Best wishes,

12:03 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Interesting points. I suppose there would be no United States Of America if Columbus wasn't interested in the "global economy."

What's troubling is that well into the 1960s the United States was almost wholly self-sufficient. We produced everything we consumed. Imports were mostly novelty items or raw materials for finished products out of our factories. If the rest of the world vanished, the United States--our way of life--would have gone on nearly unimpeded.

That's no longer true. "Interconnectness" has led to a kind of blackmail and vulnerability. The European model of the post-modern state believes this to be a good thing (as does Bush). Here's how Tony Blair saw the "benefits" of New Globalism:

1. The breaking down of the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs.

2. Mutual interference in domestic affairs and mutual surveillance.

3. The growing irrelevance of borders.

4. Security based on transparency, mutual openness, interdependence and mutual vulnerability.

I'd rather be dependent on fellow citizens who share my values than the Chinese, Saudis and Mexicans--even if I have to pay a few extra bucks for a toaster.

I highly recommended THE GREAT BETRAYAL by Pat Buchanan. I've met Pat several times and he's on a VERY short list of political people I admire. He's right about everything, including this topic.

11:55 AM  

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