On a related note, does Boeing actually MAKE anything?
I'm not talking about collecting millions of parts from 300 vendors and piecing them all together to form a "finished" product. Do they make anything from scratch?
Truth is, few aircraft manufacturers build these things from "scratch" as you say anymore. Take a look at Airbus as well...all the subcontracts to US companies.
B4e-Forever New Frontiers
The concept of building something "from scratch" or building it "from parts" is very elastic and relative nowdays. Nobody builds anything from scratch. Nothing of any significant complexity is built from scratch nowdays, at least. Even the little that is made without premade parts is made with premade tools.
In my own field - software development - this goes to extremes. In almost all professional programs, most of the code used by a project is not made by the project's programmers. It is imported from standard libraries (this is where most of it comes from, for most languages, in most places.) . It is generated by other software - by tools like simple compilers and full-fledged IDE's. A great deal of most program's functionality is dependent upon the operating system it was written for. A one line, simple system call can invoke thousands of lines of operating system code.
If this were not so, even a simple program that displays "Hello World" in a window on your computer screen would be prohibitively expensive to write. Doing this on a PC
with no software would take even a team of assembly language gurus considerable time to do. Even then, the assembly language programers would need basic tools like assemblers to do this job. There probably isn't a programmer on earth who could program for modern hardware without a least a little bit of prewritten modern software to use as a tool to get the job done. I would like to see someone try to get a PC
to perform basic functions without using any software tools, nor any prewritten software at all other than that hard-wired into the test machine's ROM (Flash memory doesnt count - you have to rewrite the BIOS, also. You get all the hardware you need but none of the software - except that which cannot be erased from the hardware. Have fun
As modern technology grows more complicated, people and corperations become more specialized and more dependent upon others in their work. This is not the doing of Boeing, it is simply the innevitable result of the advance of technology.
Lets suppose you put a western, well-educated nation of 100 million people on an isolated planet just like Earth. Lets suppose that you give them nothing, leave them as naked cavemen. Lets suppose you make sure that their basic needs are met - that they have food and shelter. Lets suppose you also give them access to something like the US Library of Congress - KNOWLEDGE would be no problem.
With all the free time they need and all the knowledge we have today, could they recreate modern civilization - starting with nothing but what the cavemen started with? My guess is NO. At least, not for many centuries. Just about all of our technology that matters is built with the assumption that a mature and well-understood technological base already exists. Take that base away and even if you have a few gadgets they will be as worthless as a human arm is without the rest of a human body.
Our technological base is pretty resilient. It has regenerated itself after many severe disasters. But destroy enough of it, or destroy the right parts of it, and it will die. And no ammount of knowledge and experience will be able to revive it. It is like a living thing, in a way. Many living organism are very tough and can handle a lot of damage, they can even repair themselves very well. But once you kill a living thing, it is dead and nothing can bring it back to life. One possible danger of globalization is that it unites the world's technological base into a single entity or "organism". If some nuclear war or other catastrophe would cause that organism to "die", that would also be the death of most of the human race. This is because the Earth cannot support a hunting and gathering population as large as ours even if we still knew how to hunt and gather.........
.........Sorry to go so far off the topic, but I find this so fascinating........