Some guys and myself were talking about the economy in general the other day, and after a few rounds it started to become clear that we are now moving into a whole new world order. Its been almost 30 years since China opened up to the west and the big boom in cheap products started. Across the board, we have been living a high life on the cheap labor and government subsidized exports from China. But the rapid improvements in Chinese domestic lifestyles are putting huge inflationary pressures on their entire system. In our little corner of the system where we are concerned about all sorts of metal working tools, the results are getting pretty clear. 25-30 years ago, companies could go to China and start up businesses with little or no investment because the Chinese government would fund the tool up costs just to create exports. In those days finished machine tool castings were about $0.25 per kilo. Today, with steel in short supply the price is about 10 times that amount and rising every day and there are no more free start ups- If you go to China with a design, you will most likely have to put up at least 25-50,000.00 for the engineering and molds. With our own economy in tatters, and prices bound to escalate for hobby and small business machines, we may see some real shake ups in the industry. I think we have seen the end of days for cheap metalworking machines.