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Fault Lines by Raghuram G. Rajan

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CHAPTER FOUR

A Weak Safety Net

BADRI ENTERED THE UNITED STATES as a student more than a quarter century ago.1 After obtaining a handful of degrees, including a PhD in metal-lurgical engineering, he got a job in 1997 in a joint venture between a German firm and an American firm near Washington, DC, making state-of-the-art memory chips. Badri's first job was to help set up the fabrication line for a new set of chips and to reduce the fraction of defective chips produced. The task made full use of his considerable knowledge and skills because it required troubleshooting really complicated processes and machines. Seventy-hour weeks were common.

Over time, the American partner sold out. The German firm spun off the joint venture into a separate ...

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