Well the equipment has to be built in part from parts built in the fabs that are in short supply!You know these semiconductor companies really love to complain how expensive it is to build a fab when begging for taxpayer dollars, but I don't think I've ever seen one publicly justify why these prices are so incomprehensibly high. I really mean incomprehensibly. The human brain is not capable of understanding of the massive amount of labor and resources that a billion or ten or a thousand billion dollars truly represents.
Where are they getting their manufacturing equipment? Is it sourced from a monopoly? Is every single nut and bolt used on their lines painstakingly handcrafted with a thousand hours of artisan labor? What makes fab equipment so special? I know they've said a hundred times that we must take their word on it being hard and expensive, but why is it so hard and expensive. What are the expensive parts, why are they so expensive, and what can a government do to get the costs down to a realistic level?
What prevents new companies from getting into the business of "selling a single assembly line to the silicon cartels, built from equipment valued at more than the entire lifetime output of 10,000 engineers".
Is the answer to all this is just a mountain of IP/patents/copyrights/licensing? Not every part of the world cares about such things.