Skip to comments.Manufacturing a Recovery. America Needs to Start Making Things again.
Posted on 08/30/2011 2:24:42 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
THE United States became the worlds largest economy because we invented products and then made them with new processes. With design and fabrication side by side, insights from the factory floor flowed back to the drawing board. Today, our most important task is to restart this virtuous cycle of invention and manufacturing.
Rebuilding our manufacturing capacity requires the demolition of the idea that the United States can thrive on its service sector alone. We need to create at least 20 million jobs in the next decade to offset the effects of the recession and to address our $500 billion trade deficit in manufactured goods. These problems are related, given that service sector accounts for only 20 percent of world trade.
To make our economy grow, sell more goods to the world and replenish the work force, we need to restore manufacturing not the assembly-line jobs of the past, but the high-tech advanced manufacturing of the future.
Advanced manufacturing relies on the marriage of science and engineering in cutting-edge fields. Cepheid, a company in Sunnyvale, Calif., with a market capitalization of more than $2 billion, designs and manufactures sophisticated instruments that use DNA analysis to detect infectious disease and cancer; its products are used by hospitals for diagnoses and by the Postal Service to screen mail for anthrax.
A young company called Lilliputian Systems has developed handheld chargers for mobile devices. The chargers use a recyclable high-energy butane cartridge to replenish cellphones and laptops more efficiently than wall chargers. The company has a pilot manufacturing plant in Wilmington, Mass., plans to expand its production capacity and uses an Intel component that is also made in Massachusetts.
A decade ago, with help from an Energy Department grant, Yet-Ming Chiang, an M.I.T. professor, made a nanotechnology breakthrough by manipulating lithium battery electrodes.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
For those who want to know, the MIT professor, Yet Min Chiang helped start a company, A123 Systems, that now makes millions of batteries each year for hybrid-electric cars and buses and large-scale energy storage systems. The company recently hired its 1,000th employee. About half the workers at its plant in suburban Detroit were unemployed before A123 Systems came to town.
Like the jet aircraft made by Boeing, one of the countrys largest exporters, products like these require sophisticated manufacturing equipment, operated by skilled workers, and benefit from the tight integration of design and production. With goods like these, the United States can reassert an economic advantage. If we can find ways for companies of every size to exploit the possibilities of nanofabrication, advanced materials, robotics and energy efficiency, we can create networks of innovation, joining lab research to new production processes and business models.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
Susan Hockfield, a neuroscientist, is the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a director of General Electric
we will when it becomes economically feasible
taxes and regulations have made the US a bad investment
Is A123 Systems a unionized company?
“America Needs to Start Making Things again.”
But it wont be huge plants employing a bunch of drones looking to make 30.00/hr + benefits as we had.
It will likely be small shops that emphasize quality and employ a small, tight group of craftspeople that will lead the way.
Agree... soooo who ownes the means of production?
The private sector (the America we new)
or Government (a socialist sh_th_le)
Now, 90% of what you buy is Made in China, it seems.
Yeah, I've been smoking something I guess.
“As we became more connected to China, that poses the question of whether our wages are being set in Beijing,” Rodgers said.
Finding it harder to compete with cheaper manufacturing costs abroad, the U.S. has emerged as primarily a services-producing economy. That trend has created a cultural shift in the job skills American employers are looking for.
Whereas 50 years earlier, there were plenty of blue collar opportunities for workers who had only high school diploma, now employers seek “soft skills” that are typically honed in college.”
To start manufacturing again, America needs to start exploiting its energy resources. Get over the global warming scam.
Or use robots for automation. Robots don't strike, or call in sick.
“Whereas 50 years earlier, there were plenty of blue collar opportunities for workers who had only high school diploma, now employers seek soft skills that are typically honed in college.”
The problem is, the soft skill stuff is even easier to move overseas as the blue collar stuff. I don’t think regs and unions have as much to do with it as how cheap labor is around the world. Until things balance out, which means our standard of living goes down, this kind of economy is how it is.
The US does still manufacture things. This is bogus. If you don’t believe it, look it up.
gtf out of the way of business. otherwise, it’s a pipe dream, and no top-down “initiative” will change that.
the Communist Government has poisoned the WELL so bad nothing can survive their bureaucracy
Look around your house and garage. Do you really need more stuff? If the answer is no, then the premise is wrong.
Typical,New York Times commentator solution to bolster high tech manufacturing jobs. When you wade through the obfuscation, she recommends that the government invests....No wonder she sits on one of Obama’s committees.
If we are looking to retain high tech manufacturing jobs how about a policy that all revenues from products manufactured stateside pursuant to new patents will not be subject to a corporate tax.
“That trend has created a cultural shift in the job skills American employers are looking for.”
Some good blue collar and entry level jobs I held growing up; golf caddy (replaced by carts) gas station attendant (replaced by automation) plastics molder (replaced by computers) steel rule die maker (replaced by automation) tractor blade stamping and deburring (replaced by automation) and assorted other assembly and labor jobs. left a job once because the union moved in and I didn’t like them. Hated and distrusted them.
Dick Cheney was right. America has left me behind. I sit at a computer all day and answer technical questions about machinery and assembly applications. Not bad. Built a good small company, which is getting smaller.
How about 787 dreamliners in Charleston? OOPS, whitehouse says NO!
The below 100 IQ crowd, i.e. half the country, is not going to operate DNA spitting technology. We either raise tariffs and/or cut regulations or resign ourselves to the fact that we will have a welfare state. It is hard for me as a conservative to criticize the welfare state when we outsource EVERY blue collar job that isn’t already done by a illegal alien.
I think the one thing that will help companies is to establish their own schools, educating their own people in the fields that are important to them. I worked for such a company that was having problems finding other companies, in the local area, that could manufacture their products. This company established their own sheet metal shops, casting shops, circuit board manufacturing, etc, etc. They grew to 22,000 employees, world wide, and became a multi-billion dollar company. Profit sharing was unreal. At one time an employee could double their pay. As people got trained in the schools and went on to higher paying jobs, the company would back fill their employees with new hires. They did it right and prospered. It can be done across the nation.
This worked for the company, Tektronix in Oregon, until the founders passed away and the good ole boys took over. Thanks to their ideas, the company is now down to about 5,000 employee and owned by a company not within our borders. We need to go back to some of the old ways that built this country.
...when any union official starts attempting to "organize" any American workforce, they are tarred and feathered forthwith..
....and another way to bring back manufacturing here is to make the Chinese goods relatively expensive...this can be done thru tariffs..
...enough to make Wal Mart look for American goods again...there is no reason that American companies can't make flip-flops etc....therefore creating jobs which anyone can do.
...China won't like it one bit, but screw them...they have 1.4 billion people....they need to get them to buy their stuff.
Oh, I agree our government screws up everything, but the US is still manufacturing many things in spite of the politicians’ efforts to crush our economy.
We CAN make things.
Just get the government and unions the hell out of the way..........
,,,,,,,, it’s the unions and big govt. chasing manufacturing out of this country and until that nut is cracked ,,,, good luck !!!!
The EPA puts lots of barriers into the may of any & all manufacturers in the USA.....new or old. They do their best to stop all activity.
There is no lack of blood, just a glut of vampires in America. just as there is no lack of jobs, just permission from those who set themselves up to be kings.
Manufacturing a Recovery. America Needs to Start Making Things again.
This is obvious but it ain’t going to happen. There is too much money being made through the cheap labor in other countries. To make money in this country it would require us to pollute the air and water, don’t inspect the food or anything else, labor working at coolie wages, end social security, health care, taxes, public education, road maintenance and elect Wall Street favorites. God Help Us.
We can't get out of this recession until we stop free trading with a sworn enemy.
Eliminate regulations against new, small manufacturing starts—especially local regulations (zoning in rural areas).
Yes, it can -- if the government would only leave it alone. The very last thing we need is an industrial "policy".
You're right. That we are still, far and away, the largest manufacturer in the world comes as a surprise to most people. We could manufacture even more if not for Federal Reserve inflationary policies that have made us increasingly uncompetitive.
We can’t export service industry jobs, we can make things because we elect governments that want more employees of their own. Whose sole role it is to make rules against making things. Manufacturing is viewed by the ruling elites in DC as polluting.
We have an industrial “policy”
It’s called “globalization”.
The biggest thing affecting American workers, however, is the fact that labor has now become a global commodity. U.S. workers have now been merged into a global labor pool. Americans must now directly compete for jobs with hundreds of millions of desperate people willing to work for slave labor wages on the other side of the globe.
So exactly how is an American worker supposed to compete with a highly motivated person on the other side of the planet that makes $1.50 an hour with essentially no benefits?
Just think about it.
If you were a big global corporation, would you want to hire American workers which would cost you 10 or 20 times more after everything is factored in? It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out why millions of jobs have been leaving the United States. Corporations love to make more money. Many of them will not hesitate for an instant to pay slave labor wages if they can get away with it. The bottom line for most corporations is to maximize shareholder wealth.
Slowly but surely the number of good jobs in the United States is shrinking and those jobs are being sent to places where labor is cheaper.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, U.S. multinational corporations added 2.4 million new jobs overseas during the first decade of this century. But during that same time frame U.S. multinational corporations cut a total of 2.9 million jobs inside the United States.
So where are all of our jobs going?
They are going to places like China.
The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
In addition, over 40,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed permanently during the past decade.
What do you think is eventually going to happen if the U.S. economy continues to bleed jobs and factories so badly?
As the U.S. has faltered, China has become an economic powerhouse.
Ten years ago, the U.S. economy was three times as large as the Chinese economy. At the turn of the century the United States accounted for well over 20 per cent of global GDP and China accounted for significantly less than 10 per cent of global GDP. But since that time our share of global GDP has been steadily declining and Chinas share has been steadily rising.
According to the IMF, China will pass the United States and will become the largest economy in the world in 2016.
Should we all celebrate when that happens?
Should we all chant Were Number two? Our economy is falling to pieces and the competition for the few remaining good jobs has become super intense.
The average American family is having a really tough time right now. Only 45.4 per cent of Americans had a job during 2010. The last time the employment level was that low was back in 1983.
Not only that, only 66.8 per cent of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.
Just think about that.
33.2 per cent of American men do not have jobs.
And that figure is going to continue to rise unless something is done about these economic trends.
Today, there are 10 per cent fewer middle class jobs in the United States than there were a decade ago. Tens of millions of Americans have been forced to take whatever they can get. A lot of very hard working people are basically working for peanuts at this point. In fact, half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.
Things have gotten so bad that tens of thousands of people showed up for the National Hiring Day that McDonalds held. With the economy such a mess, flipping burgers or welcoming people to Wal-Mart are jobs that suddenly dont look so bad.
Right now America is rapidly losing high paying jobs and they are being replaced by low paying jobs. According to a recent report from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries accounted for 40 per cent of the job losses over the past 12 months but only 14 per cent of the job growth. Lower wage industries accounted for just 23 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months and a whopping 49 per cent of the job growth.
Thanks to the emerging one world economy, the U.S. is transitioning from a manufacturing economy to a service economy.
But it certainly doesnt help that China is using every trick in the book to steal our industries. China openly subsidizes domestic industries, they brazenly steal technology and they manipulate currency rates.
A recent article on Economy In Crisis described how the Chinese paper industry has been able to grow by threefold over the past decade while the U.S. paper industry has fallen apart .
From 2002 to 2009, the Chinese government poured $33.1bn into what should be an unproductive industry. But, with the help of government subsidies, China was able to ride export-driven growth to become the worlds leading producer of paper products.
In the same time frame that China pumped $33bn into its paper industry, U.S. employment in the industry fell 29 per cent, from 557,000 workers to just 398,000.
So why should we be concerned about all of this?
What is the G.O.P plan to stop this hemmoraging of jobs offshore? More “trickle down”? The tax cuts haven’t done anything to create incentives for multi nationals to stay in this country to create jobs..but globalism is enriching the globalists. Deregulation brought us massive bank bailouts and proved that some oversight on business is needed..
sounds great... even simple...., now get government out of the way of private initiative, reduce corporate taxes, bust unions.... hmmmm everything the Liberal in office stands for... how’s it gonna happen?
The big issue in our inability to compete with China on manufacturing jobs is in large part due to the currency peg the PRC maintains on the yuan.
So we must borrow more from China, at what some say are unsustainable levels, to compete with China. Sounds like a good plan.
No it isn’t bogus. How old are you? I remember when almost EVERYTHING was made in the U.S.A. Yeah we still manufacture some things and it looks like the Obama regime and the Unions are doing eveyting they can to run the rest of the manufacturers out of the country ( BOEING for one ). I remember when TVs,radios appliances,bicycles,cameras,tools, building materials, light bulbs,toys, Clothes ( LEVIS etc )...I could go on and on... just about anything you had was made here.....it is very hard to find anything made here...Hell I even bought a Chevy Pickup and guess where it was made? MEXICO....the next time Easter comes around try to find some candy still made here, I was appalled to see how much Easter candy was made in China..... and Most candy is made in either Mexico or Canada..So no this isn’t bogus....
Well, I’m old enough to be in curmudgeon territory. ;-)
I know it seems that everything is made in China today, but it simply is not true. I read blogs and articles by various free market economists, and the statistics show that the US is still the leader in manufacturing. I wish I could find the latest article I read. I can’t remember if it was written by Don Boudreaux or David Henderson or who.
See, I told you I was old!
As long as it it cheaper to make or do something somewhere else in the world, that is where the work will go. It doesn’t matter if you cut taxes, reduce regulations, remove all other roadblocks to productivity, etc., companies will seek out places that have the lowest overhead, and the ones that stay behind will eventually be squeezed out by their now multi-national competitors. One thing people forget is that companies are in the business of making money, not jobs. Their loyalties lie with their shareholders and financiers. Hurts to say it, but we’ve all have been watching it unfold over the last 40 years. The big question is how can this situation be reversed?
Thanks for that excellent post. It tell it like it is. When industry continues to ‘starve’ the American consumer their greed will also ‘starve’ the American consumer of purchasing power. The death spiral will continue.
The U.S. still makes some highly technical stuff that the Chinese haven't mastered yet, but it seems that most manufactured goods for sale at the consumer retail level is Chinese-made. Shoddy goods at that. Consumer goods do account for a substantial part of the economy. Think how many jobs could be created if we made those goods again.