Liberal arguments? Manufacturing itself does operate in cycles and cannot trend downward infinitely unless the entire world suddenly turns Luddite. Even automated manufacturing requires a vibrant repair and maintenance industry; factory machines are not self-repairing organisms that can be back to good working order after a night of sleep. (Never mind the fact that automation was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to begin with.)
What seems to be ignored here is the importance of manufacturing to national security, never mind the unfriendliness of liberals to manufacturing since the end of WWII what with piling on the regulations and taxation (which kills new start-up businesses within a year for the most part in the USA).
We can act now to make America into the first 100% ownership driven society.
Every man a CEO, a Board Room in every garage, the New Contract with America, a Fair Contract for Americans, ....... a gazillion other slogans.
When there's only one job left, it need not be the janitor who turns out the lights ~ it can be the Chairman Of The Board!
Thank you for posting this. The future is not going to be won by the country with the cheapest labor, or the country which has the most factories. It also isn’t going to be won by the country with the best service-oriented economy. It will be won by the country which most readily adapts culturally and economically (in terms of the nature of currency, primarily) to the very deep changes occurring in pretty much every aspect of life.
We are heading to a point where marginal costs of production approach zero, where a relatively miniscule amount of man-hours can provide everything that we need. This is, in general, an extremely positive development, that will occur over the next handful of decades. But getting from here to there will require massive change. These changes will not be pleasant, if history serves as any guide.
I find this question fascinating, since it requires questioning almost everything we think we know about society and economics. For example, cities teeming with people made sense when they were the hub of manufacturing. Now, they are archaic ecosystems financed by transfer payments, debt, and the white collar versions of ditch digging and filling (business services whose role is primarily for lobbying, or for adhering to the labyrinth of regulations). Over time, this will change. But not easily and not without serious problems.
And that is just one simple example. The changes over the next few decades will call into question everything from the fractional reserve system, to the purpose of education, to the role of nations themselves.
Hearing people call for the return of “manufacturing” is somewhat akin to calling for the return to a life in the trees. When the old system dies, as it is in the process of doing, it will be replaced by something fundamentally unrecognizable. The only question now involves the somewhat painful path from a to b.
Find ways to,lower the costs of jobs, and those jobs will come.
What we need is higher labor costs and more immigration.
Alarmist cranks have been preaching this baloney since the 1700's.
They always ignore that someone will have to design and build the automation. And the raw materials for that automation will have to be dug out of the ground by someone. And the automation that reduces the number of jobs needed to dig the raw materials out of the ground will have to be designed by someone else and built by yet someone else again.
And so on.
We're seeing job losses now because the government is making it too expensive to hire. Investment in automation always cuts jobs where the automation is applied. That's its purpose. But in the 400 years since the Industrial Revolution began, more people have always found better work.
It's somewhat counter-intuitive, but you might call it the "growing pie" effect.
It worked very well till Obama was elected. But that's a different story.
What we need is what we’re getting. It won’t be easy, but the most ingenuous will survive these economic and other corrections, rebuild and produce.
Ever more strongly. America needs a strong, growing and innovative manufacturing base.
We need laws encouraging building things here. And we need to innovate. Now.
We have offshored everything for almost an entire generation. Everything under the sun has been offshored.
I say bring them all back.
Now. All of them.
What about the jobs to transport the finished goods from the manufacturing plant to the retail outlets?
What about the jobs to mainain the manufacturing equipment?
What about the lubricants and other materials used in the manufacturing process, and the jobs to manufacture and transport those?
What about the jobs to provide the power to run the manufacturing plants?