Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ come back

U.S. manufacturing jobs must come back (pp. 20-21 of the link):

Manufacturing is key to long-run prosperity because it is a major center of productivity growth and innovation. When U.S. manufacturing moves offshore, associated R&D can move too, thereby further diminishing future innovations at home. Another problem is that international trade remains concentrated in goods. This means that, over the long haul, countries need to be able to produce and sell manufactured goods in order to finance imports. The erosion of U.S. manufacturing capacity undermines this ability, potentially risking a future decline in U.S. living standards . . .

And we know basically what has been happening for a helluva long time: other countries have been helping their manufacturing industries, manipulating their exchange rates, and/or under-paying their workers, while the U.S. has been sucking money out of domestic industry and putting it into financial speculation and overseas investment. These (obviously) have made our manufacturing industries uncompetitive:

U.S. consumers buy imports rather than American-made goods because imports are cheaper. This price advantage is often due to under-valued exchange rates in places like China and Japan, which often swamps U.S. manufacturing efficiency advantages.

Under-valued exchange rates are only one of the policies countries use to boost exports and restrain imports, so that they run trade surpluses while their trading partners (including the U.S.) run deficits. Other policies for export-led growth include export subsidies and barriers to imports.

In the modern era of globalization export-led growth is supplemented by policies to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), a pairing that has been particularly successful in China. Such FDI policies include investment subsidies, tax abatements, and exemptions from domestic regulation and laws.

These policies encourage corporations to shift production to developing countries, which gain modern production capacity. This increases developing country exports and reduces their import demand. Meanwhile, corporations reduce home country manufacturing capacity and investment, which reduces home country exports while increasing imports.

Mainstream economists have approved of the above, believing 'cheaper stuff at Walmart' compensates for the deep decline in good-paying jobs. But that hasn't happened, but that never bothers the true believers. And the above also is found more profitable, in the short-term, by our big corporations and banks and the Presidential candidates they contribute to, so even in the Democratic Party primaries we hear good-sounding rhetoric paired with 'secret' reassurances to big campaign contributors.

Nonetheless, the following division in thinking about our economy's problems nevertheless exists, it is just that the second position below for many years (decades?) hasn't had a place in the Democratic Party policy inner circle.

Over the last 30 years the American economy has exhibited a systematic disconnection between wages and productivity growth. This disconnection means that ordinary Americans are not properly sharing in the economy's growth, thus contributing to rising income inequality.

Rising inequality and the failure of wages to rise with productivity has triggered a fundamental debate among Democrats. One position argues that the underlying structure of the economy is sound, but workers must be offered a "helping hand" in the form of enlightened social policy, in the form of income supports, tax credits, educational assistance, and wage insurance. Policy would thereby ameliorate the effects of the disconnection between wages and productivity growth.

A second position is that the underlying structure of the economy is flawed, and policy needs to address the flaws. From this perspective, it is not enough to address "symptoms:" policy must address underlying "causes." Enlightened social policy is always welcome, but it is not adequate to the scale of the problem and therefore cannot produce the desired outcome--an economy in which productive work is appropriately rewarded and provides the means for participating in the American dream.

The second position's take is that reviving domestic manufacturing and at the same time domestic demand (by empowering labor to claim a greater share in the wealth it creates) are musts. Thomas Palley sums the matter up (on p. 9 of the pdf file):

The contradictions inherent in global export-led growth regime compels a need to shift the stance of development toward a path of domestic demand-led growth. This requires rising wages to support domestic consumption. However, it is exactly this outcome that is blocked by the existing pattern of globalization. Microeconomic leakiness, macroeconomic leakiness [Palley explains these relatively easy to understand terms earlier in the paper] and export-led growth combine to increase wage competition between developed and developing countries, and they tilt the economic playing field in favor of business at the expense of workers. A leveling of the economic playing field between business and labor is needed for, in the absence of such a leveling, labor will be unable to win the wages necessary to support domestic demand-led growth.

Or perhaps you'd rather go along with head-in-the-sand David Brooks:

Brooks  suggests there "is little evidence that trade has been a major cause of job loss or even wage stagnation" and instead touts "technological change" as the driver of "anxiety" for America's "struggling working class."

In truth, foreign producers have access to the same advanced technology as U.S. producers. As such, their only competitive advantage is to utilize predatory trade practices in order to produce more cheaply.  What Senators Obama and Clinton discussed at AAM's forum is that China is violating the rules of world trade when it artificially manipulates its currency to gain a price advantage. When U.S. workers fret about foreign cheating that robs them of good paying jobs, they're right to be concerned. For Mr. Brooks to suggest otherwise is patronizing, elitist, and simply ignorant.

More similar strong analysis both at thomaspalley.com and at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) blog, Manufacture This.

Tags: Economy, manufacturing, Thomas Palley (all tags)

Comments

55 Comments

Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

They will come back, but you have to be specific. They very possibly won't come back to the same area. Asking them to come back to their traditional rust-belt isn't very likely, since the geographic advantage is no longer as great. It is more advantageous for the factories to be on the coast, since most raw material now comes from overseas.

by Lost Thought 2008-05-30 12:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

The coastal access point is well taken, but the Great Lakes and related/connected waterways provide ample 'coastal' access.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

Oh, yes. But you have to give them a good reason to go through all those damn locks (sp?) when you could stop somewhere on the Boston<->Philadelphia corridor instead.

by Lost Thought 2008-05-30 12:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

Well, the cost is not great and mostly borne by govt, and time consumed is not a major concern when you're talking ship transportation. So, it may be cheaper to keep manufacturing steel in Gary, Indiana, for example, than to relocate it to someplace where that industry won't be wanted by the local population.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 01:06PM | 0 recs
Robotics..

The future of manufacturing is in robotics.. The US has a deteriorating industrial infrastructure but it is still world class. If we made an effort to become the world leader in robotic manufacturing we could probably catch up with the Japanese in ten years. Then we could make the US a world leader in manufacturing in the 21st century.

Don't think that robots means no jobs.

There would be lots of jobs. Good ones. High skilled jobs that would pay well.

We just have to think SMART.

by architek 2008-05-30 01:37PM | 0 recs
CMU in Pittsburgh is a center of robotics research
Many of NASA's top robotics people originally came from CMU. UIUC at Urbana-Champaign..is another MAJOR high-tech center. They also have NCSA (birthplace of the graphical WWW) This is the WORLD CLASS infrastructure that we can build on. Lets not look back into the past to the exclusion of looking into the future.. We CAN do both low tech and high tech.. we just need to see that path from here to there and a way of justifying and "incentivising" (sp?) it.
by architek 2008-05-30 02:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

The Great Lakes Region has the advantage of water.  Industrial processes consume obscene amounts of water.  It isn't wise or sustainable to place them in areas where there either isn't enough water or the competition with major metropolitan areas drive prices up or quality down.  I think this issue will become increasingly important.

by the mollusk 2008-05-30 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

That's a very good point. I wasn't thinking of the water input for the plants.

by Lost Thought 2008-05-30 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

Yeah, I think about water pretty much constantly.  My big worry is that someone with a real can-do attitude will think it's wise to put a bunch of water-intensive manufacturing plants "where the people are" in places like Nevada, Arizona, or Georgia and that will in time become a justification for some Neo New Deal water project diverting water from the Upper Midwest to somewhere else.  

by the mollusk 2008-05-30 01:21PM | 0 recs
What about the water output from the plants?

Some areas of the Great Lakes region are already so polluted that the spray off some of the lakes is a major health hazard in some areas.

There was a big scandal a few months ago about a report that the Bush administration hushed up.

by architek 2008-05-30 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: What about the water output from the plants?

I didn't hear about that.  Do you recall anything else about the story?

by the mollusk 2008-05-30 01:50PM | 0 recs
Found it..

>"Here's the report that top officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thought was too hot for the public to handle--and the story behind it."

http://www.publicintegrity.org/GreatLake s/index.htm

and

http://www.publicintegrity.org/GreatLake s/excerpts.htm

for PDF excerpts from the report..

:o

by architek 2008-05-30 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Found it..

Muchos gracias.

by the mollusk 2008-05-30 02:19PM | 0 recs
25 out of 26 areas have not been remediated and 9
million people live in those areas of concern.. (AOCs)
by architek 2008-05-30 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: What about the water output from the plants?

A lot of the pollution is the legacy of 1970s and earlier manufacturing pollution. Well, at least that's the case with eastern Lake Erie and adjacent chemical industries.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

There are simply much, much less lower or no-skill jobs available for the type of manufacturing that we will see in the future here in America.

It's the flip side to efficiency.  Every time there's an efficiency gain, there's usually a drop in the number of workers it takes to achieve a certain result.  If we were to build new manufacturing plants here... they would NEVER employ the same number of lower-skilled workers as before.

I agree that manufacturing is an important part of our financial future as a society; I don't agree that we are going to see a return to the types of jobs that people had before.  Sorry to say it to the rust belters, but their old way of life is NOT coming back and NEVER will and they would be better served to adjust to this, then DEMANDING that things go back to the 'way they were.'

by Lawyerish 2008-05-30 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

An economy with a large number of good paying manufacturing jobs must come back, but I didn't say it would come back.

It must come back because you have to have a prosperous working class and its 'demand side' in order to sustain an prosperous industrialized economy. That means a manufacturing economy, and the high cost of labor always generates a highly skilled workforce, not a low or no-skill one.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 01:12PM | 0 recs
Those jobs are for our kids, not for us..

Kids love robotics, but right now, even if they learn the new technologies, its still hard for them to find jobs.

Do we want all the robotic factories of the future to be built in China or India?

NO.

by architek 2008-05-30 01:42PM | 0 recs
What about worker owned businesses?
Corporations want a HUGE return on their investments but worker owned businesses are not so greedy. Many businesses might still be viable as worker owned businesses. Caveat.. Very real danger: predatory, unethical businesses selling desperate workers old obsolete plants often with serious cleanup issues, at inflated prices.. We want to avoid that..
by architek 2008-05-30 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: What about worker owned businesses?

What corporations want is not important, the problem is that they control the government here and so get what they want. Roosevelt here and many governments overseas have been able to keep corporations in line and working for what the govt thought was the broadly defined public interest.

But I do think it would be a good idea to have worker and creditor and maybe even government reps on corporate boards of directors.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 02:40PM | 0 recs
Thank you for this diary
Take a look at my earlier diary regarding "free trade". Notice some of the head in the sand comments there?
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/5/30/1147 52/294
by kevin22262 2008-05-30 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Thank you for this diary

It was mostly just 'authority song'. Don't sweat it, and thanks for your diary.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: FYI -

The market capitalization of General Motors is $9.7 billion.
The market capitalization of Google is $184 billion.
Google has only been publicly traded since August 2004.

The old saying, "What's good for GM is good for America."
just doesn't apply any more.
 

by johnnygunn 2008-05-30 12:44PM | 0 recs
to me

these two companies are not comparable.

by kevin22262 2008-05-30 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Pardon?

I'm not sure what you are talking about.

What those numbers suggest -
(regardless of what each produces)
is that capital is barely flowing to rust economy industries.

To chase after fewer and fewer dollars when there are so many other more effective avenues may be counterproductive - like investing in carriage companies after the invention of the automobile.

by johnnygunn 2008-05-30 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Pardon?

i don't think that's a good analogy.  carriage companies went out of business because the car did the same job only better.  google and gm don't do the same thing.  they just don't.

by the mollusk 2008-05-30 01:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Pardon?

Ever bought anything online?

by johnnygunn 2008-05-30 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Pardon?

sure, lots of things.  some of those things were probably even made by gm.  but google doesn't manufacture everything it sells online.  well, not yet anyhow.

by the mollusk 2008-05-30 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Pardon?

The internet has reduced the need to physically drive to the shopping center.

by johnnygunn 2008-05-30 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: FYI -

I would say, 'Buy GM, sell Google' if GM weren't managed by a bunch of financiers and bean counters.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 01:16PM | 0 recs
One other thing

how is the "experiment" going with allowing Mexican truckers to truck goods into the USA?

I see this as a first step towards breaking the Teamsters, dock workers unions and other unions.
I also heard that there are huge ports for containers being built in Mexico. Put those ports (is halliburton part of this?) using lower wage and non-union workers together with the Mexican truckers (low wage and non-union) add in NAFTA and you have effectively KILLED off a huge part of our high wage union jobs.

by kevin22262 2008-05-30 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: One other thing

You can't legislate this that easily, however.

You have to give companies a reason to be here, free trade agreement or not. This is the reality that UPS and the Internet have brought to the world. You no longer have to build beside your customer. We have to find new business models for these people to fit into, not demand that everything remain static.

In the meantime? That's what social welfare is all about.

by Lost Thought 2008-05-30 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: One other thing

actually... you can.

It is called Tariffs.

We need to end to monopolies of the corporations to dictate OUR economic futures. Corporations exist because we allow them to exist, not the other way around.

More people need to read and listen to Thom Hartmann and Ravi Batra.

by kevin22262 2008-05-30 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: One other thing

Here's the reason: you want to sell here, make most of your stuff here.

By the way, your new 'reality' is constructed by government subsidy and policy, it's not 'natural'.

By the way II, I think an important thing government needs to learn again to do is force business to act in the public interest rather than try to persuade them or subsidize them into doing so.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 01:20PM | 0 recs
Re: One other thing

DING!

Your last part is Spot On!

by kevin22262 2008-05-30 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

We absolutely need manufacturing jobs again.  People know we've lost those jobs, but 99.9% of Americans have no comprehension of the extent to which our modern economy now consists of nothing but shenanigans in the financial sector, traders moving unidentifiable securities back and forth to keep the money flowing.  It's crazy and unsustainable.

But what will we manufacture?  Absent truly radical forms of protectionism, we're not going to bring back anything that's significantly cheaper to make overseas, like textiles and such.  We can ease the pain for people when those jobs go away, but that's about it.

What we CAN do is get on board with new forms of manufacturing where America can get a leg up on the competition, most notably green jobs that are an important part of improving our environmental situation as well.  When we invest in the alternative energy sector the way Al Gore has been urging, we're going to create new technologies that are going to have to be put into action somewhere.  When we invent a better hybrid car, we can build it here.  When we invent an efficient solar panel or wind farm, we can build it here.  When countries like China are looking for environmentally-conscious alternatives to traditional forms of energy like coal, we can use our superior technology to build them here.  Won't it be nice to sell something to China for once?

It will require a real commitment by government to jump-start the sort of research and investment we need.  Electing Democrats who understand these concepts is a big part of making that happen.

by Steve M 2008-05-30 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

Continued increases in the cost of transportation may help level the playing field a bit.  Beyond that, I think people also need to realize that ramping up manufacturing is practically synonymous with a degraded environment.  Much of it is cosmetic, but it is real.  Drive through Gary, IN, Mobile, AL, International Fall, MN, Commerce City, CO, or Newark, NJ and see what I mean.  I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing as long as it is offset by improvements in the environment in other ways.  But I don't see an obvious way around it.

by the mollusk 2008-05-30 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

Obvious way around it: Don't 'compete' with overseas manufacturers on environmental degradation.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 01:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

Again, I urge you to take a drive through Gary, IN, International Falls, MN, Mobile, AL, Newark, NJ, or Commerce City, CO (these are the ones I know about).  This is what industrial manufacturing looks like in one of the cleanest countries in the world.

Personally, I'd be willing to accept an amount of environmental degradation.  It's happening anyhow in China and elsewhere currently.  The key is to have aggressive land conservation so that there are outlets.

by the mollusk 2008-05-30 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

No, it's not what manufacturing economy looks like, as if that look came down from God or nature. It's what it looked like when a particular set of laws and regulations allowed that landscape to be constructed. If we want a cleaner, more earth-friendly steel manufacturing district we can have one. And making things better will employ a lot of people hopefully at good paying jobs.

I've been to Gary and to beautiful Indiana Dunes nearby. Gary needs a lot of environmental clean-up work, it needs stronger controls on the pollutions emitted by its manufacturing, and it needs a lot of good-paying jobs. All three are compatible.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

But my point is that any way you slice it, you are dealing with large volumes of potentially toxic or hazardous materials and waste.  Accidents happen.  People, including government inspectors, don't do their jobs correctly.  George Bush gets elected.  The state has a budget shortfall and needs to cut jobs.  And once the damage has been done, then you're looking at a "cleanup" situation which typically gives you some kind of compromise that reduces the risk of cancer, but never really gets the area back to where it was.

I'm all for reducing this as much as possible.  And maybe a renewed global protectionism really is the way to go.  But either way, I think you have to expect a certain amount of environmental degradation with industrial manufacturing.

by the mollusk 2008-05-30 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

I agree, but there's lots of heavily polluted places like western NY, western PA, New Jersey, and Northwest Indiana where you wouldn't exactly be wrecking pristine nature by starting up a manufacturing region.

And we don't have to do it the way it was done last time, but I agree inevitably heavily industrialized landscapes do not end up looking like Greenwich, Connecticut or Palo Alto.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

Yeah, I agree.  It could probably be done better this time.  Especially if you re-started plants in some old industrial areas.  I have a memory of living near Mobile, AL and a phenol plant opened south of town.  When it opened, you literally could taste phenol on your lips when you went outside at night.  It tastes kind of like bactine smells.  Unbelievable.  It doesn't have to be that bad, but all it takes is one accident or one questionable agreement with local officials.

by the mollusk 2008-05-30 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

Virtually everything we absolutely must do assumes govt has somehow freed itself of the vice-grip of corporate interests and is governing for the broad public interest.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 02:31PM | 0 recs
LEAD and other heavy metals are a serious problem
Many of those old buildings are covered with paint that in some cases is 30% or more LEAD. The flaking rust is extremely toxic. Lead is a very real danger and indeed, in some mining areas it has lowered the IQ of entire counties SUBSTANTIALLY. Plus, you have an entire generation (myself included) who grew up around leaded gasoline. We have body lead burdens that are substantially higher than young people especially in areas where older buildings lead paint is not as common. Lead causes health problems like hypertension, systemic inflammation, heart disease, and neurological issues. People who grow up around a lot of lead often can't do simple math. Its not a joke, its a serious problem that the government if anything is underplaying. BTW, older people who have had lots of lead exposure DO benefit *substantially* from IV chelation with EDTA. Even people who have blood lead in the grey area benefit substantially. (although insurance wont pay for it unless someone is showing symptoms of serious lead poisoning) If you are wondering why I know so much about environmental health its because I was poisoned a few years ago by mold in my rented home and so I have done a lot of reading on this stuff.. in the hope of improving my health. Its a gradual process...
by architek 2008-05-30 02:48PM | 0 recs
Bioremediation..
Is a very promising new technology that could clean up a lot of those old sites. Google it.
by architek 2008-05-30 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: LEAD and other heavy metals are a serious prob

Like I said:

"Virtually everything we absolutely must do assumes govt has somehow freed itself of the vice-grip of corporate interests and is governing for the broad public interest."

The hidden pollution that industry gets away with simply wouldn't happen if we had a 'people powered' government.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 02:58PM | 0 recs
How? How about ending corporate personhood?
I'm sorry, when you say 'people powered government' I couldn't help but think about the Matrix where the (ridiculous) premise is that some kind of alien race that had created "The Matrix" would somehow keep millions of humans alive for their HEAT.. (still, it was a great movie) But, I hate to say it, at some point we are going to have to take the bitter pill that the old way wont work - on the other hand, we can smooth the transition to a new way that will work. By new way I dont mean anything radical, I just mean taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions and ending the vestiges of colonialism.. But that would mean ending the coercive kinds of situations that US corporate players have grown used to.. like addicts.. there wont be easy money.. If we dont say no to them, they will kill America.
by architek 2008-05-30 07:37PM | 0 recs
Actually a better way to describe it is..
SUSTAINABILITY... GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP AND INTEGRITY Good business practices.. Building long term partnering relationships with business here in the US and also building good relationships with clients and customers overseas.. the falling dollar is actually in some ways a major opportunity because it is making US business more competitive.
by architek 2008-05-30 07:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

You absolutely must have rational 'protectionism' that precisely disallows competition (to the bottom) on wages or the environment.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

I quite agree.  But if you wanted to bring back, say, the textile industry from the Far East, you'd have to go well beyond anything that's politically possible.

by Steve M 2008-05-30 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Ain't pandering, manufacturing jobs _must_ com

Other, smarter governments sit down and make educated guesses about what industries their economic geographies work most advantageously with. Then they design tariffs so those 'comparative advantage' industries are boosted, and dead-end industries are not. They're not always but usually right in their guesses, and having this kind of 'industrial policy' generally produces good economic results.

Anyway, I don't know about the textile industry in particular, and what industries might be best to focus on may be way beyond anyone's individual expertise. But we've had a gigantic textile industry in our country's fairly recent past, so I guess I just wouldn't dismiss at least partial revival possibilities out of hand.

by fairleft 2008-05-30 01:35PM | 0 recs
Industry doesn't necessarily mean lots of jobs..
These days, US companies 'creating jobs' can mean creating jobs in Bangalore or Shanghai. Thats where US companies dollar will buy them the most. If we want the jobs to be created in the US, we are going to have to figure out a way for that to happen. And honestly, I don't think the companies that will be getting money (is that how you folks are planning to get them to do it?) to create jobs here will get them to keep the jobs here once the money subsidy ends. Thats not how business works these days. What we should do is create some new buisness structures to incentivize. Lets end government subsidies to corporations. Corporations are redatory things. If we incentivize, lets incentivize worker-owned businesses, which have more of a community base and are ACCOUNTABLE. and lets end corporate personhood.
by architek 2008-05-30 07:27PM | 0 recs
Textile industry was in the South because of cheap
- high quality, labor there. When the tariffs came down, the factories could not compete while paying US wages, so many of them moved production elsewhere. The ones that have managed to survive here in the US do it by offering extremely high quality, value added products, or by making production so efficient they need far fewer people. Thats basically how it works. One big thing the government could do is take te burden of healthcare off of business. That is really necessary as the 20th century style job is endangered.. People are not going to be able to survive without changes across the board, that take the changing employment landscape into account. This is a problem for experts, but the first thing that we need to do is stop the denial. The past won't come back, we have to embrace change and adapt so we can make money into the future. What would it really hurt us to stop our punitive, vindictive approach to emplyment and instead, start trying to think of ways to end the worker/employer adversarial relationship and try to leverage everybody's best together. The most successful companies these days are ones that are less hierarchical. Rather than moving strictly up and down, people also move laterally which gives them an insight into the big picture.. Does that make sense to people?
by architek 2008-05-30 08:00PM | 0 recs
To do those things, we are going to need to invest
I think that a lot of Americans have an incredibly outdated view of the rest of the world and this really tragic, totally misplaced idea that somehow we are superior to the workers of the rest of the world or that somehow, we can just snap our fingers and we will triumph and thrive. It just wont happen. The world is a very different place than it was 20 years ago when the US was thriving in a manufacturing sense. The rest of the world has been steadily improving - its going to be icredibly difficult for us to leverage the several areas where we are not weak and turn that into a viable economic plan. And its going to take a huge amount of wise investment. I am not trying to be negative, but I just dont see the will there yet, we are not really ready to make the sacrifices we will need to make. For one thing, our young people are going to need to curtail a lot of the things we associate with growing up in America and dedicate a lot more time to skills development. We are going to have to change. Its going to take a long time and things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. We need to insulate people from the worst of it. That is why we need universal healthcare, and we also need to change our priorities. I think we should close many of our bases overseas. We have over 1000 US bases and we have all these entangling alliances we really cant afford anymore - if we want to have an economic future. :(
by architek 2008-05-30 07:19PM | 0 recs

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