The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing

rise retreat man.ufacturingWritten by Vaclav Smil, one of Bill Gates’ favorite authors, Smil traces the history of manufacturing in America and its critical role in helping most Americans achieve the “American Dream.” Relying heavily on research and statistics, the author makes a strong case that no country can prosper without a vibrant manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates.
 
Some economists argue that outsourcing work overseas has not been detrimental, that any jobs lost were low value anyway, and that service jobs will eventually take up the slack in unemployment. Smil counters that “serving potato chips is not as good as making microchips.” Continuing down the same outsourcing path will lead to a society of haves and have-nots, where a small number of workers do high-value work and the masses are unemployed. While he has several suggestions to bring manufacturing back, he notes that the odds of success are “no better than even.”
 
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