United States (US) Manufacturing has always been the envy of the world; our expertise has been studied, exploited, and finally manufacturing has been taken out of our country altogether. The excuses were free trade, it will help our products, and services become marketed and sold outside our borders, and these decisions made by people who have no clue about manufacturing reality. Free trade did not work, just read the labels on products in your home; “Made in China” or “Made in Mexico” are easy to spot.
What we know now is that overseas manufacturing labor is cheaper; these workers will work for 5% to 10% of what is currently paid to US worker. The decision for sending US manufacturing overseas, made by people who have no clue about manufacturing reality created a disconnect resulting in lost manufacturing expertise. This disconnection has contributed to the forfeiture of knowledge resulting in lost manufacturing business jobs. Employment in the US Manufacturing sector has been falling for at least 50 years. The portion of manufacturing employment in 1950 was about 35% of all jobs in the US, in 2004, this number is a staggering 13%, and 2010 this number is 5.95% (Fisher, 2004). Loss manufacturing jobs means higher unemployment, and the American dream has become some other nation’s dream. The US is not prepared for the future; and that is why US Manufacturing is so important today.
US Manufacturing Industry over twenty years ago made it possible to develop and manufacture the Boeing F/A 18 Hornet one of the most amazing flying machines on earth, flown today by the US Navy flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels. It is estimated 15 million spectators view the Blue Angels squadron during air shows each year, and I was one of these spectators yesterday. My mind wandered during the airshow thinking about the shear amazement of the complicated, engineering, and manufacturing know-how needed to fly such an aircraft in a way that defies the laws of physics at speeds that defies common sense, generating pure spectator excitement. The maneuvers required perfect pilotage execution, and the modern flying machine to perform without a flaw. During the Blue Angels demonstration, it occurred to me why it is so important that US Manufacturing Industry once again take the lead, we must use our nation’s shear strength in science, and manufacturing diversity to develop the lead in technology, manufacturing techniques, and a superior developed best-trained workforce.
In the 1830’s Great Britain did not invest in manufacturing and design research and human education as their emerging economic rivals the US did. The mighty US Manufacturing Industry prospered and made it possible for our nation and its allies to engage and win WW1 and WW2 (Dickson, 1996). Combine this history lesson with the negative effects of NAFTA (Prizinsky, 1997) the industrial foreign trade policy that attempted to balance the trade between Mexico, Canada and the United States. Robert Scott (2001) writing for the Economic Policy Institute addresses on why NAFTA core principles that better supported the 50 years of the strategic industrial growth policies of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and China. In this Asian model, the mentioned countries protected their industries; they invest heavily in manufacturing process research, employee education, and subsidize R&D investment. This strategy represented the complete opposite of what occurred in the United States (Scott, 2001) .
Perhaps the next great Blue Angels US Navy flight demonstration team will be flying aircraft manufactured by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) or Airbus a consolidation of European defense and aerospace companies.
During the Blue Angels demonstration, it occurred to me why it is so important that US Manufacturing Industry must once again create and take the manufacturing lead, by focusing our nation’s shear strength in science, and manufacturing diversity to develop the lead in technology, manufacturing techniques, and a superior developed best-trained workforce.
I hope your mind wandered during this Blog, and now you’re thinking how important it is to develop US Manufacturing Industry resources today! How important to buy American, and how important it is to making jobs in America by investing in manufacturing and design research and human education… Finally, how important to check manufacturing labels and buy American first!
Dickson, P., Czinkota,M. (1996). How the United States can be number one again: resurrecting the industrial policy debate. The Columbia Journal of World Business Fall 96(31), 76-87.
Fisher, E. (2004). ”Why are We Losing Manufacturing Jobs?” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Economic Commentary, July 2004.
Prizinsky, D. (1997). “NAFTA levels a soft blow to Ohio jobs so far.” Crain’s Cleveland Business. Crain Communications, Inc. 1997. Retrieved June 21, 2010 from HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-50355528.html.
Scott, R. E. (2001). Fast Track to Lost Jobs: Trade Deficits and Manufacturing Decline Are the Legacies of NAFTA and the WTO. Briefing Paper. Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute.
Blue Angels Fly Into Portsmouth For Air Show Precision Flying Team Seen In Sky Over Portsmouth August 28th and 29th – http://www.wmur.com/entertainment/24775084/detail.html