Jack Baruth has long championed American industry, but he’ll tell you that we have a long way to go to bring back the glory days of “Made in U.S.A.”:
What’s really required here isn’t a policy change, or a regulatory change. We need a change in attitude, particularly among our MBA class. We need to start valuing manufacturing as much as we value financial manipulation or smartphone-app development. We need “angel investors” who would rather fund a well-run bicycle factory than spend their time digging through Y Combinator’s trash looking for “hundred-bagger” tech fads. Most of all, we need a cultural change. We need to be as excited about making things as we currently are about social media or trash television. It’s not a change that will happen overnight. We might need a few more years of watching Amazon delivery drones and McDonald’s touchscreens as they eliminate the service gigs which were supposed to replace the manufacturing gigs. Maybe we need a small shooting war with China, perhaps over some useless islands or something, to point out how deeply dependent we have become on a country which has its own best interests at heart. I don’t know when the tipping point will come — but it will eventually come. It has to. The alternative is too unpleasant to seriously consider.
I’m not sure I want to get into a shooting war with China, however small: we have plenty of cannon, but they have tons of cannon fodder. Still, we might as well face it: the so-called “information economy” has resulted in a population both less informed and underemployed.