The exodus of American production

Detroit Decay

Shuttered American manufacturing has imperiled individuals, communities, the whole country. Photo: LHOON via Flickr.

The United States was once considered a rich country. We accumulated much abundance throughout most of the twentieth century, as we were a very productive country whose wealth, to a great extent, derived from manufacturing. Our companies invented and produced many of the things we needed and much of what the rest of the world needed.

American-owned corporations manufacture less and less each year and import more and more. Once great manufacturers have become mere suppliers of products and services. The difference between the amount we import and export has created a huge balance of trade deficit. This correlates directly to the loss of 6 million domestic manufacturing jobs over the course of 30 years.

As our American owned companies produce less, they become inefficient, uncompetitive, and ultimately go out of business. Often they are easily taken over by foreign-owned corporations holding huge supplies of our wealth generated through their trade surplus with us.

Japanese, Chinese, German, Swiss, Dutch, English and other countries’ corporations have purchased much of Wall Street in the last decade. Now, no American-owned companies make TV’s anymore and very few produce audio and electronic products. Many products that America claims to manufacture are in actuality assembled here, their components consisting of just more imports.

The American book publishing industry is now largely foreign-owned. German corporations alone are estimated to own a huge percentage of that industry. Our steel industry is in a disastrous condition and is headed for the slagheap. Much of our steel is now imported.

The decline of America’s manufacturing industry also poses a national security concern. U.S. defense industries are becoming ever more dependent on foreign manufacturers for key components and materials. Unfortunately, as imports have flooded our markets since the 1980s, U.S. producers one by one exited the country.

We call ourselves a superpower. How strong are we when we can’t produce needed products to maintain our strength? We must reverse this trend. We must develop an industrial policy to create incentives for American companies to manufacture in America. We must invigorate strategic industries and prevent their sale to foreign ownership. We should not allow ourselves to depend on other countries.

– Thomas Heffner, Transition Voice

Original article re-posted with permission from Economy in Crisis.

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Comments

  1. Auntiegrav says

    “We call ourselves a superpower. How strong are we when we can’t produce needed products to maintain our strength? We must reverse this trend. We must develop an industrial policy to create incentives for American companies to manufacture in America. We must invigorate strategic industries and prevent their sale to foreign ownership. We should not allow ourselves to depend on other countries.”

    This encapsulates the whole problem. First question is “WHAT should we be making.”, and that is related to “What are people FOR?” , which expands to “What is a nation FOR?”. If you don’t address the fact that most of the crap we have been making is useless, unreliable, disposable and wasteful, then you can’t come up with a sustainable plan for how MUCH we should be making, WHAT we should be making, and who should be making it. The System has put food production on the backs of only 1% of the population. Everyone else can pretty much stay home and stop wasting resources driving to jobs to buy cars to drive to jobs: especially those in the government.
    Without a consensus (or even the illusion of a consensus) of where humanity is heading with all of their ‘busy’ness, then everything else is just random nitpicking at a head full of lice.
    The ironic part is that we don’t even need to create a top-down consensus: we just need people to individually act AS THOUGH there is a purpose to their life, and their communities and nations will grow around them. Unfortunately, the most common idea of “purpose” in the western world is “profit”/an invisible hand/an invisible God/an invisible Good.
    When has actual reason ever mattered to the masses?
    Lower taxes…yeah. That will help.

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