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.