How to rebalance our economy.
Posted by Bert Maes on October 4, 2010
The employment losses make it tempting to conclude that manufacturing no longer matters much. The economy is ruled by the financial sector, many say, not by the production and supply of goods that people actually use. But when the banks got out of control, they dragged the rest of us down. Avoiding that happening again in the future requires “rebalancing”, says John Pullin.
Historically, manufacturing used to mean success. Historically, our strength has been in practical trial-and-error tinkering manufacturing and engineering, Mark Roulo explains.
Rebalancing, therefore, basically means “reigniting a fundamental relationship with dirt, work, and the business of making things, as opposed to the business of buying them”.
In the past, the biggest part of government strategies and ‘Marshall’ plans didn’t turn our declining economy into an expanding successful economy. I think we don’t want to see that the most vibrant regions today just take our innovative ideas and just imitate them, but especially: improve them. This ‘import-replacing’ is what makes them earning money. We stay behind with importing stuff, importing more than we can afford, losing money, governments that have to loan, and in the end can’t pay for the interest anymore, bringing us close to bankruptcy. We fail to make and produce a wide, diverse, creative, versatile and small-batch range of things for ourselves.
I feel we need to create a many-sided society again. With our current overspecialized economy every slight change makes us increasingly fragile. As a result, many economists still have no clue what will happen, and many shoppers stay home in uncertainty.
We have to start creating industries of our own again. I believe one of the best ways is this: Stop promoting non-technical education at the expense of our economy, but instead offer each student a wide range of technical skills and experience. Lack of investment in cutting-edge technical education is a likely step to long-term economic failure. The best way to prepare today’s students for the modern workforce is to give priority to training that leads towards high wages and good benefits (one of the hallmarks of manufacturing) and to skills that offer real value in the import-replacing workplace and in their personal lives:
“The high efficiency natural gas boilers come with computer controls and a 100 page manual. Damn, no-one should be ashamed to be the one who can come and make someone’s life better.” (from a post by Glenn Reynolds)