Some Cheering Perspective

I’m not saying that we’re imagining outsourcing, automation, and other economic factors, but it’s nice to read such things as this from time to time:

It may seem like the country that used to make everything is on the brink of making nothing.
In January, 207,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs vanished in the largest one-month drop since October 1982. Factory activity is hovering at a 28-year low. Even before the recession, plants were hemorrhaging work to foreign competitors with cheap labor. And some companies were moving production overseas.
But manufacturing in the United States isn’t dead or even dying. It’s moving upscale, following the biggest profits, and becoming more efficient, just like Henry Ford did when he created the assembly line to make the Model T.
The U.S. by far remains the world’s leading manufacturer by value of goods produced. It hit a record $1.6 trillion in 2007 — nearly double the $811 billion in 1987. For every $1 of value produced in China’s factories, America generates $2.50.

We must continue to strive to better educate ourselves and find innovative ways in which to advance our economy (neither of which is a goal facilitated by an interventionist, nanny-state government). Rhode Island, being worse-off than the nation overall, would be a wonderful testing ground for a new paradigm of freedom and self-reliance.
(I know, I know. My boss is on vacation, and it’s possible I’m letting the increased liberty go to my head.)

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OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

Justin,
You might also have noticed that while the value of goods produced in U.S. factories has doubled since 1987, the real wages of the laborers who produced the goods has decreased.
Don’t you find something wrong with this picture?
This brings us to OldTimeLefty’s law of capitalist remuneration, “The closer you are to the actual production of a product, the less you are paid.”
OldTimeLefty

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Not entirely true.
An artist, a custom furniture designer, or some other specialized producer will fare well financially, on a per-item basis (assuming they sell). But when the production is of a sort that requires rote and easily trainable skills, then, yes, the producers typically will make less money than those who (e.g.) invented the item, developed the processes, find the buyers for the products, and manage the organization that makes them.
Do you wish to discourage those other activities (and the often outsized requirement of dedication and effort that comes with them)?

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

Sancho Panza to Don Quixote

Ah, what a state your worship’s brains are in.

Justin:

An artist, a custom furniture designer, or some other specialized producer will fare well financially, on a per-item basis (assuming they sell).

OTL:

Yes, but you are not speaking of laborers, you are speaking of artists and artisans. I have witmessed people working in a foundry at a blast furnace in July with the daytime temperature around 100 degrees. No rote and easily trainable skills here. I doubt that you would or could do foundry work.
Their labor bought them a home and a car and they died and their children had to do it all over again while while the fruits of their labor permitted the owners (not the originators, but their bairn)to close plants and leave with the cash.

Justin

But when the production is of a sort that requires rote and easily trainable skills, then, yes, the producers typically will make less money than those who (e.g.) invented the item, developed the processes, find the buyers for the products, and manage the organization that makes them.

OTL

We’re talking labor which has a limited life span versus capital which can theoretically grow to infinity. To spell it out: laborer works 30-40 years. Business now 3 or 4 or 5 generations old. Original founder who may have invented, developed, sold and managed is now long dead. Company now run by person who by accident of birth is son or daughter or in the direct line of business originator.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

Speaking of Cervantes:
We have our own Don(na) Quixote in the capital city.
The corrupt freak who has doubled the city’s unfunded pension liability, driving it to the edge of bankruptcy, offers the following piece of brilliance in his state of the city speech last night-
WINDMILLS.
Put them up on Elmgrove Ave. you freak of nature. You’ll be moving in with Fat Jack before long.

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