Streams

Creating and Keeping Manufacturing Jobs

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Adam Davidson, co-host of NPR's "Planet Money", discusses his Atlantic cover story, which profiles a plant in South Carolina that may serve as a model for the future of manufacturing and job creation in the U.S.

Guests:

Adam Davidson

Comments [15]

Amy from Manhattan

Remember that not every worker can become a manager, because there have to be more workers than managers.

And mazel tov to Adam & his wife.

Jan. 12 2012 11:51 AM
Nico from Crown Heights

As discussed on the Naked Capitalism blog ("American Exceptionalism and Euro-Bashing, Adam Davidson Style")Davidson's NYT magazine piece "misrepresents most of the few facts it contains in appealing to American prejudices about our cultural, or in this case, economics superiority, to sell worker bashing." A big fan of Davidson's earlier work on the housing bubble, I am very disappointed. Previously, Davidson was providing an important public service, educating readers about how money and finance works in the real world. This latest piece seems more intent on obfuscating the influence of US financial interests on the US and global economy. Blaming it all on culture, now that's cheap.

Jan. 12 2012 11:37 AM
Jessie from way uptown

It's great to be called today, to mention how the balance between jobs created and destroyed, the economic reality for the unemployed, has really NEVER been part of the media or political discussions.

It's also great to hear Adam Davidson squirm uncomfortably when trying to answer the question about whether our trade agreements factor in the large real exported costs of environmental destruction and labor abuse that private equity and other investors profit from in exporting American jobs.

There is a real reason for our amazing (now embarrassing) negligence in not factoring in the obvious real future costs of today's economic shortcuts like those...

One that is easier to measure than most is the cost of rebuilding all our energy technology to relive our dependence on energy resources that are both now rapidly running up in price as they run out, and also so environmentally destructive as to make prematurely abandon our present energy using technology systems...

Culturally, we don't look to the future, haven't really tried, don't really know how. We just treat our information about the past as our future... You could call that "a lack of curiosity" perhaps, but we're now becoming able to "do the math" and see that business as usual is becoming remarkably unprofitable.

Jan. 12 2012 11:36 AM
Mason from Manhattan

I think the statement that President Obama is pushing all to have a college education is incorrect. what I hear him saying vocational training or college education. I think that vocational education is an important aspect of this discussion.

Jan. 12 2012 11:25 AM
sophia

Gee, this guy works for the Atlantic? Magazine of the 1% and employer of the ridiculous Megan Mcardle? Who'dve thunk it?

Unregulated Trade is an Unalloyed Good! Free Trade vs No Trade! The only answer is less regulation!

Jan. 12 2012 11:24 AM
eCAHNomics

What 'most' economists say about trade is pandering to PTB. Ha-Joon Chang (Bad Samaritans) has definitively made the case that impediments to trade have been the key in every country that jumped to industrial, higher standard of living economies. China is just a recent example.

Jan. 12 2012 11:23 AM
Mike from NYC

I grew up in an industrial area near Chicago over 50 years ago. Then, highly skilled, union jobs required an apprenticeship which included most of the courses required for a technical associates degree at a local junior college. The courses and more specialized in-plant training were paid for by the company, along with entry-plus-one-level jobs in the same department of the company. Since then the US companies have ended the apprenticeship programs and expect to hire already trained and experienced workers, and to the government ask for visas to hire people trained in other countries to cover the "shortages of skilled labor".

Jan. 12 2012 11:22 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

TRUE free trade would require TRUE freedom of movement of labor from country to country, without boundaries. As long as there are national boundaries and national ethnic groups, it is pollyannish to believe in true free trade. So-called "free trade" benefits the movement of capital over the movement of labor, and that is why the working class will always be far behind the owners of capital.

Jan. 12 2012 11:21 AM

What Mr. Davidson isn't saying is that the trade agreements protect capital, not labor.

Jan. 12 2012 11:20 AM
Julian from Manhattan

What about tax breaks to U.S. companies which manufacture here? That would cut the disparity between labor costs here and abroad, and increase domestic manufacturing.

Jan. 12 2012 11:19 AM
eCAHNomics

The kind of economic activity in the U.S. going forward is infrastructure construction (i.e., putting up new gates on gated communities), landscaping for the 0.1%ers, cosmetology and plastic surgery for the 0.1%ers (22% of U.S. medical services is accounted for by 1% of pop).

You get the picture.

Jan. 12 2012 11:16 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Huntsman didn't sound "wistful" to me--he sounded angry.

Jan. 12 2012 11:14 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The only reason why America was able to become a major manufacturing country in the first place, was because the Europeans - the Germans, French, British, Italians, Russians - were all killing each other and destroying each other's factories. WE came out of WWI a lender country, because Europe had partially destroyed itself. And even more so in WWII. But once Europe, then Japan, and now Asia have industrialized, and have had no major conflicts over the last 65 years, we can no longer compete. Not until we downsize our standard of living, start to use less energy, and to work both smarter and harder. Otherwise, we will continue to drift.

Jan. 12 2012 11:12 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Fewer workers producing more dollar value of products? Are the wages high enough to buy what they build? Can the Chinese buy iPods - real Apple iPods. Can the American worker afford to buy the BMW X5 they're bolting together in South Carolina?

Henry Ford's innovation wasn't the assembly line...It was paying the worker enough to become a part of his market.

Jan. 12 2012 11:12 AM
eCAHNomics

What has happened to mfg emp in Germany?

Jan. 12 2012 11:08 AM

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