Sun Sets on Manufacturing Dominance, But Where Will It Rise?September 1, 2008
As a college graduation gift, my mom gave me a copy of Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess. Many will argue that this cartoon book was my mom’s comment on my skill set at that time, but I’d like to think that it was a pat on the back, a kick in the butt and an introduction to a big, new, scary world, filled with pitfalls and promise. Looking back, it is hands-down the best book I’ve ever read—an admonition to stop reading tales of other lives led and a pep talk urging me to make my own . Reading it again, I notice a parallel to U.S. manufacturing—past, present and future.
Congratulations! Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and a!
By 1900, the United States was the industrial power of the world, wrestling that title from England. Ours was a nation of inventors, builders, makers and users. We had trouble dealing with each other, but we let the rest of the planet know they’d have to deal with us. Americans left the farms for the smokestacks. Plowing through two world wars and the Great Depression, this nation’s manufacturers brought us a level of prosperity in the second half of the 20th century unmatched in human history. We certainly were off and a.
And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
Nothing lasts forever, and for the past several years the United States has seen its manufacturing base erode. Countries across the globe have eagerly joined the manufacturing game, tooling up to serve their own growing economies, and looking to be low-cost providers to others’.