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Manufacturing czar?

2003-09-02 03:09:18.473571+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Bush assigning a new government official to address vanishing factory jobs. Two things made this leap out at me:

  1. Why is the speech that this article almost entirely consists of not yet on Whitehouse.gov? Whitehouse.org is more up-to-date on this administration's policies.
  2. This is a damned hard problem, and it's good that he's feeling the political heat from those who elected him, and those whose jobs he promptly sold out following that election.

Those that elected him, because this is hitting the central states first, but as I've whined before, it's not going to stop there. A good portion of R&D for a product is getting a manufacturing line up and running, and the more manufacturing that happens overseas the more R&D will eventually follow. But, a few suggestions:

The places the U.S. competes are the places we have lots of automation. Textiles, for instance. We need to revamp depreciation rules to allow for faster turnover of machinery. We need to create some smaller capital markets so that not everything's tied up in the artificial bubble of Wall Street. We need to revamp the patent system so that there is a good challenge system for overly broad patents stifling innovation in manufacturing line R&D (Yes, I have examples).

We need to consider the place in this process of labor (fitting for "Labor Day"). Jobs are going to get automated, and we have to instill in the culture the idea that what you're doing now isn't what you'll be doing 5 years from now, and you've got to change with the times. We also need to remove the protections that larger companies have in administering benefits, so that people feel more comfortable starting businesses and switching jobs. I'm not as well informed as I could be on the details of health insurance and benefits legislation, but a system which encourages individual health care policies would be a great start.

I predict the Republicans will be unwilling to do what's needed because all of these things will mean pissing off large donors.

[ related topics: Intellectual Property Politics Health Invention and Design Sociology Current Events Machinery Economics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Manufacturing czar? made: 2003-09-02 12:02:45.770081+00 by: Larry Burton

Dan, for all of the reasons above, I have deided that the fair tax is vital for the US to continue to compete in manufacturing.

#Comment Re: Manufacturing czar? made: 2003-09-02 12:43:24.884628+00 by: ziffle

Larry - ok, except its really not 'voluntary' ...


"We need to revamp depreciation rules to allow for faster turnover of machinery. "

Agreed - its silly to have to expense a factory over 10 years - why cant they just call it an 'expense' -

We need to do away with the income tax and all the problems it has caused - actually in the long run, the entire system has to collapse (The American economy that is) before we will get real change cause no one will feel its serious enough - but, rest assured, the Chinese are palying the game by our rules and kickking our butts - it will only get worse - we are becoming Europe - aweful

Down with Liberals! Down with Conservatives!

Ziffle of Mayberry

#Comment Re: Manufacturing czar? made: 2003-09-02 14:15:36.617115+00 by: petronius

I learned the true meaning of globalization and the changes in manufacturing back in 1999. I was teaching a networking class at the Ispat Inland Steel works in East Chicago Indiana. Old Inland had been acquired from an Indian-owned, Dutch-chartered, London-headquartered company that also owned Hindustan Steel and most of the ex-Soviet steel industry in Kazahkstan. (apparently, Ispat is "steel" in Hindi)

Other than the bewildering internationalization of the whole enterprise, the most surprising fact was told to me by a guy in Process Engineering, the automation arm of the business. He said that Inland was producing the same amount of steel as they had 15 years ago, but with only half the people. That is the rub