Looking Backward
Is This Really What the Economy Needs?
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  • Bruce

    “While the rest of the economy is switching to DVDs, President Obama is doubling down on VCRs.” As it always is when Central Planners intervene.

  • Boritz

    I won.

  • free_agent

    You write, “The real problem is that the model of job growth it is chasing is
    obsolete. The modest revival in America’s manufacturing sector
    notwithstanding, we’re not about to return to the large-scale
    manufacturing employment of the 1950s.”

    I’m reminded of “Some device for simulating action, when action is impossible, is indispensable in a sound and functioning democracy.” — John Kenneth Galbraith

    • free_agent

      I forgot to add that the Republican candidate for president in 2016 will almost certainly proclaim that if taxes are cut sufficiently, there will be a return to large-scale manufacturing employment. Both parties market their snake oil to solve unsolvable problems…

  • Andrew Allison

    The real problem is that the manufacture of semiconductors is almost entirely automated, so the initiative will produce very few jobs at enormous expense. Sound familiar? The economy needs jobs, jobs jobs!

  • dfooter

    I think it would be more forceful and accurate to say: “While the rest of the economy is switching to DVRs, President Obama is doubling down on VCRs.” Got to keep up with the times, WRM!

  • Pete

    I think you’re right. The bulk of the jobs created in the future will be in services of one sort or another.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    While I think there will be an increasing amount of manufacture in America because of low cost energy, low cost feed stocks (methane, plastics, etc…), and an excess of available labor (90 million people of working age are unemployed), I believe most new factories and expansions are going to be robotic. This will reduce the amount of labor needed, too just the people needed to maintain the robots. The training needed to maintain robots would best be delivered at the High School and Community College levels.

  • Jim__L

    We still need hardware, and we need people capable of creating that hardware.

    The idea that the US truly loses something when we don’t have master machinists isn’t coming from some neo-Luddite; it came from none other than the head of DARPA, who noticed that DARPA was having trouble finding skilled machinists to make revolutionary projects physically happen.

    While it appeals to academics to think that our existence could be on the verge of moving to some Internet cloud or astral plane, we still live in a physical world, and people who are good with their hands at manipulating that physical world are still critical to the advancement of technology.

    We ignore that at our peril.

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