After reading The Paris of Appalachia I have come across several articles indicating that manufacturing may be making a come back. Below are the links for the various articles.
The first article is the same article that I added to my post "The Paris of Appalachia." It discusses how Henry Ford had built a local manufacturing plant in Pittsburgh and the advantages that plant had incurred to the local community. The author uses a term that resonates with me the "industrial middle class". Ask 95% of Americans what class they are in and you will probably hear the answer "middle class". I can assure you that the members of middle class in the half million dollar homes that are springing up in my township are not in the same middle class that the people I work with claim to belong. My own opinion on this is that I have never considered myself a member of the middle class, but rather somewhat upper tier low class otherwise known as blue collar or working class. Well now I can join the middle class, the "industrial middle class".
The Daily Reckoning, "The Rise and Fall of The American Middle Class"
The next article is near and dear to my heart. I used to work for the second largest electrical manufacturer in the US. It was right behind GE. Some time during the 1980s it decided that there was far more money to be had in finance than in stodgy old manufacturing. In the mid 90's it was swimming in debt and began selling off profitable manufacturing divisions to build up cash. By the late 90s it ceased to exist...frittered away by financial dunces who all rode off into the sunset with their golden parachutes. My former corporation was visionary...ahead of its time. Read what the CEO of General Electric has to say about finance divisions and manufacturing.
The New York Times "G.E. Goes With What It Knows: Making Stuff"
The next article talks about manufacturing that is still going on in the US and centers on nearby Butler, Pennsylvania. One aspect that is discussed in this article that struck me is that our tendency to want to create engineering shops and leave the manufacturing to off shore may be mistaken. At some point the manufacturing centers develop a synergy among themselves and wonder "what are we paying the folks across the ocean for?" The article also suggest that for manufacturing to survive in the US, American society will have to develop a positive attitude toward it.
The Atlantic "Is There a Future for 'Made in America'?"
The last article is another near and dear to my heart because I believe it to be true. While not on manufacturing per se, I have included it because I think a good bit of the fall of manufacturing can be attributed to the greed indicated in this article. I don't believe that Wall Street serves the American public very well, and this article agrees.
New Yorker "What Good Is Wall Street?"
What is the purpose of a corporation? I believe the primary purpose of a corporation is to provide goods and services to society with a reasonable profit to its owners. I believe in recent years, America has lost sight of that purpose, that the purpose of the corporation has become to make maximum profits for the owners with as small of an expenditure on goods and services and the labor to produce it as possible. What is important? Human beings need shelter, food and water, medical care, and public safety. I also believe they need love and purpose. Money is convenience, a medium of exchange, it is not a good or a service. I have never seen in any of my readings on anthropology where excessive profit and celebrity were basic needs of human beings. How important is money, profit, or celebrity? Next time you are hungry, try eating a 5 dollar bill.
A big thank you to Christopher Briem's excellent blog on Pittsburgh, Null Space for referring to the Daily Reckoning and Atlantic articles.