Monday, November 29, 2010

More manufacturing jobs? Really? Do we really need more stuff?

Something that has bugged me. It has become a bipartisan call (esp in the recent Time issue on Detroit, but also generally) that the US needs more manufacturing jobs. Seriously?

We manufacture today more than we ever did, we're just so good at it, that we don't need many people doing it any more.

So if we had more manufacturing, that means you want us to produce more stuff. Do we really need more stuff?

In a world where 80% of the world has a cell phone, and being in poverty means you are most likely to be obese, most Americans have pretty much all the cell phones, Xboxes, lcd tvs, ikea furniture and food we could want.

Should we manufacture more to export? First of all other countries are producing their own stuff. Second, trading with other countries means getting something in return. So we're still left with more stuff.

What do people need more of? Perhaps better education perhaps, better healthcare, better restaurants, better gyms, better tv shows, better movies, better design, better art, better dance lessons, etc. Basically better services.

People seem to think the production of services is somehow not real. Of course it is real.

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