Forbes: "What Scotland's Insurrection Can Tell Us About America's Worst Economic Mistake"

May 04, 2015


Even in these days of light-speed communication, some information still travels just about as slowly as in the medieval era.

[Eamonn Fingleton | May 3, 2015 | Forbes]

Take, for instance, the history of global manufacturing since World War II. In the Anglophone world, many if not most of the more prominent commentators have long held that a first-rank economy no longer needs manufacturing. The Economist magazine in particular has been vociferous in arguing that advanced nations are moving towards postindustrialism – and  the sooner they get out of manufacturing the better.

Outside the English-speaking world, however, this theory was instantly recognized for the nonsense it was. As anyone who takes a closer look quickly discovers, advanced manufacturing scores over advanced services in a wider range of jobs, as well as higher wages and bountiful exports (we’ll have more to say about the comparison later). Across Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, Switzerland, not to mention East Asia, government officials and industrialists rushed to step into the breach by ramping up their manufacturing activities. They rarely highlighted their expansion plans, however, let alone overtly challenged the postindustrial theory. They knew that the less attention they drew to themselves, the richer their pickings would be. The pickings were enhanced by the fact that faith in postindustrialism greatly alleviated concern among British and American policymakers to fight back against protectionism in Germany, Japan, and other manufacturing-focused economies.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

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