Manufacturing – it’s the strength of China and Germany

Insightful commentary on the importance of manufacturing by Harold Meyerson: Why China and Germany are winning

Here are some excerpts:

What sets them apart from the world’s other major powers, purely and simply, is manufacturing. Their predominantly industrial economies meet their own needs and those of other nations, and have made them flourish while others flounder.

Worse yet, as we lose manufacturing, which employed 63 percent of our scientists and engineers in 2007, we lose many of our most valuable professionals.

Most Americans, I suspect, believe we’re losing manufacturing because we can’t compete against cheap Chinese labor. But Germany has remained a manufacturing giant notwithstanding the rise of East Asia, making high-end products with a workforce that is more unionized and better paid than ours.

Germany has increased its edge in world-class manufacturing even as we have squandered ours because its model of capitalism is superior to our own. For one thing, its financial sector serves the larger economy, not just itself.

(reprinted in Santa Rosa Press Democrat from the Washington Post).