Shipping Jobs Overseas: The Export of American Manufacturing Jobs and Lousy Education

Replayed October 27.

Replayed Feb. 13th 2011.

Replayed March 24th 2012.

Replayed June 7th 2012

Note (3/25/2012): The “comparative  advantage ” argument is important to the discussion below. The concept of comparative advantage stumps many intelligent people including some of my former academic colleagues I could name (but won’t). It’s a central concept if you want to understand globalization. I have on this blog nine consecutive essays dealing slowly and in detail with the issues of comparative advantage and of its implications. The relevant essays are easy to find because each has the word “protectionism” in its title.

I had a troubling encounter in the past few days. It was on Facebook and it was with a stranger. Here is how it went: I patronize several organizations’ and people’s Facebook pages, to stay informed and also to learn from them. There is a man, X, who is my Facebook “friend” and whose page I like because he is a libertarian, or a libertarian conservative like me, who knows useful things I don’t know. X has a talent for firing up debates on Facebook. In one debate a propos of I don’t remember what, one person, followed by several others, kept referring to the de-industrialization of America, its putative loss of manufacturing industries specifically.

I intervened calmly and politely to point out that there was no such thing. I remarked that the height of American industrial production was either 2008 or 2007, or maybe even 2006, not 1950 as they seemed to believe. I directed the debate participants to a couple of government sources. One woman responded almost insultingly, alleging that I was trying to send her on a wild goose chase. She appeared to think that I was referring her to the whole Census with its thousands of pages of documents. I took the trouble – obligingly, if I say so myself – to direct her through Facebook to a source I though was easy to read, NationMaster. In addition I summarized what NationMaster had to say on the topic.

Here is the summary:

The total value of the production of American manufacturing keeps going up except for small annual variations.

The woman on Facebook answered with vulgar statements including: “… just poop off,” “I don’t do stupid.” The vulgarity is not what troubles me, obviously. (I am a married man, I have heard worse and much more personal, including regarding the sexual proclivities of my forebears.) What disturbs me is her demonstration of furious obduracy. The woman felt so much out of her depth that she could not even begin to consider the possibility that my statement was correct, or at least, arresting enough to be worth looking into.

These tiny events struck me as a dramatic demonstration of the failure of our educational system. First, let me grant that it’s possible that the woman is not a college graduate, not even perhaps a high-school graduate. I can’t tell because her Facebook profile is masked and because, well, in general, I can’t tell. Her faulty grammar leads me to suppose she is not well educated. Her active interest in politics, as evidenced by her participation in political debate on Facebook, argues against her being very young. I am sure she is not an immigrant. (Don’t ask; it takes one to tell one.) I think she is a normal person with above-average capacity for self-expression. As such, she must have had some schooling.

I had already blogged on de-industrialization, by the way, on August 15th 2009, “The De-Industrialization of the US: A String of Enlightening Fallacies; Essay On International Economics in Plain English.”

Let’s see what I think underlies her obduracy, her close-mindedness.

First, a confession: Finding and putting together figures on the simple topic of American industrial production over recent years is not easy. It may take an untrained person several hours. I blame the laziness of the specialized press for accrediting – passively – the false myth of American de-industrialization. I blame my Facebook correspondent for not paying attention when someone gives counterintuitive information that is both important if it’s correct, and verifiable. The fact that is is verifiable is an assurance of good faith. The fact that the announcer’s credentials are all over the Internet- as mine are – is another assurance of good faith and, possibly, of competence.

I blame the schools for three things:

1 Not instilling in people the idea that beliefs not backed by facts are worthless or dangerous because they lead to bad policies;

2 Not giving regular people the tools required to work through complex issues whose components are themselves simple. Craftsmen with a primary school education used to know how to do this not so long ago, as  with the problem of long-sawing an irregular tree trunk into well-shaped boards.

3    Failing to give ordinary people an understanding of simple quantities used daily in ordinary life.

Here we go:

It’s true that many manufactured objects ordinary Americans purchase used to be made in this country and are now made somewhere else. That would be true for most tools, nearly all batteries, and almost all clothing, for example.

Nevertheless, the value of American manufacturing went up about 4.5 times (four and a half times) between 1963 and 2007. (Nothing magical about these two dates, they are just a convenience. Any other two dates more than five years apart would give you a similar picture.) Incredible as it sounds, the value of American manufacturing production even went up a tad between between 2007 and 2008. I would not be surprised if it went down between 2008 and today. (Those figures are not readily available yet.) This small, short-term event would not speak to the issue of a trend of massive de-industrialization I am addressing now anyway. (Ask for the technical appendix for sources and for my treatment of the information I found there.)

The two facts above are not incompatible. In reality, they are predictably linked. That’s the way it would be in a good, productive, capitalist world: Americans are doing more of what they do well. Others are doing more of what they do well. Everyone ends up richer. Others have more money to buy what we still make. We have more money to buy what others now make.

We are all richer for two simple and connected reasons:

If I stop doing what I am doing badly (not so well, or frankly horribly) and I focus on what I do well, I will be more productive. I will earn more, as a result. If others do the same, we will all be more productive that is, richer.

Note that this happens even if greater specialization does not result in improvement of the quality of one’s performance. That will probably take place too, providing additional benefits

By and large producers in other countries have also specialized in what they did well. They have more money than before to buy whatever we make. That would be true if we made only one item, as long as others made all the things we and others need (clothing, batteries, tools).

But, US employment in manufacturing has been declining for many years. That is true and in no way incompatible with bigger production. American manufacturing keeps improving its productivity. (Productivity is the average value of production per worker, in this essay. There are other kinds. They are all rising.) Manufacturing is doing exactly what American agriculture did before. (Overall, American manufacturing probably has the highest productivity in the world. If it does not, it’s very close to the top. Not that it’s either here or there. This interesting fact plays no part in my argument. I am only testing your attention span.)

As a result of their ever-rising productivity, American industries (manufactures, I am using the old fashioned concept of “industry”) make more with less. “Less” includes fewer workers.

Employment in manufacturing has been declining steadily as a result of this increase in productivity: If one worker can turn out $150 worth of widgets in one hour when two workers used to produce only $120 together, one of the workers is gone. He is not needed. Of course, he and his family may well be pissed off. That’s true although everything they can still afford to buy is cheaper than it used to be.

Note what I have not spoken about: the “export of jobs.”

Manufacturing employment would decline if no American factory ever moved any part of its production overseas.

In fact, as we all know, some do. When they do, specific workers lose their jobs; there is no denying it. This leaves open two questions: First, to what extent is this purported “export” of jobs responsible for the shrinkage of industrial jobs in America? Second, do the same factors that contribute to the shrinkage of certain jobs also contribute to the expansion of other jobs?

The answer to the first question is: Not much. The answer to the second question is: Yes. I am not going to explain why here. First, you would not have the patience and second, I am only trying to convince you to think things through. I just wish to undermine determined ignorance.

Let me just say that my understanding of this complex issue leads me to the following policy position: If we stopped American manufacturers from moving any of their operations overseas, American unemployment would grow and wages would decline.

The impression of a de-industrialization of this country is further aggravated by the fact that many people don’t seem to understand simple arithmetic. How percentages are made is one striking example of this deficiency.

Imagine a small country where many young people suddenly start making children, for whatever reason. It could be new government economic incentives, or a shortage of contraceptives, or something added to the water. In that situation the % of old people in the population will decline. That does not mean the old are dying faster than before. They might die less than they did before. Here is another example: I have two jobs. I get a raise of 2% in one job and a raise of 4% in the second job. When that happens, the second job will contribute more to my income than before both raises took place. The percentage share of the second job in my income will rise. This does not mean that my pay rate on the first job has been lowered. It has only been raised: plus 2% more is more, not less. Period!

People keep hearing from the mouths of lazy or ignorant media personalities that services now account for 70% of the total production of the country, of its Gross Domestic Product. (See the link “Dr J’s List of Words….” on this blog explaining simply GDP and other economic terms.) That percentage is more or less correct. It does not mean that the value of manufacturing is not also growing.

The value of America manufactured products keeps going up and the value of services delivered in American goes up even faster.

This is pretty much what you expect if the country is prosperous: I can only have so many cars in my garage (manufactured product). After the seventh car, it all gets old. But there is almost no limit to how much I can use of some services. Services include plumbing, surgery, and education, for example. I have a limited interest in plumbing and only so many organs that can be replaced. So, plumbing and surgery are somewhat like cars and other manufactured products. However, I can absorb almost infinite amounts of education, another “service.” By the way, that’s pretty much how Americans have been acting: Education forever, at any price!

We have become richer in all manufactured products, including those we make and the many more we don’t make. We have become richer, even faster, in services. This country is no becoming de-industrialized.

Incidentally, if you look at dramatic upsurges in unemployment such as took place between Fall 2008 and now (Fall 2010), you will find that they don’t seem to have anything to do with the “export of jobs” or with anything in or around our manufacturing sector. Pretty much everyone, Left and Right, agrees that they are mostly caused by crises of confidence located mostly in the financial sector, more or less helped by government action.

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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25 Responses to Shipping Jobs Overseas: The Export of American Manufacturing Jobs and Lousy Education

  1. Terry Amburgey says:

    It’s easy to see why people generally think that de-industrialization is, and has been, taking place. Most people don’t read government statistics, they look at the world around them. At people in particular. What they see is fewer and fewer people with manufacturing jobs.

    One might shrug this off as ignorance but…”If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” Remember to think sociologically on occaision🙂

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Note: The author of this comment is a professor of Sociology. I used to drink with him, a long time ago. I suspect he is still liberal scum.

      Terry:

      Of course, people can believe what they want, including that the Earth was created in seven days four thousand years ago, that the Tri-Lateral Commission rules the world, that 9/11 was a clever government sponsored demolition job, that President Obama is a secret Muslim. Their belief does not make it so. And uncritically treating stupid beliefs is disrespectful of those who hold them. Every human being over 10 is owed the dignity of being treated like someone who can handle the truth. But that was not mostly what I was writing about.

      I have two issues: 1 As I said, the schools are not helping students do what they did routinely fifty years ago. The kinds of things I write about should be dealt with , for most students, not in college, not even in high-school, but in junior high-school. The Internet is an immense advance in most respects but I don’t seen how it helps with the sort of things I deal with in the posting of reference. Now that schools are largely exempt from teaching facts (finally), they should have a bigger burden of teaching how to think.

      2 I am pissed off at pundits who fail to do their job just as it’s becoming easier and easier, also because of the Internet. I know that I am not demanding the impossible because one media organ, one newspaper, does its job well on a regular basis: the Wall Street Journal.

      Now that I am out of academia, the full extent of its failure is becoming apparent. We simply don’t do the obvious for more than a handful of students. We encourage them to mouth words they don’t understand but we don’t insist that they understand how percentages work, something every 14-year old carpenter’s apprentice knew when your father was 20. It’s pathetic.

  2. Terry Amburgey says:

    You could drink with me again if you could drag your carcass up north.

    I’ve come full circle politically; was staunchly conservative until Bush ’41 and the neocons drove me into the damp hands of the democratic party in 2004.

    While I would never deny the existence of stupid opinions, I’d say that the opinion about ‘de-industrialization’ that you decry is about who gets to define the term. You claim that it’s defined by the dollar value of output. Just to be contrary, I claim that it’s defined by the % of the labor force in manufacturing.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Terry: I can’t go up north; my old bones would protest.

      I have no quarrel with you on de-industrialization. You can “define” it however you want. That’s not my issue of concern. The people I refer to in my essay and the people I keep bumping into can be robbed like kindergartners. All I have to do is bet them that the value of American industrial production is higher today than it was in 1980. The few who have the gonads to take my bet all go on to enrich my favorite charity (Doctors Without Borders). I have stopped even betting because it’s unsporting.

      By the way, the bet losers include shameful numbers of academics.

      As for the continuing loss of manufacturing jobs: Here is a small set of figures that will give you nightmares if you are not careful:

      Around 1860 about 60% of the American labor force worked in agriculture. Today, it’s less than 6%.
      So?

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  4. Gabriel says:

    I was wondering if you could explain to me:

    “Here is another example: I have two jobs. I get a raise of 2% in one job and a raise of 4% in the second job. When that happens, the second job will contribute more to my income than BEFORE both raises took place.”

    How do you know that “when that happens, the second job will contribute more to my income than before both raises took place?

    Are you just trying to say that the second job contributes more to my income because it’s a second job?

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Gabriel: At the beginning, you earn 100/hr in the first job and also at the second job. Suppose you work ten hours a day, five in each job. The two jobs each contributes 50% to your total daily income. Right? [Don’t move on until you have answered each question. ]

      After the two raises, the first job contributes 100 + 2% x 5 = 110 Right?

      The second job contributes : 100 + 4% x 5 = 120. Right?

      By then, your total daily income is 110 + 120 = 230. Right?

      Your second job now contributes 120/230 of your daily income which is about 52% of the total. Right?

      52% is more than the 50% we started with for second job’s contribution, right?

      Therefore , the share of your second job in your income now exceeds the share of your first job. Right?

      Now, in the small calculation above, I made several assumptions. One of those assumptions is that you work equal number of hours in both jobs. Another assumption is that your starting wage is the same in both jobs. To convince yourself that the conclusion is always the same, does not depend on those assumptions, just change one of the assumptions. Do it one at a time. So, see what happens when you assume that you work two hours in the first job for every one hour in the second job. Perform slowly the grade-school arithmetics involved.

      Do it slowly because in most cases people misunderstand these matters because they overestimate themselves. Most full professors of management I have known don’t get it for that very reason.
      It’s well worth the effort.

      It will change your life! It’s better than sex!

      • Gabriel says:

        I agree with your reply on a percentage basis. But my question is “BEFORE both raises took place.” BEFORE both raises took place. How would you know which job is contributing more to your income without giving any nominal numbers.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        You would have to have some measure, some metric. It could be your wage but then, you would have to believe that wages carry information, that they mean something. You might think in terms of psychic income: Doing this kind of work satisfies me twice more than doing that other job.

        The general principle works whatever measure you use.

  5. Gabriel says:

    Professor Delacroix,

    I have read your article on the De-Industrialization of the US. I am confused about somethings and I was hoping you could clarify. I understand everything and agree with everything until the end.

    You have an instant reminder: “Once you know what I do least badly, in itself does this tell you anything about what I do better, or worse than my neighbor Tom? This is a yes or not question. Don’t wimp out!”

    My answer is No, what I do least badly tells me nothing about what I do in comparison to someone else.

    But then you have a second illustration:
    “My buddy John is an excellent, Mercedes-trained car mechanic. He is also an indifferent floor sweeper. Every time I catch him broom in hands, sweeping his shop floor, I bitch at him, “Stop, man; every time you sweep, you are impoverishing me.”

    Now I am not quit sure what to conclude from this illustration. On one hand, if John was an excellent Mercedes mechanic, I believe the law of comparative advantage would tell him to keep doing what he does best and hire someone else to do what he does not do as well, that is sweeping the floors. If he did that he would be fixing more cars and producing more. So when you say, Stop; every time I catch him broom in hands, sweeping his shop floor you are impoverishing me”

    Wouldn’t that be true? Because if he could spend all his time fixing cars, more cars would be fixed and he would be better off if he hired someone to sweep his floor.

    So I feel like both illustrations make sense, however they seem to conflict each other, at least in my mind, because on one hand I am thinking..well what I do least badly tells me nothing about what I do in comparison to someone else. But in the next illustration I am saying that I should do what I do best, which is not sweeping floors, but by doing that I am indirectly saying that having someone else sweep my floors is more efficient. So now I am drawing a conclusion that someone else should be sweeping my floor, but I contradict myself in the first example because I don’t know if they are actually better or worse than me at actually sweeping my floor. I just know that I should be fixing cars and not sweeping my floor.

    Looking for a little guidance on this one. In your response, could you explain to me that proper way comparative advantage should be used and what makes it a powerful tool when used properly?

    I remember reading a post that someone had written that said something along the lines of…If England was best at producing widgets, then comparative advantage says it should only produce widgets to be the most productive, according to comparative advantage. But lets say the price of widgets was not high enough to trade with other countries to get all the other items a country might need to sustain itself.

    I believe your response was something a long the lines of, the country should produce enough widgets to support the demand for widgets and also produce what it would not be able to purchase.

    I understand this. But then why is comparative advantage a powerful tool then? It seems to me that comparative advantage is just telling me I could product the MOST if I did what I was best at, and that’s great, but it seems to not help in real world application because if I am best at produce a lot of widgets, and widgets aren’t worth anything, than this law kind of just backfired on me. So what is comparative advantage really telling me and how is it useful.

    Thanks,
    Gabe

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      First, to the last part of your comment: In a free market, it cannot happen that the price of widgets….
      And, I did not say what you said I said in the last part. You are mixing what I said with your intuitive perception. (Much of the point of education is to kill your intuition. precisely!) You want to save at all costs, the intuitively attractive but fundamentally fallacious concept of national self-sufficiency. Economic theory says unambiguously that the search for self-sufficiency is a recipe for national poverty. That’s just economics. There might be political and moral reasons why you would want to go that way, still toward poverty though.

      Now, on to the first part of your comment: I repeat: Anytime you (or a country, or a company)spends any resources doing what it does not do best, it’s failing to earn what it should. Anytime… what it does not do least badly… (The two statements mean exactly the same thing.) THat’s absolute,. It’s a product of simple logic. It’s difficult to grasp because we are so enamored of self-sufficiency (see above).

      Well, you need to know what you do best (least badly). You need some measurement device: What is it that I do best, fixing engines or sweeping?

      To answer that question, it is useful to look at others, at the investment others make to get to the same result. It’s not the only way. There are better ways. I hesitate to use them to avoid repeating the mistakes my economics colleagues have been making for 150 years. In particular, I could rely on prices to answer the same question: “What do I do best?” I think this introduces another complication many readers, and you, are not ready to deal with: What do prices mean? I side-step this problem by doing what I do. There is no contradiction: I should do ( a country should do) what I do (what it does ) best irrespective of how well others do the same thing.

      GO through it again, you will find that I do not contradict myself.

      I hope this helps.

      PS. This is so difficult for most people that professors of economics have been trying to teach this to millions for 50 years and failed miserably, on the whole. I don’t think there are 5% of college graduates who get it.

      • Gabriel says:

        Ok, let me take a step back. I understand that comparative advantage simply just says I should do what I do best and that makes intuitive sense. I should do what I do best, I will produce the most etc etc. But if what I produce the most of is over-produced, for example it turns out that I am actually not very special and have a very general skill set and a lot of people are best at doing what I am best at, lets say that is growing rice. What I do best is growing rice and it just so happens that 1,000 others have a comparative advantage at also growing rice….but no one demands that much rice. I am NOT better off growing rice because the market place is telling me we have too much rice, grow something else. I think the disconnect I am having is, I will produce the most of whatever I am best at producing. But what is that telling me in some sort of real world useful application? I can not wrap my young mind around the usefulness of comparative advantage without some relation to price or the market. I can only find a useful application for comparative advantage if you look at what another is producing and the market for it. If I followed comparative advantage and I produced rice, everyone else is producing rice than I am broke because there is too much rice and there is a lack of corn (for example) the market is telling me that is great that you produced so much rice, but if you produced just 1/4 as much corn (which you are not as good at producing) you would have been better off in terms of trading power, purchasing power. I do not think I can understand comparative advantage without some sort of price / purchasing power component. At the end of the day countries/people/I will do whatever pays the most. If I am really good at whatever one else is really good at, thats an over supply, let them do that and I’ll do what the market is paying more for.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Gabriel: OK, at this point, on a sunday morning, I am not able to deal with he question your raise, except by having recourse to prices: If you and many others produce rice, at some point, the price of rice will decline and you (and others) will observe that your comparative advantage is not in rice anymore but in something else. That something else would reward you better than rice for the resources you invest.

        IN addition, you made me recognize that I could choose my words better. The doctrine of comparative advantage is less a guide for individual action than an argument for free trade. It explains why the world is richer with free trade than with protectionism.

      • Gabriel says:

        I have read this a couple times and I think I am starting to get some sort of picture. Especially when you say “it is useful to look at others, at the investment others make to get to the same result.” Feels hard to digest though. Something about my mind wants to not accept this as the truth.

        When you have time I would like to hear “What prices mean?” For some reason I still can not think that price does not play a role in comparative advantage.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Gabriel. Prices give the best meaning to whatever we mean by better and best. Something that costs $20 is twice more valuable than something that costs $10. This is not completely satisfactory. It’s just difficult to find something better to express value.

        I am not motivated to discuss this at length because I think prices are well discussed in standard textbooks in micro-economics.

        As I answer your pertinent questions, I realize that I am doing a job I have already done. This is a series of nine essays on this blog about protectionism. They are easy to find because each contains the word “protectionism” in its title. You might want to read those over days or weeks.

  6. Martin Anding says:

    The “Exporting Jobs” worry is really a bit of a misstatement. It implies that any job will do. The reality is that those complaining about exported jobs are complaining that the remaining jobs that they won’t do (or are restricted from doing) aren’t up to snuff. They won’t provide the middle class or higher standard of living that they want. You just don’t get enough stuff or free time from the remaining jobs. I truly would like the hire someone to clean my house or mow my lawn for $5.00. It may be an unrealistic desire but if someone would appear who would do that for my price I’d hire them.
    I hear that in many countries there is no unemployment. You either work (and your children too) or you starve to death.
    There was recently an article about FOXCON in the New York Times I believe. FOXCON is a huge employer in China. They manufacture all iPODs, all iPADS. The article author was surprised a the lack of automation. Most assembly was done by hand – no robots, etc. At the drop of a hat FOXCON was able to add thousands of employees to its payroll when i-whatever demand went up. Steve Jobs stated that this manufacturing effort was never coming back to the U.S. No company was able to perform this way. I don’t think the problem was that some U.S. company wouldn’t give it a shot. There just weren’t 100,000+ educated and trained folks in one place ready to work.
    U.S. people don’t want jobs. They just want really good jobs.

  7. Randal from Wisconsin has asked the following question (in case you were wondering):

    So,inflaton-adjusted manufacturing production has increased is what I think you are saying here, that manufacturing jobs are down, and overall manufacturing productivity has risen. That all fits logically. In the good old days when it was easy to get a manufacturing job at entry level for good pay, the skill level was basically a high-school education. Being economists, has the skill level risen dramatically for the new economy entry level jobs? If so is the reason for the angst in the land the fact that education is actually the culprit not keeping up to produce the workforce the American economy needs.

    My editor kept getting blocked from some WordPress garbage, so I was not able to proof my response. The last sentence is a question, and I was looking at whether the education system at all levels is not preparing young folks for entry level jobs that do have high wages. Is a technical education post high school, the new required minimum? Here in Wisconsin, manufacturing is looking for folks with advanced welding skills, supposedly thousands of job openings. But welding is not what is once was, and is frowned upon by folks, although a decent honest job.

    Any thoughts Dr. J?

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Great question. Covering it is long overdue. I am frustrated that I cannot do it right now. I will give you the short answer. I warn you that it’s not adequate. It’s like a snack before dinner. And, by the way, I was not trained as an economist. That’s why my essays sometimes make sense to normal human beings!

      Number One: People’s historical sense is mostly bad. They tend to confuse history with what they first became aware of in childhood. Sometimes, they think history begins in their parent’s lifetime. The good old days, when people with a high school diploma could earn $40 an hour of today without much effort were a historical anomaly. They corresponded to the post-war period where most developed economies had been undeveloped, reduced to rubble. In 1955, the US GDP accounted for half of the joint GDPs of the whole world. Then, Americans were working for nearly everyone and they could command high wages because they had little competition. The statement goes for firms and for individuals, both. If you want to understand how well ordinary workmen werereally paid in the olden days, you should travel back in time, jump over the Great Depression and the abnormality of WWI both and look at the 19th century. You will find no echo of 1955 general prosperity there.

      Second, I suspect, (I am not sure; I would easily make a u-turn on this) that most of our educational system has become antiquated. I am not quite sure it’s worse than it used to be, as many conservatives seem to think. I think both its contents and techniques are based on 19th century ideas. (I have a good story on this, another time.) So, it’s not that the educational systems of other countries are much better than US education. I am very skeptical of all the claims I see advanced on this topic, in part because I am very well informed about education in one another country. Rather, the products of other countries’ education, also based on 19th century ideas and technique, are just as useful employable as Americans.

      Number three: Until four years ago (I think) unemployment was under 5% nation-wide. At the time, those employed were earning significantly more real money, had a significantly higher standard of living than their parents and their grandparents ever did.

      We need more economic growth worldwide. The fact that many politicians including conservatives, and all labor unions, continue to see other parts of the world as competitors rather than as customers does not help.

      And, I still can’t afford a plumber unless it’ a real emergency. And no one has offered in years to clean my upstairs windows.

      • Joe says:

        I have read many of your posts on this site and I see you have been completely brain-washed on globalization.

        Joe

    • Randal from Wisconsin’s response to your helpfulness:

      From a historical perspective you raise an interesting perspective. I grew up in a blue chip blue collar family in the 60′s 70′s where all the high school graduates had a great living right away after school as I slogged through college and was laughed at for driving an old car. It is hard, but I guess I have to accept that I just grew up as a teen in a blue collar family at just the right time in American history. Thank you for taking the time to address my questions. And, I look forward to your views on the direction American education should take because I believe the combo of student loans and universities without competitive cost constraints are bankrupting the kids’ futures.

      PS sorry about comparing you to a little girl…

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Randal’s comments are compelling me to write the essay I have had in mind for a while about this question. I have been holding back because it’s a difficult project. Having sure readers like Randal makes a difference.

        Brandon: You need not apologize to me for comparing me to a girl. No offense taken, I like girls. Rather, yo should be concerned about yet another chip a credibility your lost with that comment.

      • @ Joe: A powerful analysis! Why bother?

  8. Pingback: France Does not Export Wines, nor Mexico Guacamole, nor Does the US Import Cars, etc. “National Competitiveness” for the Intelligent Ignorant | FACTS MATTER

  9. Pingback: France Does not Export Wines, nor Mexico Guacamole, nor Does the US Import Cars, etc. “National Competitiveness” for the Intelligent Ignorant « Notes On Liberty

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