MFG 2.0

Paul Revere Was A Manufacturer

Extremely interesting piece in today's NY Times entitled "US Manufacturing Decline Raises Concern About Innovation" -- a must read, if only for the passage where he ties American icon Paul Revere to the disappearance of the flatware manufacturing industry in the USA.

Here's a representative passage:

How did the nation get into this situation? It gambled, in effect, that by importing more from foreign suppliers and from American companies that had set up shop abroad, consumer prices for manufactured products would fall, without any sacrifice in product quality. Low-wage workers abroad would make that happen.

American manufacturers, on the other hand, would be the world’s best innovators, developing sophisticated new products here at home and producing them, at least initially, in their domestic factories.

The first part of the arrangement worked very well.


Click through to the story for the sad tale of the second half of the story. However, the crux of the argument probably seems fairly common-sense to those of us who understand that much of innovation comes from getting your hands dirty -- to paraphrase Thomas Edison, innovation comes dressed in overalls and looks like work.

My takeaway is, the Paul Reveres among us need to keep riding and sounding the alarm, for the emerging markets are coming.

http://www.schechter.org/sager/links/fifth/American_Revolution/paul_revere.jpg
(Image source: Schecter.com)

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TAGS: Innovation
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