Tea Leaf: Renaissance manufacturing (part one)

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  • Denys Picard near montreal, QC
    Feb. 17, 2012 5:25 a.m.

    To Mr. Thread-Gold from Mr. Loosing-Shirt,

    I am terribly sorry not to share your enthusiasm but the coined expression: --manufacturing renaissance-- is quite misleading. The current administration is using this expression to distort reality. Effectively, the last economic debacle might have made manufacturing endeavors more interesting locally for some entrepreneur, but simply because the Obama administration used the opportunity to slash remuneration of workers everywhere by asking sacrifices. Now, the decline in manufacturing over the past 30 years does not mean that they were no new manufacturing jobs or capacity created during that period; it is a net decline, but every year new manufacturing companies were created, but more were lost.

    The problem with the --renaissance-- is that the administration and the corporate world want to make sure that future manufacturing jobs won't pay well, will not carry benefits, and hopefully will not give place to unions. Under these conditions, the manufacturing sector jobs that could be created will hardly create a boom. If the manufacturing boom of the 50s and 60s was so good for the middle class it was because they were good paying jobs. If the strategy behind the current expansion of the sector is lousy paying jobs with no benefits and long term collapse in earning power, you won't be building the middle class; you will go on killing it and only the upper class will again enjoy the situation which was again largely subsidized by the corporate welfare state. And --renaissance-- maybe presumptuous to use for the moment, because of the 1,8 million manufacturing jobs that were lost in 2008-2009 measured with annual averages not seasonally adjusted, only about 225,000 were created on a net basis; or if you want to be generous towards the administration, than you could say that from Jan 2010 to Jan 2012, 400,000 net manufacturing jobs were created.

    Remember that all manufacturing almost completely stopped in 2009 because of uncertainty and because government was sending piles of cash to corporations, allowing them to sit still. Now, they are simply starting the engines because life goes on, but we haven't reached cruising speed, and far from the speed of light inferred by this administration and the expression renaissance. That is what happens when you take risk away from the market and dump it on workers and citizens, you allow corporations to get lazy, not venture, sit around and only wait for easy state subsidized opportunities; we are far from capitalism. If the manufacturing sector employment grows at the current about 2,2% annual rate, it will take 10 years just to get back at the 2007 level; hardly a renaissance but closer to electoral propaganda.