Sunday, February 14, 2010

Keeping America's Edge

Jim Manzi has written a thought-provoking article on the social and economic transformations our nation must go through if we want to survive and thrive in the 21st Century.

That chart says much.  America's manufacturing output, as a percentage of GDP, has not changed, but it now requires less than half the workforce it did in 1947.  Productivity increases mean many factory workers have to go find a job somewhere else.

Creative Destruction is a bracing shock to cities, families and individuals as well as whole industries, but we're better off for it in the end.  I expected to follow Papa Silverfiddle into the factory after high school, but economic upheaval wrecked my plans.  I'm not from Pennsylvania, but Billy Joel's "Allentown" explains it all. I went into the Air Force instead and I'm a better man for it.

Innovation, as always is the key
Our success owes much to our dynamism and innovation.  We now need to throw it into hyper-drive.  This involves putting slow-thinking, sclerotic government on a diet and getting it out of the way, of manufacturing, technology innovation, and education.

I recommend you go read this piece.  It is long but interesting.  Thankfully, the author avoids partisan left-right arguments while challenging us to think in new ways.


Fredd said...

This graph reflects Western progress, and could probably be taken back way beyond the starting point of 1947, back to the beginning of the industrial revolution, where both red and blue lines would bear roughly the same relationship to each other.

I would love to see the red and blue lines of Islamic based economies: likely parallel.

Andrew33 said...

I find this very interesting that you used that year because I am working on a post about the real reasons for the fall of America after WW2.
since you are orbiting the story, I will let you pre read it, and post it here simultaneously with me at KOOks if you like. I think you will really get into this story as I believe it is how Obama is secretly transforming America in a way that people watching the other co-equa branches of Government won't see coming.

2/14/10 10:22 AM

Silverfiddle said...

What many fail to realize is that post-WW II was an economic anomaly. All the other industrial powers lay prostrate, we were the only game in town. We milked it for all it was worth and we were foolish thinking it would last forever.

Journalizer said...

I couldn't agree with you more! I believe it is the creativity and innovation of America that will save us! This article states:

"In the end, Americans must remain true to our individualist traditions. Compared with Europeans, who instinctively look to government for guidance, the vast majority of Americans still believe that hard work is the key to self-improvement. Our primary economic asset continues to lie with entrepreneurial spirit and adaptability."

Uniformity forced on individuals when a government forces too many laws on the people opresses progress. As the article "Creative Destruction" that you linked to says,
"Just like bleach to moss, government regulations can destroy new ideas before they can begin to crack the foundation."

That means keep the government out of our business!

@ Andrew33
I think WWII is a factor, however, I think 9/11 is the biggest influence. When people are scared they are irrational and they seek the comfort of a "nanny state." This allows a huge opening for those who are power hungry.

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous see of Liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

Silverfiddle said...

So true, Journalizer. That article was so full of great pieces like you cited that I decided to just quote nothing. To quote all the good stuff would have made the post too long.

I love the Jefferson quote, btw...

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