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Stemming the Rot in American Manufacturing May Defeat Even Trump
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Few aspirants to the American presidency have ever deployed a more effective slogan than Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again.” Although Hillary Clinton professed to believe that America has never stopped being great, in the end countless voters sided with Trump – and in many cases did so passionately, oblivious to all the Trumpian scandals and gaffes that marred his campaign.

I happen to be one of the few commentators who were early to spot his electoral potential. At, I began a series entitled “Why Trump Is Winning” in December, and explicitly called the general election for him as far back as February. I need no persuasion therefore that the issue of American decline is real and powerful. The irony is, however, that I am skeptical about how much even he, with his nationalistic fervor, tough-guy tactics, and vaunted negotiating skills, can do to improve the prospects for his beleaguered core constituency in the American Rust Belt. The problems are just too large and the rot has gone too far.

The most obvious evidence is in infrastructure. Much American infrastructure has become embarrassingly outdated. The problem, in a nation that has long run huge fiscal deficits, is finding the money for the necessary massive upgrades. (More about financing in a moment.)

The expressways are crumbling; the railways slow and antiquated. The United States even lags in internet speeds. Then there is water purity and the quality of mains electricity (this latter is a key consideration for companies locating advanced manufacturing operations).

Meanwhile as Trump has repeatedly pointed out, many American airports are so dysfunctional and badly served by ground transport that they would not be out of place in the Third World. According to the latest annual survey by the Skytrax company of the world’s best airports, Denver placed highest among American airports – but ranked a mediocre 28 in the world. By comparison five East Asian airports, including two in Japan alone, made it into the top 10.

Infrastructure apart, far bigger problems lurk just below the surface. They are summed up in one statistic, albeit a statistic that a perennially out-to-lunch American press rarely mentions: the trade deficit. Measured on a current account basis (which is the widest and most meaningful measure), the trade deficit last year was $463 billion. This represented a stunning 4.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). By comparison the worst figure in the 1970s – a decade when the United States was already seen, both at home and abroad, as losing out badly in global competition – was a mere 0.5 percent. The truth is that the United States has not run a trade surplus consistently since the 1960s, and in the last two decades the deficits have rarely fallen below 3 percent of GDP.

Why does trade matter matter? For many reasons, not least because deficits have to be financed. In practice most of the financing has come from major sovereign investors, particularly the governments of China and Japan and to a lesser extent other East Asian nations. Typically it comes in the form of massive purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds. So far, the money has kept flowing but there is evidently an implicit understanding: in return for doing their bit to keep both the U.S. dollar and U.S. financial markets on an even keel, the East Asians will brook no lectures from Washington on opening their markets to foreign trade. Hence a conspicuous silence in Washington in recent years on East Asian trade barriers. Washington has entered a Faustian bargain and it is hard to see how even Trump, with all his undoubted energy and determination, can break out of it.

He has talked about reopening shuttered factories. That is easier said than done. Once a nation loses its position in any advanced manufacturing specialty, it finds it almost impossible to get back in.

Take electronics. Trump seems to believe that by the simple expedient of imposing stiff tariffs on Chinese imports he can encourage Apple to make iPhones in America. In reality, this badly misdiagnoses the problem. Where the manufacture of sophisticated electronic consumer products is concerned, China is a much less significant player than meets the eye. The product may bear a “Made in China” label but this refers merely to the place of final assembly. Admittedly China does possess the knowhow to make some components but generally only the simpler ones such as the plastic housing for a smartphone. The serious components are made typically in high-wage nations like Japan and to a lesser extent Korea, Taiwan, and Germany. Meanwhile Japan reigns supreme as the source of many of the most important materials and production machinery used in the industry. Little noticed outside East Asia, such materials and machinery are the ultimate driver of the electronic revolution.

All this means that, as a practical matter, China’s contribution to a smartphone’s total added-value may amount to little more than a few percentage points. Thus tariffs on China alone will, with the best will in the world, create remarkably few American jobs. Moreover such jobs would be labor-intensive and therefore fundamentally unsuitable for a high-wage economy. In any case it is highly debatable whether such jobs would be created in the first instance: the point is that even if Trump succeeded in imposing massive tariffs on Chinese goods, Apple would presumably retain the right to move the work to other cheap-labor nations such as Vietnam, India, Mexico, and Brazil.


The real challenge for the United States is to create jobs in advanced manufacturing. In the electronics industry that means focusing on components, materials, production machinery, and other so-called producers’ goods. Such goods typically entail production systems that are both highly capital-intensive and knowhow-intensive. The knowhow, moreover, is of a special, quite rarefied kind in that it resides not in the minds of ordinary production workers but rather consists typically of machine settings known only to a few top engineers. Getting high-tech production machinery to achieve high yields of saleable products is a bit like tuning a piano, only much more daunting. Knowhow is acquired through years if not decades of trial-and-error and learning-by-doing, and is closely held by any company that has acquired it.

Precisely for these reasons, the entry barriers in the sort of industries that Trump might want the United States to stage a comeback in are supremely high. By the same token incumbent companies are well shielded from new competition. Deploying capital-intensive production techniques, they can well afford to pay high wages and still dominate world markets.

Japan provides many impressive examples. Take, for instance, such an important material as semiconductor-grade silicon. Each new generation of microchip requires a quantum leap in the purity of silicon wafers. Otherwise, given the degree to which circuitry has to be miniaturized, even just one atom out of place can short-circuit a chip. In the old days Monsanto provided the United States with an ample supply of home-grown silicon. But Monsanto could not keep up and dropped out as far back as the 1980s. The only other non-Japanese supplier, Wacker Chemie of Germany, soon followed. The result is that today just two Japanese companies, Shinetsu and Sumco, enjoy a quiet but crucial global duopoly in this most important of all high-tech materials.

Of course, if the Japanese – or for that matter the Germans – can establish unassailable positions in leading edge producers’ goods, there is no law of the universe that says the Americans can’t. The problem is that, given how denuded America now is of advanced industries, free markets alone will not do the trick. You can’t get blood out of a stone.

To get back into the game Trump needs to win broad support for a muscular industrial policy, in which government would lead the nation in reaching agreed industrial objectives. In this he would have to emulate the sort of tactics the Japanese and, before them, the Germans, used to propel themselves to the top of the manufacturing hierarchy in the twentieth century.

The United States has actually had considerable success in the past with various industrial policies. The most recent example was the Apollo program which put Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969. That achievement was only possible because government and industry worked closely together to overcome countless technical challenges. The result was a huge boost to American competitiveness in a host of advanced industries, from new materials to semiconductors.

The problem for Trump ultimately is that, since the Reagan era, his own Republican party has consistently opposed any attempts at industrial policy. Can Trump change the party’s mind? Although he has repeatedly defied the odds in his electoral career so far, the Republican party is unlikely to provide him with the rock-solid support he needs to revive the American manufacturing base.

(Republished from Business Post (Dublin) by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Economics • Tags: Donald Trump, Free Trade, Manufacturing 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I was going to respond to William Greider’s piece in today’s Unz but gave it up. You have made the point better than I could have that technical proficiency in manufacturing is both sequential and hand’s on. Everyone who builds things and then attempts to apply production techniques to the prototype encounters this. There is no substitute for grinding it out and indeed, as you say, expertise resides in the minds of those who practice a science or art and not in any thing or magical substance. Marxists redistributed the land to the peasants as though land itself were the critical component in farming. Mass famine followed.

    Meanwhile, textbook economists seem to believe that just by changing the scalar value of a variable in an equation that they can tweak or alter an economy. If this were true, then demand could be created in African countries and they would become first-world nations overnight.

    As you have said, once a technique is lost, it is very difficult to bridge the gap. The United States seems to be a war economy. Only war motivates the nation to make the type of concerted effort you prescribe but all out war in an atomic era is a lose-lose proposition.

    There is little reason for optimism.

  2. Dan Hayes says:

    Thanks for your usual perceptiveness. It appears that it will be quite difficult for America to get out of the hole its dug for itself by a policy of short-term gains and little regard for the future. (Before you have explicitly shown Boeing to be a prime example of this short-sightedness.)

    I note that your article was published in Business Post (Dublin). On checking, this publication appears to be an online offshoot of the Sunday Business Post (SBT). I don’t know what the present outlook of the Business Post is, but I recall that the SBT was the only Irish publication that had fairly treated the Catholic Church and the Republican Movement. Fairness as opposed to the unfairness of the rest of the Irish Media as exemplified by the Irish Times (Ireland’s newspaper of record) and RTE (the Irish version of NPR except on a much grander and even more controlling scale).

    • Replies: @The King is a Fink
  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Manufacture is for losers.
    Derivatives, casino finance, bail-ins and bail-outs, printing money at will: that’s for winners.

    After a few centuries of ugliness, America is finally great.

    – the Winners

    • LOL: Che Guava
  4. NoldorElf says:

    Thank you Mr. Fingleton for posting what few mainstream economists would dare post.

    Truth be told the Establishment has been literally wrong about everything. War, economics, and more recently, the viability of Trump in the election. Sadly there is method to their madness.

    The real goal is to turn the US into an plutocracy, where the very rich can seek economic rent. Neoliberal economics is just a disguise intended to cover up for the real evil intentions of the very wealthy. Note the rapid rise in inequality over these past few decades.

    Manufacturing is what made the US great, but it has been sacrificed for short term profits and the greed of the very wealthy in what must surely one of the worst betrayals in human history.

    Bridging that gap will be immensely difficult because each generation of knowledge builds on the previous. It will be a long process that takes decades. I fear that the American political system is not so long-term oriented.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes, Miro23
  5. Escher says:

    Not to mention that the engineers, technicians and operators with knowledge (albeit outdated by a few years) of high tech manufacturing have retired or moved on to other industries.

  6. Anonymous [AKA "RustBelt"] says:

    Infrastructure and capital structures have value, but the knowledge of advanced manufacturing itself is not lost to antiquity. We will draw upon that knowledge to rebuild once profitability returns. It will be far less difficult for Motorola to build and staff their electronics factory in Toledo versus Chihuahua. We can moan about the destruction of capital all day, but keep in mind that capital depreciates and must be replaced. Often it is cheaper to build from scratch.

  7. “The problem, in a nation that has long run huge fiscal deficits, is finding the money for the necessary massive upgrades.”

    The solution is to return to national monetary sovereignty and eliminate debt-money, an artificial, unconstitutional and fraudulent creation that favors no one but the counterfeiters who create it. Please pay a visit to for greater ongoing detail with respect to monetary sovereignty and subsidiarity, a time-honored principle that when applied at the family level and all governmental levels provides the sort of fiscal discipline required to rebuild a nation.

    • Replies: @JoeFour
  8. @Anonymous

    This is why offshoring was an act of treason, and as Clyde Prestowitz makes clear in his books, it was not a result of so called free market forces, but was something facilitated, pushed and encouraged by the USG for decades.

    These people should be dragged out of their McMansions in suburban NoVA, given a trial and hung from the neck until dead before they are allowed to die of natural causes.

    • Agree: woodNfish, Buzz Mohawk
  9. macilrae says:

    The real challenge for the United States is to create jobs in advanced manufacturing. In the electronics industry that means focusing on components, materials, production machinery, and other so-called producers’ goods. Such goods typically entail production systems that are both highly capital-intensive and knowhow-intensive. The knowhow, moreover, is of a special, quite rarefied kind in that it resides not in the minds of ordinary production workers but rather consists typically of machine settings known only to a few top engineers. Getting high-tech production machinery to achieve high yields of saleable products is a bit like tuning a piano, only much more daunting. Knowhow is acquired through years if not decades of trial-and-error and learning-by-doing, and is closely held by any company that has acquired it.

    Mr Fingleton has nailed it right there. Bravo, sir!

    This article should be required reading for all who yearn for a recovery of the American manufacturing sector. The problem is that acquiring, once again, all the necessary know-how and expertise will take not four, not eight but probably at least ten years – and it has to be fueled by an urgency and an energy which has yet to appear.

    The needed creativity already exists – lacking yet is the energy and drive you see in China.

    • Replies: @Miro23
  10. I definitely think Trump has the potential to bring the Republican party along on an industrial strategy. It seems exactly what his base is demanding. Here in Britain Theresa May is planning an industrial strategy for the first time since Thatcher discarded the notion, and that should help.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  11. OutWest says:

    Hi-tech manufacturing isn’t going to help the rust belt. It’s an industry that to some extent was a flash happening. Succinctly, when the farm economy no longer needed labor towards the end of the Nineteenth century, intense industrial production sprang up to absorb the cheap, excess labor. These were built in the main at the end of the Nineteenth century and fell into disuse during the 1930s. World War 2 pressed them back into full use that continued that continued into the 1960s. We weren’t that great at it but were the only production standing after World War 2. After a decade or so Germany and Japan built new factories with our encouragement. We built a highway system as a defense measure and rockets to stress the Soviets. And our industries decamped for better competitive positions against the rebuilt world.

    Ask the average American customer. They don’t want to buy American goods. Perhaps this is marketing brainwashing. Perhaps it’s rational.

    • Replies: @macilrae
    , @hooodathunkit
  12. Anonymous [AKA "jvm224"] says:

    It is sheer fantasy to assume that Apple can economically set up an alternative supply chain for manufacturing iPhones in India, Vietnam, or Mexico. First, it would be enormously expensive and time consuming to establish the industrial commons needed to manufacture the iPhones in high volume and high quality in these alternate countries. Second, Apple would lose the lucrative Chinese market for iPhones to Huawei. So, relocating an entreched supply chain in China to India, Vietname, or Mexico for the sake of evading American tariffs on iPhones is not an option for Apple.

    • Replies: @Lucius
  13. macilrae says:

    Ask the average American customer. They don’t want to buy American goods. Perhaps this is marketing brainwashing. Perhaps it’s rational.

    You’re right of course – the US car industry could have reinvented itself (still could) and produced cars rivaling the Japanese in quality: indeed it could have mass produced affordable high quality electric cars and lead the world; still could. Also, there is still a huge need for improved batteries at internationally competitive prices. Why are the best TVs made in Korea and Japan? LCD and OLED screens are both (I think) originally US inventions – why are they not made in the US now? True the breakthrough for white LEDs; used everywhere now, even in car headlights, came because of the Nobel-winning work of Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura in Japan but they could surely be produced (why not better?) in the US instead of China. The list of lost opportunities is so very long.

    Why not then? (1) Lack of vision and companies with accountants as CEOs (2) Lack of long-term thinking (3) Lack of vital energy

    The US has vast inventive power but today it lacks umph!

  14. Sean says:

    Fracking cheap US energy; use it, don’t sell it to an aspiring megapower polluting the earth more with every Western job outsourced . Trump has the power if he chooses to use it. China is gaining in relative power as fast as it is destroying the environment. I’m not suggesting deliberately causing a recession, but it would be no bad thing for the global environment, and US primacy.

    • Replies: @OutWest
    , @Anonymous
  15. Alden says:

    A major problem with rebuilding infrastructure is that it’s all funded by government money from the local mosquito abatement district to the entire nationwide freeway system.

    And infrastructure building and repair is controlled by the EEOC, Egregious Elimination of Competency. Every government project is subject to strict and ferociously enforced affirmative action employees and contractors. There are all sorts of horror stories about affirmative action dreck over the last 50 years.

    My state had numerous referendums about rebuilding and repairing infrastructure. My city and county had numerous measures about more light rail, repairing the 150 year old sewers etc.

    They were worthy projects, but I voted against them because only affirmative action dreck would get the contracts and jobs. If a White taxpayer can’t get a government contract or job, Whites should not vote for them.

  16. woodNfish says:

    … oblivious to all the Trumpian scandals and gaffes that marred his campaign.

    Fixed: “…oblivious to all the lying LSM-manufactured Trumpian scandals and phony gaffes that marred his campaign.”

  17. @Simon in London

    The heritage of Tony Benn’s and later industrial strategy was not great. GEC became dependent on state sector contracts and withered away even then, under the impact of EU competition. BAe Systems no longer competes in the civilian market; it is another state client. The bad bits of British Leyland took down the good bits. British Steel anyone? BA is a success story but you can still sometimes see the remains of BEA and BAOC underneath. (I rather regret Pursers being called Chief Stewards). Callaghan’s Inmos did quite well for a while but was bought out by Asians.

    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
  18. OutWest says:

    Well, another chapter involves the wasteful military spend down with the Soviets. Rockets and space are largely useless (save for marginal efforts as communications, surveys etc.) while cars and TV’s are boring. Wars are worse.

    My last corporate stint was with an aerospace company with a commercial wing. Satellites are a job shop deal. But I’m somewhat proud to have also been on the team that established America as the world leader in beer cans. Good technology and a decent (adaptive) business plan still works just fine.

    • Replies: @Sean
  19. woodNfish says:

    Some of Fingleton’s fats are right and some are not. Taiwan is the country of choice for semiconductor manufacturing. Even Japan has lost manufacturing capability to them. The US does not have a water purity problem. I don’t know where he is getting some of his information about our infrastructure, but he writes as if this is a third world nation. It isn’t, and his country of Ireland has a higher debt to GDP than the US.

    High tech isn’t the only manufacturing base needed for an economy to be well rounded and sustainable. The US is still one of the largest exporters in the world. The author is just pissing on our campfire. I say, “Piss off!”

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  20. @macilrae

    The core LCD patents were British but ignored by their state owned inventor (Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, until long after the Taiwanese in particular had built an industry out of them). For the last 5 years of the patents they sent out the lawyers and raked in 10’s of millions. DERA, now Qinetiq, still has a large portfolio; I reviewed and evaluated it.

    OLED’s are more Brit and Korean than US, although there were US contributions. OLED’s are very sensitive to moisture so the OLED is less important than the barrier chemistry. The UK once had a major chemical company, Imperial Chemical Industries, that made and coated the most suitable flexible substrates. Dupont and Teijin have the pieces now. OLED’s on flexible substrates could still be revolutionary. Wall sized screens not much more expensive than wallpaper. Capital intensive manufacturing needing good supporting infrastructure.

    Display technology was important to the military. Russia had a runner in the game, FED’s. My clients in in Russia produced the world’s first colour FED’s. The Koreans came along and offered every display engineer in Russia a fortune (by 1994 standards) to go to Korea on a 3 year visa and work for them. They didn’t even have the grace to do the research in Russia.

    So far as ICI was concerned, they borrowed too much money for mergers and acquisitions that failed. (all the textbooks say M&A fails but the Chairman’s ego needs to be fed). Carly Fiorina’s time at HP is a US example of near death by finance, although HP after John Young took over, spent the lowest %age on R&D of any major tech company and most of that was on printers. Only Compaq spent less. At least one members of the HP board should have known better. Does finance serve manufacturing (& other business) or manufacturing serve finance? The same can be asked about household mortgages.

    • Replies: @macilrae
  21. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Good point about US infrastructure. US airports look old and tacky because many of them were last remodeled or built in the 70s, but most of them are perfectly fine and serviceable. There’s nothing wrong with them just because they’re not shiny and brand spankin’ new. Pouring billions to “upgrade” US airports would largely be a waste of money and mainly benefit connected contractors. Flights are very cheap and the airports function well. What’s gotten worse is the introduction of the TSA and going through long lines for screening.

    • Replies: @Njguy73
  22. Njguy73 says:

    There’s nothing wrong with them just because they’re not shiny and brand spankin’ new.

    In the U.S., airports are a place where you go in order to get to someplace else, hopefully as quick as possible.

    In the Third World, airports have to be really nice because it’s the first thing people see where they get there.

  23. “I happen to be one of the few commentators who were early to spot [Trump’s] electoral potential.”

    I’m noticing a trend. The number of people claiming to have predicted Trump’s victory is growing. It’s going to be like all the people who say they were at Woodstock: many times more than the real number.

    (And I, for one, really did predict Trump’s win. But I’ve admitted to having serious doubts as the election date approached.)

    As for Fingleton’s essay here, his thesis is sound, but we have to start fixing things somewhere, somehow. Trump’s — and America’s — success rate at achieving clearly stated goals is very high. He — and We — have been doubted many times before.

  24. Greg S. says:

    What an article! So many truth bombs in here. What the Harvard MBA losers that run America couldn’t realize, since none of them actually ever built anything, is that manufacturing is the lynch pin of the economy. You need the manufacturing local to have good engineering and you need good engineering to create innovation. You need innovation to create real wealth.

    So today’s America has none of those things, including innovation or wealth. All it really has left is some software innovation, which doesn’t need manufacturing. But even that appears to be running out of steam.

  25. I believe it was Lincoln who stated, “When we buy foreign goods we get the goods and they get the money, when we buy our own goods we get both”.

    Friedrich List had it right saying that a tariff was to allow imported goods to contribute to the general coffers what domestically manufactured goods would have to do as a matter of course.

    James Fallows wrote about it in The Atlantic…

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  26. map says:

    A well-stated and well-constructed argument by Mr. Fingleton, but I think there is somewhat of too-ingrained obsession with the “craft mentality.” Yes, there may be one or two corporations with the knowledge to build something very advanced out of a material science…but…ask yourself…as a going business concern…how do these companies actually make money with their advanced engineering?

    They sell products to people who are not themselves engineers or even appreciate advanced manufacturing. Your silicon-grade wafers monopolized by one or two companies are going into products used by teenage girls who don’t much care about the supply-chain issues involved. They just want to text.

    The issue here is not to obsess about “advanced manufacturing” but to use trade policy and tariffs to localize as much outsourced manufacturing into a complex and robust economy that produces a wide variety of jobs that people can actually do. The idea is to create as much diversity in the current economic monoculture as possible, building up slowly from square one. Start with capturing simpler manufacturing and doing it locally and then you will eventually capture the more advanced manufacturing. The knowhow will eventually migrate back here as the client base of these companies is almost entirely in the USA.

    You are not going rebuild the US by expecting everyone to work in important but essentially boutique disciplines.

    That should be the aim of industrial policy and it will begin through tariff and trade policy.

  27. Ramona says:

    Truly, Mr Fingleton, you bring up realism? You devilish anti-Trumpite.

  28. Our elite academics are too busy searching out microaggressions to be concerned with the nuances of high value trade. There is more status to be gained in virtue signalling than in thinking about how things are made.

  29. @Dan Hayes

    The Irish Times and RTE are/were completely in the bag for Hillary, as indeed is practically every other mainstream media organisation (newspaper, TV and radio) in Ireland. Debates on the election rarely had anything approaching balance and on election night the talking heads were embedded with New York Times reporters. People here are shocked at the result, possibly even more so than in the USA since the ‘reporting’ here has been so incredibly lopsided.

    In the last few days I was listening to one of the countries’ flagship radio stations. Loosely paraphrasing:

    “So here to tell us all about the International Conference on Domestic Violence, is Mrs. X, who is the head of Y. Welcome to the show. So first off, what do you make of Donald Trump being elected as president?” [Radio switched off.]

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  30. Miro23 says:

    The problem is that acquiring, once again, all the necessary know-how and expertise will take not four, not eight but probably at least ten years – and it has to be fueled by an urgency and an energy which has yet to appear.

    And it is not going to appear at all without a dedicated and unified society – the last traces of which disappeared in the early 1970’s.

    The present deconstructed identity politics mess isn’t going anywhere.

  31. Take a trip to a Dollar Tree store: all items $1.00 or less. Check out the electric tooth brush with battery, from guess where, and then reread this column. It’s over for us if we keep pretending money games will replace mfg.

  32. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Before we can “drag them out of their McMansions”, we have to know where they live.

    One of the most useful functions an alternative site could provide would be to publish a list of the addresses of the powerful people who run this country. Then social activists would be able to make some noise outside of their houses. If the elite knew that they couldn’t hide in anonymity, then they would possibly be a little more circumspect.

    In contemporary living arrangements, the rich elite who wall themselves off into gated and guarded communities are in effect, absentee landlords. If the rich and powerful were to live in the neighborhoods which their policies create, then as part of the community they would have a stake it its welfare. This would seem to be the basis for good government.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    , @Anonymous
  33. Trump is, at best, a reprieve. The US system simply does not allow for the kind of long term effort required to bring US industry back. The best Trump can do is look at FedGov’s policies, and taxation, in an effort to re-establish the kind of environment needed to get Industry back. Much of what we are seeing is the result of government and union stupidity.

    • Replies: @Sam J.
  34. @Philip Owen

    “GEC became dependent on state sector contracts and withered away even then, under the impact of EU competition.”

    Didn’t it die the death when Arnold Weinstock retired and the M&A specialists who’d been drooling for years over GEC’s cash pile persuaded his successor to blow it all?

    btw weren’t LCD’s produced by DERA’s predecessor, the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment?

    Miro23 makes a good point “And it is not going to appear at all without a dedicated and unified society – the last traces of which disappeared in the early 1970′s.” Japan is famously unified, though Germany’s fracturing fast – and China’s like the 1950s US – different ethnicities but one dominant (Han) culture.

    How do you have a “national project” when you haven’t got the “nation” bit, or at best it’s looking pretty shaky?

    Trump would need to declare that the needs of this project were paramount, that any legislation hampering it would be repealed, and might also have to drastically change legal immigration policies.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  35. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    NoVA is only one link in the chain. You need to head north to Cambridge, MA to identify the real culprits because they propose the trade and economic theories. Then head to Wall Street to see how those are manipulated, of course with help from people in Chappaqua and Washington.

    The root cause of the American economic problems is with the economists at Harvard and MIT.

  36. @Anonymous

    This would seem to be the basis for good government.

    Rather than killing all the lawyers and burning others out of their McMansions, it would be well for the peasants and prols to realize that “good government” is an oxymoron and a colossal swindle, at least from their point of view.

    Is [democracy] inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? … In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself – that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle.

    – H. L. Mencken, Last Words (1926)

  37. The conditions for economic depression have been present since the 1990s in America and since 2008 economic implosion has only been prevented by financial legerdemain. Of course, similar things have happened in the past. Spain was numero uno until the 1640s when it experienced financial collapse. However, the gold and silver, especially the latter, from its Mexican and Peruvian colonies meant it could continue to pay for its massive imports. Foreign exporters at least got their money in hard currency. This underpinned the Spanish economy until the Napoleonic wars.
    By contrast, it is the massive printing of money that underpins the US economy. This is driven by 2 things: commodities, especially oil, are bought in dollars, so countries generally have to buy dollars to obtain commodities. Secondly, those countries – and their citizens – with large trade surpluses with America have bought massive amounts of US Treasury Bonds, and other US assets and property.
    The US economic implosion has only been delayed and is likely to happen this decade. The Collapse of Spain was entirely beneficial for her rivals. Their massive imports were paid in hard currency and her decline allowed them to grab parts of her Empire.
    By contrast, the Collapse of America will result in the collapse in US Treasury Bond values as well as property and other assets. China, Japan and the rest will find a drastic drop in demand for their manufactured goods, as US consumers can no longer afford to buy them, and US assets that are virtually worthless. By rigging the market for so long, they will bring disaster down upon themselves as well as America.

  38. par4 says:

    Finance my ass. There are only four things needed to accomplish anything The idea, The will, the resources and the ability. It does not take discs of gold, silver or copper, printed pieces of paper or digits in a data bank. Trading tokens that were created as a convenience at the market seem to have driven people insane.

  39. Lucius says:

    I agree with what you say, but what you’re missing is that Apple could very easily open an alternate plant in [let’s say] Brazil to serve the American market and let their Chinese factory serve R.O.W. That is not prohibitively difficult or expensive. Companies do it all the time. Hell, Foxconn (or whatever they’re calling themselves now) probably HAS facilities in all those countries already and could just ship the tools over.

  40. JoeFour says:

    “The solution is to return to national monetary sovereignty and eliminate debt-money, an artificial, unconstitutional and fraudulent creation that favors no one but the counterfeiters who create it.”

    Yes! And, I would only add the suggestion that those interested in how this might be done examine the case of Germany in the 1930s:

    • Replies: @Montefrío
  41. macilrae says:
    @Philip Owen

    Very interesting and I stand corrected – the poor old Brits have certainly been the greatest inventors. And a lot of British expatriates in the US and elsewhere continue to generate patents (I count myself among them). “Our” problem has always been in capitalizing on the inventions – the record in this is abysmal, and it has largely been due to a lack of inspired energy in both marketing and manufacturing.

    Look at the Mini as an example – transverse engine, front wheel drive – the concept is now used by everybody but today’s minis are made by bloody BMW! When Austin tried to market the original mini concept in the USA (as the Austin America) it was an engineering catastrophe.

    Asians, while often lacking inventive flair, take infinite pains to get the manufacturing right and treat it as a strategic discipline. If you have been involved in running a high tech business you will know how R&D people detest getting involved in manufacturing – yet such involvement is absolutely vital.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  42. China is on the verge of completing both parts of the two Silk roads. At that point all of Europe, most of Asia and parts of Africa will be in their immediate trade network. Methinks they will not need the US market, or our bonds. Lights out!

  43. Number of words in article: 1500

    Number of those words that are ‘robots’: 0

  44. I don’t know how you turn a nation around for the betterment of the citizens when a large part of the elites actively despise the citizens, and want to replace them with “legal” and illegal foreigners. The desire of the people running the country seems to be to import both brains and brawn, while making credit slaves of everyone else until they are no longer needed. A coherent industrial policy is one thing, but without a pact between the rulers and the governed, where the governed also have a way towards a better life, a revived American economy is nothing more than a playground for the rest of the world.

    I don’t expect Trump to really do much to revive America, other than to possibly free up some prison space. If he can’t decisively put Americans above foreigners, you know that he isn’t going to touch something as toxic and backwards as affirmative action.

  45. Dan Hayes says:
    @The King is a Fink

    The King is a Fink,

    Yes, the Irish Media is almost completely hopeless with only a few notable exceptions. One notorious exception being “The Irish Savant” who is at the very tail-end of the media distribution.

    Now that Eammon appears to have returned to his native shore, I would hope that he would devote some of his essays to the present situation in Ireland (both economics and otherwise). While the Irish situation may be too parochial for some Unz Review reader, others may find it serving as a useful stepping stone into an understanding of the general economic and political situations in England and Continental Europe.

  46. VICB3 says:

    Addressing both industrial policy and trade deficits simultaneously, the easiest solution would be as follows:

    -All exports of U.S. manufactured and/or assembled goods are 100% tax free. Ditto the components if U.S. manufactured. Ditto Ag exports if they are value added, e.g. a box of crackers vs. a bushel of wheat or corn.

    -One year write-down on all capital investment. You could, say, build a factory and depreciate the cost in a year if you so chose.

    Standing back and letting market forces do their jobs, I believe you’d see a plethora of new factories going up overnight. Likewise the trade deficit would begin to shrink.

    A simplistic solution? Perhaps, but I’ve noticed that simple solutions to problems oftentimes seem to work the best.

    The author also mentions the short term viewpoints of business executives and decision makers. A good deal of that is the result of the focus on stockholder value at the expense of the customer, a sure road to ruin in the medium to long run. That might perhaps be addressed with a forced change of business philosophy. One step in that direction would be to prohibit the exercise of stock options for, say, five years after they are issued. Also, there would be a prohibition against collateralizing those options – using them to get a loan, discounting them to a third part, or something – before they are permuted to be exercised. Thus the executives and decision makers are forced to focus on the long term vs the quarterly report; their fortunes would depend upon it.

    Again, a simplistic solution, but also a practical one.

    Just a thought.


    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  47. @JoeFour

    See also and the post that follows it. If you find it worthwhile, read all entries and follow it! National monetary sovereignty and subsidiarity are the principle themes, as one might expect.

  48. A long time ago I read Thomas Friedman’s ‘The world is Flat’, a little later I read ‘China inc.’ by Ted Fishman . I was amazed by the stupidity and greed of the American ruling class. True, they were caught in a bind but they (manufacturers & politicians) were in lock-step. The sheeple were then sold for slaughter.
    I’m an Indian (Dot, not feather kind) and we have seen this happening here too. Coming back to this amazing article, we see that Japan (according to this writer, Eamonn FIingleton) is in an advantageous position.
    I come from south Asia, India, and this country is becoming a lawless land, many will disagree. But in today’s Asian Age newspaper there’s a damning article about how corrupt the justice system has become.
    Sorry for going off topic, but keep in mind, if the law is compromised , or perceived as such, chaos is near.
    The promise of America and what was expected from America has been a sorry tale since the end of WWll.
    The whole world resents the lengthy copyright laws enforced by the US. The blockades that are like medieval sieges against its enemies. The citizens of USA have elected Trump, why not Jill Stein?Or Bernie?

  49. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    That would still increase world supply hence lower the price of energy and benefit China. In order to increase domestic energy production and prop up energy prices, the US would probably need to continue to dominate the Middle East.

    • Replies: @Sean
  50. gwynedd1 says:

    The most obvious evidence is in infrastructure. Much American infrastructure has become embarrassingly outdated. The problem, in a nation that has long run huge fiscal deficits, is finding the money for the necessary massive upgrades. (More about financing in a moment.)

    I lost all interest after reading about financial constants at the national level with 100 million people not working.

  51. @macilrae

    Thanks for the compliment to my country. However, to be fair, OLED’s are a major example of international cooperation. The original discovery of light emitting carbon products was US. The enhancement to a display technology was British. Making them manufacturable was a Japanese achievement. Making them cheaply was a Korean success story.

    I so agree with your core point about transition from the lab to the shop floor and the customer. Without writing a whole blog, I can see that I have seen it fail many times, especially with the highly creative Central Research Labs at firms like Xerox, Kodak, HP, Thorn-EMI and ICI with whom I have had direct experience beyond the well known public examples and of course spin out from military and space research. Russian research institutes had the problem multiplied by 5. (After my corporate career ended I spent 12 years consulting for such organizations trying to improve their tech transfer – I had a track record of success doing it – mostly by not asking for permission to make contact with potential users- a certain amount of career risk involved depending on how controlling the boss was).

  52. OutWest says:

    Some good analysis above. The following is against common perception, but give it a thought.
    When the powers-that-be talk about taxing the “wealthy” they’re really talking about income. These are not the same.

    Wealth is money in the bank (net assets) while income is roughly the rate of change of wealth. For an individual entrepreneur this means the borrowing of a large sum of money to get in business, i.e. negative wealth. However, the income required to repay the debt now triggers a high tax rate making such payment unlikely. Cut to the chase, if you’re smart you don’t start a business of any large size. The risk/reward is way out of whack.

    Of course if you die your business goes to the bigs as a function of the inheritance tax.
    Also, governments are very poor at conducting business other than war which is the ultimate value sink. But that’s yet another subject.

  53. Ballyhoo says:

    I would add that the US has also lost its cultural infrastructure. Some will recall in the 70s and 80s when in the service of their own agenda feminists hooted happily that the sweaty ‘industrial’ (and, of course, ‘patriarchal’ and, of course, ‘oppressive’) culture of the US was now being dismantled and dissolved, to be replaced, of course, with this or that variant of the PC crack-dream that the US would remain on top of the world without actually producing anything (except increasingly intensive doctrinal requirements necessary to usher in the New Left’s Parousia).

    And at this point the US has raised at least two generations of citizens whose ‘dream’ is clearly exemplified in films like ‘Friends With Benefits’: I’ll go to New York City, get a job tapping into a computer, be paid lots of money and live in a cool artsy neighborhood, and have sex and parties and drink red wine out of a bottle with gorgeous or handsome partners and, of course, live happily ever after. Thus even the 80’s red-suspendered Gordon Gekko (the film character that famously declared Greed is Good) is now seen as far too work-oriented; the snowflakes no doubt have come to presume that money is just ‘there’ for them (much as the old Boston society matron is once said to have declared ‘we don’t buy our hats, we have our hats’). They seem to think that the world is Disneyland and they were born with an E-ticket in their hand. The ‘old’ work ethic and its supporting cultural infrastructure is far gone, perhaps too far gone at this point.

    For almost half a century now, US government – following the politics and political path that it itself created – has focused on ‘redistributing’, rather than doing the hard work of generating, wealth. I don’t recall which of the Framers said that once the deep-rooted have-nots get control of the public purse-strings, then it will be all over. Surely this is indicated by the 2008 collapse, caused in large part by Democrat-demanded loosening of mortgage regulations so as to benefit its client-demographics that created the bubble that then – unsurprisingly – collapsed. As does the government’s solution of printing more money while – as we saw even in Reagan’s era – indebting and indenturing ourselves to other nations (while we are also supposed to continue righteously leading those nations in some form of the March of ‘Progress’).

    Our democracy at this point is some still-devolving form of Casino and Crack-dream.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    , @Anonymous
  54. I became aware of the approach of doomsday ten years ago in a Safeway supermarket in Powell River , British Columbia, Canada. I purchased a can of green beans for 79 cents and reading the label noticed the country of origin…..Big drum roll. You guessed it, didn’t you. china. It’s not just an American dilemma, folks

  55. Sam J. says:

    “…Much of what we are seeing is the result of government and union stupidity…”

    I’m not a union guy. I’ve been in one once for a year and they screwed me over cause I wasn’t anyone’s uncle, cousin’s, nephew or whatever but that being said I’m weary of hearing that the workers and union guys were responsible for the decline of America. The people at the top were paid to run the company not the union. They fucked it up.

    Let’s take GM. Roger Smith and the top management were stuffing their pockets full of cash instead of putting the money to improving their product. The union saw them doing so and said they wanted a cut. Management could have fought the union for longer goals but they didn’t. It would have stopped them enriching themselves so they went along. THEY’RE paid to run the company so they’re responsible.

  56. @Anonymous Nephew

    Yes. RSRE, the predesspor to DERA, as it was when I worked with them, made small quantities but there was no commercial (non military) production. I think Plessy or GEC-Marconi dabbled for military customers. Before my involvement.

    As you point out, GEC is another example of Death by Finance. After Arnold built his cash pile by making every MP with a GEC factory or even service centre aware of every public sector contract GEC was bidding for, Jim Prior, a former government minister whose professional experience was in farming took over as chairman. EU and NATO competition requirements exposed GEC to more effective suppliers. He appointed George Simpson as MD. Years of failed acquisitions especially in the US followed and the whole thing collapsed. GEC once employed 250,000 people in the UK and in the early 90’s was larger and almost as profitable as ICI. It had £3Bn cash at one point. It dwindled to zero. Siemens and Alsthom had the best bits (which were Siemens before 1914 anyway).

    Japan excluded immigrants in the interest of a homogeneous society. It is very much part of their stagnation. There is a balance in these things. The UK adding probably 15 million immigrants & 1st generation children to a base population which is probably 50 million is close to the other extreme. Australia should be so lucky!

  57. @VICB3

    “-All exports of U.S. manufactured and/or assembled goods are 100% tax free. Ditto the components if U.S. manufactured. Ditto Ag exports if they are value added, e.g. a box of crackers vs. a bushel of wheat or corn.”

    In the EU, exports are zero rated for Value Added Tax so they are tax free. I would have thought that US exports also escape local sales taxes? (not as effective as VAT but still, not nothing).

    • Replies: @anon
  58. Dan Hayes says:


    Regarding your statement “caused in large part by Democrat-demanded loosening of mortgage regulations.” Let us never forget George W. Bush publicly stating that he saw no reason for mortgage down-payment requirements. Both Republicans and Democrats deserve plenty of opprobrium.

    • Replies: @bluedog
  59. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    You make good points about the cluelessness of many of today’s privileged young, esp. women.

    They are, ironically, also guilty of a form of elitist racism. They regard jobs that require labor as being beneath them, fit only for Mexicans. By implication then, any white who aspires to such jobs and who yearns for their return is ipso facto, a loser–on a level with Mexicans. One can’t waste their time with a white person who is in direct competition with or who feels threatened by a Mexican. They are deplorable trailer trash. And obviously, if they feel threatened by a Mexican, they are racist.

    See how that works? Neat, huh? In their universe, whites who have lost their jobs to Mexicans are lower on the scale, even more contemptible than Mexicans themselves because they blame Mexicans for their plight and not those whites who have engineered it.

  60. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    Stemming the rot in American manufacturing may defeat even Trump. LOL

    Trump’s great advantage over his opponents is a mastery of Grade 4 English, by means of which he is readily understood by his blue-collar base, while being unintelligible to his educated opponents.

    Trump’s economic plan is based on the premise that wealth for ordinary Americans depends on public infrastructure and services — decent roads, clean water, nice airports, and good schools — plus millions of good jobs.


    Trump’s infrastructure project, which will improve the well being of all Americans, and create many good jobs;

    his trade policy, which will revive domestic manufacturing and create many good jobs — mainly not in high tech, but in such things as shoes and shirts, computers and car parts, furniture and floor coverings;

    and his environmental and energy policies, which will expand America’s energy industries, coal oil and gas, and create many high-wage jobs.

    No need to wait tens year for these ideas to produce results. Infrastructure spending and tax cuts will be funded with that technology Ben Bernanke boasted of, the printing press.

    In emulation of China, Trump will fund massive infrastructure spending by rolling the presses. The strong dollar will die in the flames of the ensuing inflation thereby creating the barrier to imports and the stimulus to exports that revival of domestic manufacturing requires.

  61. Rehmat says:

    Well Eamonn …. if you’re really worried about American labor force – you should find an American Jeremy Corbyn. But the problem with UK’s opposition leader is – he is more hated by the British Organized Jewry than Donald Trump by the American Organized Jewry.

  62. Anonymous [AKA "Stirge"] says:

    He said Northern Virginia. Its where the wealthy government minions live.

  63. Trump’s critics argue that bringing back manufacturing won’t create many jobs, since modern high-tech manufacturing isn’t very labour intensive. They have a point, but the real issue isn’t jobs, it’s wealth. All wealth ultimately comes from production, and if a country consumes more than it produces it will become increasingly indebted.

    High tech industries may not create that many jobs directly, but they help to increase the size of the pie, and thus improve employment opportunities in all areas of the economy. They also tend to spread wealth to regions that tend to miss out in countries that follow the post-industrial service economy route. For example, wealth is spread much more widely in industrialised Germany than it is in the UK, where there is a conspicuous shortage of jobs outside of London.

  64. Sean says:

    Aluminium requires a hell of a lot of energy I believe.

    • Replies: @Ivy
  65. Sean says:

    I think the energy rich countries can get together and push the price up. The Saudis would be happy to have higher prices, and they are not really paying for the US protection their country gets. Also international agreements should penalise India and China ect for burning coal.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  66. @Philip Owen

    “Japan excluded immigrants in the interest of a homogeneous society. It is very much part of their stagnation. “

    I just wish the UK was as “stagnant” as Japan, with a trade surplus, world-leading industry, low crime, high wages and full employment. When their huge government debt (nearly all owned by Japanese IIRC) finally hits the ventilator, they’ll sort it internally.

    When the UKs huge private and public debt and nightmare trade figures finally hit the buffers it isn’t going to be pretty.

  67. Ivy says:

    Hall Process, energy-intensive. Recycling uses a fraction of the energy required for ‘new’ aluminum. All your Natty Light cans get melted down and reused.

    • Replies: @Sean
  68. AaronB says:

    I have no doubt that Americans are smart enough – or rather that there are enough smart Americans – but I think it would take a complete shift in American culture to succeed in the industries dominated by Japan and Germany.

    The kind of regimented dedication needed, immense attention paid to minute details and a tremendous dedication to precision and craftsmanship, all in areas where there is hardly any glamour or publicity or thrill, far from the public eye, and done by our bightest citizens for what one can only imagine would be a modest salary – no, I can’t see it.

    We simply don’t have that kind of cultural set up – what’s more, the kind of abstract soulless work that this requires, coupled with a grueling workload, can only be prevented from breeding alienation by an extremely warm, vibrant, human culture, and America is notorious precisely for the barrenness of its human landscape.

    So unlike Japan, America couldn’t provide a soft landing in human terms from this kind of soulless work.

    No, there is a reason Japan can do it and we will never be able to….

    • Replies: @utu
    , @JackOH
  69. OutWest says:

    Wall-ironed beverage cans have rather little aluminum –strength from structure design rather than material. And cans are very highly recycled with little energy needed for new manufacture. Virgin aluminum is gained with Pacific Northwest hydropower since plants were put in for WW2 aircraft aluminum.

    But even if the energy demand was high, we now have excellent ethane supply –one of the few bright spots Vis’-a-Vis’ the present subject.

  70. MarkinLA says:
    @Philip Owen

    The UK adding probably 15 million immigrants & 1st generation children to a base population which is probably 50 million is close to the other extreme. Australia should be so lucky!

    The adding more useless mouths to feed theory of economics, I see!

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  71. The most shortsighted and dangerous omission among all the bells and whistles concerning our financial plight, the one thing seldom addressed is the personal loss of never in a lifetime having had a real, worthwhile job. Gainful employment. Getting up in the morning and going to work. It defines a person, gives personal status not available through any other route. How many more generations of Americans are to be denied this? Countless families have two, maybe even three generations where no one has had real honest- to- god significant employment. This has got to end.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  72. I am German. I work in sales of sensors, safety switches fiber optic cables and light barriers. We sell many German brands, but also Japenese and American. Two of the biggest brands, Rockwell and Honywell, are in fact American. And I see no reason why these companies, with their huge knowhow, would not want to keep producing in America.

    By the way, for some reason there seems a lot of producing being done in places like Ukrain, Sri Lanka, Indonesia or Dominican Republic. If war torn Ukraine, from where some companies are even pulling out now, or Indonesia, which according to Economic Freedom Index 2016 is more corrupt than Azerbaijan, can produce stuff, so can Americans.

    I’d let the free market handle it. Not only is America an open, friendly and peaceful culture which should attract entrepreneurs. But the fact that by manufacturing anything, even it is only stealing jobs back from Sri Lanka, the wellfare state will shrink and therefore taxes can be further decreased which will drive productivity even more.

  73. utu says:

    “No, there is a reason Japan can do it and we will never be able to….” – Yes, it is all about culture. As you said the “barrenness of human landscape” in America is something Americans are not aware of just like fish has no clue that water is wet.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  74. MarkinLA says:
    @Robert Magill

    Because an economist cannot quantify it, it must be ignored in the discussion.

    However, when you think about what is going on in a society where the children see their dad going to work and they feel a sense of pride that their dad is taking care of them. Their dad thinks he is providing for them and he is self-sufficient. How much is this worth to society in terms that can be quantified like reduced crime and welfare costs.

  75. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Right, the US can do those things. But that would require the kind of foreign engagement that Trump has hinted at retreating from.

  76. @MarkinLA

    Not at all. Economically, the immigrants are a huge boost – see my contrast against Japan. The UK currently has full employment because the UK baby boom is in the midst of retirement; The UK baby boom ended by mid 50’s. Someone is needed to pay the pensions. Thank you Poland. (and rather more massively, once and future India). The issue is the social problems created by migration.

    Take Poland as an example. I saw a recent map of divorce rates in Poland. They were low in core Polish territory but in Prussia and Silesia where the Eastern Poles were forced to migrate by Soviet/Russian nationalist takeover of their territories, divorce rates are much higher, 70 years later. Massive migration brings social tensions with it inside as well as between communities.

    In Merthyr Tydfil, the world’s first industrial town, the English and Irish migrants from the 1820’s are still distinguishable from the Welsh if you know how to look. And admitting that you are a Catholic is still problematical enough in the UK to be a sign that someone trusts you as a friend.

  77. AKAHorace says:

    look I am a bit of an English purist, but shouldn’t that be hanged rather than hung by the neck ?

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  78. Erebus says:

    Triffin’s Dilemma predicted the loss of America’s real economy more than 50 yrs ago.

    In a grossly simplified nutshell, the issuer of the world’s reserve currency is compelled to run a trade deficit sufficiently high to keep the world’s foreign currency reserves topped up. If the world economy is growing, the only acceptable way of doing this is to run an increasing trade deficit, ostensibly based on “The full faith and credit of the United States of America”.

    That “full faith and credit” included guarantees of security, stable international institutions, and access to the American consumer market for those countries in the system.
    Those guarantees are looking pretty shopworn nowadays, and there are other large currency blocks in the field as well as in preparation.

    The US is facing a Kierkegaard-ian Either/Or.

    The struggle within America is now between those who would protect the dollar’s reserve status by whatever means are available (at this point, primarily military) and those that would abandon reserve currency status, let the dollar go, and try to re-build the country’s real economy. In other words, Either preserve the Empire, Or save the country.
    You can’t do both.

    The $20T question is can America do either.

    • Replies: @utu
  79. utu says:

    “Either preserve the Empire, Or save the country.”

    Our elites will not give up the Empire. This is the only thing they know and it is the Empire that gives them opportunities for enrichment that no other arrangement can. The masses are easily manipulated into being the useful idiots for Empire as well. The Empire may come to the end only as the results of external pressures. Only then Americans will have a chance to save the country or rather create it. America was never meant to be just a country. It was to be at first a continental empire and then the global empire from the day one. The “country” can be saved only after it will be fragmented. If the outcome of the Civil War was different America could have been much closer on the road to being a country or several countries.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  80. AaronB says:

    Youre right, utu.

    Americans simply cannot see the empty human landscape they live in and assume the cure for their pain is to do more and more of the things that create this human emptiness.

    It’s like a drug addiction.

    • Replies: @utu
  81. MarkinLA says:
    @Philip Owen

    What good is full employment when most of those employed are making so little that they also qualify for welfare? So the native born get stuck with all the social ills that come from alien cultures demanding they be respected and the native born are taxed to pay the welfare of those creating the social ills.

    What a bargain.

  82. Che Guava says:

    I prefer non-US usages (dove as the past tense of dive instead of dived makes me grit my teeth, among others; a dove is a type of bird, as an English teacher put it in my early learning of the language).

    However, this is different. Re. legal language, the judge might say ‘to be hanged at dawn’.

    The guard or friends of the person sentenced would say ‘to be hung at dawn’.

    The old and cruel punishment of being ‘hung, drawn and quartered’ was always expressed as ‘hung, drawn and quartered’.

  83. @Philip Owen

    No, no, no. And no again. Our current course is disastrous.

    “economically, the immigrants are a huge boost… someone is needed to pay the pensions…thank you Poland”

    No. Let’s accept that “National Insurance” is no such thing, and that our benefits and pensions system is a Ponzi scheme which if it existed in the private sector would result in directors going to jail. So one needs a continual flow of people paying in.

    But … maintaining current arrangements requires well-paid people paying in. The overwhelming majority of immigrants are low-paid, and are driving down wages for the natives. A food processing factory paying its 30 employees £14k each will produce a magnificent £18,000 in income tax for HMRC – and no national insurance if the staff are all employees of 3-person agencies, the latest dodge*. That will provide primary school places for three children at 6K pa, and nothing for anything else. Assume they pay NI and you add another £21k – so now you can pay for the education of 6.5 primary kids.

    I know a perfectly nice Polish couple who are both working , and have 2 kids at primary. But add that to housing benefit, child allowance and tax credits, they’re a huge net drain on the taxpayer – and that’s before you know they’re sending about £7K a year back to Poland, which will benefit the Polish rather than UK economy.

    The idea that our pensions and hospital treatment will be paid for by people on £14k is ridiculous. People on those incomes will always be net tax recipients, not net taxpayers.

    And highly-paid foreigners have never had much of a problem working in the UK, from Handel to the guys who created British Oxygen, or any of the thousands in the City.

    We have another tax issue which HMRC prefer to keep quiet about – the fact that the fastest-growing section of the UK population derive from a part of the world (the Indian subcontinent) where tax evasion is the norm. Certainly when I’m at the Booker wholesale centre in the UK I find a lot of people in the queue paying by cash, even f0r hundreds of pounds worth of stuff. The last time I looked at ‘HMRCs Most Wanted’ wasn’t encouraging in this respect.

    * see

    • Replies: @Clyde
    , @Philip Owen
  84. @Philip Owen

    I should add that real male UK wages were lower in 2015 than they were in 1997. I can give chapter and verse if you wish.

  85. Che Guava says:

    The continental empire idea (expansion into lands the Brits had guaranteed to American Indians, the War of Northern Aggression, the Monroe Doctrine) is much later than the War of Independence, so you are wrong to cite it as having been at the origin of the US polity.

    Fingleton makes many good points.

    I have a few obvious ones, too. Can’t offer solutions, but a few positive steps.

    While participating in and later as an admin on a US site, I was able to see that many were very talented coders.

    Those in the ‘flyover’ states had crap service industry jobs. Saw an article today that mentioned an Indian businessman (not a US citizen) who was claiming to need thousands of H1B (think that is the right code) visas to run his business. Fuck him. I am anti-US empire, but generally find most US people likable enough, and not happy to have seen people with real talent having to work in the fast-food nation.

    Unfortunately, Trump didn’t think of that factor during his campaign. Repeal that visa system.

    The central problems that Fingleton does not mention are several.

    The US press is a reliable cheerleader for the remnant industrial champions, so, for example, we had endless articles gloating about the Airbus super-jumbo being delivered late.

    The Boeing ‘Dreamliner’ was delivered relatively much later than scheduled and had far more problems.

    The media were very quiet on that.

    People who read and think do notice such things.

    Outside the military-industrial complex, too much of what is termed ‘tech’ in the US falls into three categories.

    The first is patented stuff. It makes the owners (often nothing to do with the originators) and stockholders rich. Nothing flows down, except perhaps, a tiny portion to receptionists and janitors in their offices.

    The second, SNs and so on. Tiny staff, only serves to make owners and stockholders rich or well-off.

    The third, companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, their products are made, and to a large extent designed outside the US.

    Would comtinue, but must sleeping.

    Lateral thought may be an idea.

    • Replies: @Anon
  86. JackOH says:

    ” . . . [T]he kind of abstract soulless work that this requires, coupled with a grueling workload, can only be prevented from breeding alienation by an extremely warm, vibrant, human culture, and America is notorious precisely for the barrenness of its human landscape.”

    AaronB, I agree, more or less. I’ll add that the “barrenness of the human landscape” in the States, the “bowling alone-ness”, is IMO a bleak consequence of deeply misguided political arguments and government policies of the past half-century or thereabouts. Those arguments and policies undermined the modulating effects of family, church, ethnic affinity, and so on. Paraphrasing a Roman whose name escapes me: “They made it a wasteland, and called it . . . liberation“.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  87. Sean says:

    Environment wrecking smelting is mainly in China, by highly inefficient processes. Better for everyone if cheap energy stays where there is advanced technology.

  88. Clyde says:
    @Anonymous Nephew

    We have another tax issue which HMRC prefer to keep quiet about – the fact that the fastest-growing section of the UK population derive from a part of the world (the Indian subcontinent) where tax evasion is the norm. Certainly when I’m at the Booker wholesale centre in the UK I find a lot of people in the queue paying by cash, even f0r hundreds of pounds worth of stuff.

    Astute observation. These SubCon types are addicted to running cash businesses in America such as gas stations and convenience stores. Koreans used to do this when they were green grocers and dry cleaners. Still are to a lesser extent. Most immigrants love cash businesses, its just a matter of degree. Obviously when I use the slang “cash business”, it might be a cash business only in part/ That some customers pay by credit card.
    I sometimes patronize a Korean store to buy greens and kim-chi. They politely refuse to take my credit card for under $10. This is illegal here in America. So I pay cash.

  89. @Anonymous

    Those same Marxist however mightily succeeded in turning Russia from backward peasant society into industrial giant with all sorts of industries and technologies. It took some time though. Trump doe snot have that time. He doe snot have organization that backs him and so called democratic system with election every 4 years cannot plan anything long term. It took China decades to get even to this level . It was possible due to careful, patient, consistent and very important uninterrupted effort…..

    • Replies: @Anon
  90. utu says:

    It’s like a drug addiction but it is the cultural aspect, that in essence is purely American going back to the day one of America, that promulgates the state of affairs. The most important is the lack of understanding which is the core of the belief system itself.

    At Sailer’s post “Can the Democrats Get Over Their Europhobia?”, i.e, why neither Sanders nor Warren are considered by DNC I tried to post the following comments trying to redirect clearly racial train of thought of Sailer and his commenters but my comment was not even posted:

    “It makes a perfect sense. They want to fight Republicans with identity politics. They don’t want to fight them on economy with Sanders and Warren because the banks would not like it, because they could actually win. That’s why the identity politics was invented in the first place. Keep in mind that Soros and Koch Brothers play on the same team for open borders. The divisive identity politics is just a tool for bankers and big business to keep people divided. They are not even against the white people because they are European but because they are still a majority and only the majority has enough cultural cohesion and cultural memory to muster the attack or the opposition to the neoliberal enslavement. So, don’t worry white people. You will be OK. Just roll over for the bankers. It is not about your color of skin and your alleged high IQ. It is more about your culture that you for all practical purposes forgot. You do not know what is the essence of your culture which they fear the most. Then they gave you Ayn Rand and libertarianism so you are harmless to them but deadly to yourself.”

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @AaronB
  91. @Anonymous Nephew

    I attend the Bank of England Agency panel in Wales. Last month the construction industry executives were expressing grave concern at a growing lack of skilled labour due to retirements. There is the labour to build Cross Rail. There is not enough for Heathrow, HS2 and Hinckley, all at once without immigrants. They will not be on minimum wage, so while your examples may be true, they are not universal and there will be VAT on the value added by even those workers that you describe. Also, a hospital porter may not be paying a lot of tax but he is keeping costs down for the taxpayer (but see my point below about productivity).

    If you read the whole thread, I have expressed reservations about the scale of immigration.

    To add something new. The current scale of UK immigration (and this applies to the US too for the sake of staying on topic) keeps down productivity by providing alternatives to investment (in wifi based waiter ordering systems, say or pod hotels); it maintains a distortion in favour of major metropolitan areas (mostly London but Manchester or Bristol too) that underemployed Britons trapped on benefits cannot afford but 6 Estonians sharing can. It allows gangmasters (employment agencies to put it nicely) to sidestep employment laws designed to regulate UK nationals.

    My core point about immigration is that the UK social security system is broken. A system that does not allow single mothers in Sheffield to decamp to Lincolnshire for the Summer with their children to pick peas (as used to happen – agree peas specifically are picked by machine now) without losing at least a matching amount of benefit, is broken. A system that is more attractive to 4th generation unemployed in Merthyr Tydfil than working in a meet packing plant is broken (St Merryn, the firm, eventually used gangmasters to bring in Poles because the local workforce quality was so bad – but people respond to incentives – no useful differential, no effort).

    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
  92. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Number of Nobel prizes in Physics, Chemistry, or Medicine per year for

    1. Russian Empire (1895-1917) : 0.136

    2. USSR (1922-1991): 0.116

    (based on Wikipedia, haven’t verified)

    Number for USSR goes up significantly if one includes literature, peace, and economics, of course. But these are political prizes, and anyway literature was often anti-communist.

    • Agree: Hibernian
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  93. Excellent article.
    It is not just highly doubtful Trump will succeed in bringing back manufacturing, I find it plainly impossible.
    The time Trump is going to be president to reverse current trend is far too short. He lacks competent organization behind him, patience and understanding of what is required to pull such a miracle..
    Trends like this do not change on a dime. It took China decades to reverse one trend and get into another. But China had leadership that could plan long term and act consistently and patiently.

    USA also is deep in debt and lacks resources to pull this off. Unless of course those resources could be found in expropriation of expropriators exactly the people who were behind the looting which left USA what it is now.
    But it will not happen of course.
    Frankly, I do not envy Trump… Poor guy, he was thinking developing hotels, resorts and golf courses and creating brands is comparable to Sisyphus task he was elected for… Good luck. He will need all of it.

    • Replies: @map
  94. @Anon

    Are you serious comparing Russia before 1917 and later USSR? Tsarists Russia had most of population illiterate. It was the least developed of all great powers and had issues to even supply troops with bullets during WW!. I would not even go into industries and technologies developed in USSR.
    Also, considering Obama got Nobel price… and USSR being Communist state, one can draw conclusion about fairness….

    USSR by all means in every respect was a super power. As you are not USSR born and never lived there you cannot understand the scale of Soviet achievements considering humble roots of that miracle.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Hibernian
  95. utu says:

    In literacy, U.S. millennials scored lower than 15 of the 22 participating countries. Only millennials in Spain and Italy had lower scores.

    In numeracy, U.S. millennials ranked last, along with Italy and Spain.

    In PS-TRE, U.S. millennials also ranked last, along with the Slovak Republic, Ireland, and Poland.

    The youngest segment of the U.S. millennial cohort (16- to 24-year-olds), who could be in the labor force for the next 50 years, ranked last in numeracy along with Italy and among the bottom countries in PS-TRE. In literacy, they scored higher than their peers in Italy and Spain.

    Top-scoring U.S. millennials (those at the 90th percentile) scored lower than top-scoring millennials in 15 of the 22 participating countries, and only scored higher than their peers in Spain.

    Low-scoring U.S. millennials (those at the 10th percentile) ranked last along with Italy and England/Northern Ireland and scored lower than millennials in 19 participating countries.

    Although a greater percentage of young adults in the U.S. are attaining higher levels of education since 2003, the numeracy scores of U.S. millennials whose highest level of education is high school and above high school have declined.

    Since 2003, the percentages of U.S. millennials scoring below level 3 in numeracy (the minimum standard) increased at all levels of educational attainment.

    U.S. millennials with a four-year bachelor’s degree scored higher in numeracy than their counterparts in only two countries: Poland and Spain.

    The scores of U.S. millennials whose highest level of educational attainment was either less than high school or high school were lower than those of their counterparts in almost every other participating country.

    Our best-educated millennials—those with a master’s or research degree—only scored higher than their peers in Ireland, Poland, and Spain.

  96. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Che Guava

    The continental empire idea (expansion into lands the Brits had guaranteed to American Indians, the War of Northern Aggression, the Monroe Doctrine) is much later than the War of Independence, so you are wrong to cite it as having been at the origin of the US polity.

    Most of the colonies were only convinced with difficulty to abandon their claims of sea-to-sea grants. The Proclamation of 1763 is widely considered one of the catalysts for the Revolution. The conquest of the Old Northwest by Mad Anthony Wayne was one of the more important campaigns, and the reduction of the region continued immediately following the war. The Monroe doctrine was only forty years after the end of the war. The war itself involved the failed invasion of Canada, something we tried again in 1812. The nuttier American theorists, most notably Tom Paine, were not exactly silent about their intentions for the world. Citizen Genet found considerable support before President Washington shut him down.

    Yes, we have always had statesmen who have decried expansionism, and in general in the early years the US did not behave egregiously towards its neighbors (the Mexican-American war excepted). Though the idea of “American Empire” if so phrased would outrage Americans at any stage of history, including today, we’ve always thought Americanism in general would spread, that the American population would expand into new lands (though recently it’s been the reverse), and that the American nation would be a sort of example to the world.

    I have no idea what would have happened if the Civil War had gone the other way. Both countries would have been much weaker, which would probably have impeded their ambitions. Nevertheless the South would probably have tried to project influence southwards, and the North and the South would probably get caught up in European affairs in the twentieth century. Of course the whole idea of Americanism would be gravely weakened by having two Americas, but both being republican would be pro-democratic abroad.

  97. AaronB says:

    Utu, you are right, it is culture, but it isn’t going to change.

    Some cultures have depth and multiple dimensions, so that if one path turns out to be disastrous, it has within itself alternative paths it can turn to. America isn’t like this – we are one dimensionally based on money and power. Even Germany, not the best example, had at least two dimensions to its identity – militarism, and the land of poets and thinkers.

    If America had within itself the spiritual resources to turn from its current path, it would have spontaneously given rise to popular thinkers describing such an alternative.

    But we dont. Instead, we have people like Steve Sailer, who while funny and smart, can only plow the same American furrow and tell us that the way out of a malaise caused by a soulless focus on self aggrandizememt is….to intensify self aggrandizement.

    It’s not that Sailer is stupid, it’s just that being an American his spiritual vocabulary is severely limited and he has no other tradition to draw upon.

    • Replies: @utu
  98. AaronB says:

    Yes, the past half century saw an acceleration, but the problem lies in the very roots of America’s founding ideals – money, hustling, and power as the American dream.

    CEOS selling out our prosperity for their persobal enrichment is a logical consequence of the American dream properly understood – an ideal, as it develops through history, takes time to work out its full ramifications. Well, we have finally gotten to the end.

  99. utu says:

    You have really good insights. It is much more difficult for me to grasp it. I feel like groping in the dark. But I am trying to identify and name what is it that is unique in American mind that could be the common denominator of American culture. I can feel it as a form of extreme tendency to reductionism that I would call the bottom-line’ism. It is easily identifiable in business where it has originated but it spread and infected all other aspects of thought patterns that dominate American mind and psyche. Because of this bottom-line’ism Americnas are trapped or kept on the bottom of the sea as if they had big stones attached to their necks. But they are not aware of it. I think I could see it already in Benjamin Franklin writings. He was a monstrous automaton. For instance the phrase “time is money” is a perfect example of bottom-line’ism. Wouldn’t it be nice if people were equally guided by the phrase that money is time. For some money steals their time and for some money gives them time.

  100. @Philip Owen

    I understand your points about workforce quality, but think perhaps you are not sceptical enough about construction industry executives obvious (short-term) self- interest in getting the cheapest labour as opposed, say to training staff.

    When our borders were relatively closed (i.e. when the EU consisted either of high-wage countries or of beautiful sunny places like Greece that few Greeks would want to swap for Merthyr), labour shortages were solved by paying more, and the skilled workers magically appeared (partly because a training industry also magically appeared).

    An example from the 1980s, when, as computers became more affordable, large organisations found that there was a shortage of people to program and operate them. What happened was that wages rose sharply and companies invested in serious training – sometimes six months or a year’s worth. This was bad news for some schools, who found maths teachers vanishing to become programmers at 50% higher salary, but good news for the ex-teachers (twenty years later, with cheap Indian programmers brought in on “intra-company transfers”, some of these went back to teaching). A training industry also sprang up, with alas the usual mix of chancers and good-uns.

    But do you understand my point – that the UK welfare state as currently constituted was designed for a high-wage economy and cannot survive if real wages continue to decline or stagnate?

    Also I note that current headline unemployment is 1.75m, which would have been considered a scandal in the 1960s (and the figure ignores millions who are ‘economically inactive’ but would work if the jobs were there, plus the millions on zero hours).

    btw all these things also apply to the US.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  101. utu says:

    Michael Hudson on the Orwellian Turn in Contemporary Economics

  102. Boris N says:

    The most obvious evidence is in infrastructure. Much American infrastructure has become embarrassingly outdated. The problem, in a nation that has long run huge fiscal deficits, is finding the money for the necessary massive upgrades. (More about financing in a moment.)

    The expressways are crumbling; the railways slow and antiquated. The United States even lags in internet speeds. Then there is water purity and the quality of mains electricity (this latter is a key consideration for companies locating advanced manufacturing operations).

    I’ve heard exactly the same complains about Russia thousands of times. And they are really well-sounded. The Russian infrastructure is outdated and was built mostly during the Soviet times. Russia really lacks money to repair and rebuild all that. But I cannot believe that in America, with its immense wealth, the situation is similar. Never been there, but what I could have seen through various media even the poorest places look decent. Even they are more decent than most places in Russia. Looks like Americans are exaggerating the problems. Even if the USA is not the first among the developed countries (in many the living standards are better), but it still is and will surely remain in the first decile in the global ratings. I can name only few countries where life seems to be better (namely Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the old EU-15).

  103. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Yes, literacy was one thing the Soviets did right, and they should get credit for it.

    The USSR was a super-power, but only following the Second World War (in which the Russian and other peoples showed heroic fortitude), after which it controlled half of Europe. Before that the Soviets managed to screw up the Polish campaign, the Spanish war, and the Finnish war. What would have happened had the Empire continued is unknowable, so I won’t say it would have done any better, but only in their worst days did the Imperial armies approach the condition of the Soviet armies in Finland.

    As you said, I’m not USSR born. And I’m sure that (after the mass starvations* and the mass camp deportations, which were probably before your time) it wasn’t a bad place to live, and Soviet scientists were certainly as skilled as those elsewhere. I don’t mean to denigrate your native land.

    Nevertheless, you weren’t Empire born, and I wouldn’t dismiss those many Russian centuries out of hand. Russian science was quite advanced even under the Tsars* (think of Mendeleev!).
    It’s true that the average Russian was probably better off in 1967 than 1917, but so was the rest of the world.

    *These words aren’t in the Unz(*!) spellcheck dictionary, for whatever reason.

    • Replies: @utu
  104. @Anonymous Nephew

    As I understand it, the Tanzanian constitution says “The old men shall sit under the baobab tree and talk until they agree”. If we spent enough time on it, we probably would. This needs another thread or its own blog.

  105. utu says:

    If there was no Bolshevik revolution Russia could have become much stronger and more developed country than under Bolsheviks plus it would have much larger populations w/o the mass killing and starvation imposed by Bolsheviks and mass abortions in Soviet Union. In the beginning of 20c Russia was on very good trajectory in terms of economy and industrialization that was devised and implemented by Pyotr Stolypin (assassinated by Jewish radicals). If the rate derived from that trajectory was maintained Russia would surpass the US by the mid 20c. Since most of the financial support for Bolsheviks came from American banker some speculate that the reason for the revolution and destruction of Russia, for looting her wealth and killing her elites was not just ideological on behalf of anti-Christian Jewish communist cult but on the behalf of Western powers that feared the potential of Russia.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  106. Dan Hayes says:


    Like you, Solzhenitsyn maintained that before the Bolshevik Revolution, although not as advanced as most Western European nations, Russia had begun an evolution to modernity with flourishing manufacturing industry, rapid growth, decentralized economy, and with its inhabitants not constrained by their choice of economic activity.

    It was revelatory to me some time ago reading those views of Solzhenitsyn in one of his books.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @utu
  107. utu says:
    @Dan Hayes

    With exception to political crimes there was no death penalty in Russia.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  108. utu says:
    @Dan Hayes

    Here is interesting paper:

    At factories with more than 100 workers free medical care was constituted, and it covered 70% of all factory workers (1898). In June 1903 Regulations on compensation for industrial accidents were established, obliging the employer to pay benefit and pension to the person affected or their family ranging from 50 to 66% of the person’s allowance.In
    1906 labor unions were created in the country. The law of 23th of June 1912 set forth compulsory accident and health insurance for workers.

    We see that welfare ratios for unskilled workers in Moscow and St.Petersburg were higher than in Milan (unskilled) Italian cities had the lowest standard of living in Europe.

    Petersburg unskilled welfare ratio is comparable (and in some cases close) to the level of Amsterdam.

    It is hard to find studies that are not done by Marxist researchers. They usually want to justify revolution and explain it as economic necessity and they never touch on the subject of a possible international conspiracy against Russia. One must look for work done in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

  109. Che Guava says:

    Thanks for your interesting reply.

    I can see that I overstated one or two points in my post, and didn’t know of the earlier proclamation and a couple of the historical figures you mention (although of course know of the wars and their aims).

    Still, my points were mainly valid, and re. the sittation of now, completely so. Could write many thousands of words, largely eliminating those visas that Google so loves (H1B?) only helps some, but it is certainly a step in the right direction, and I know from on-line discussion and experience that many talented people are being completely mistreated by the system of that.

    I should also have differentiated between Google, essentially an advertising company, MS, essentially a software company, and Apple, software, hardware, and third-hand hippy ideology, but there has been some degree of convergence, and I don’t think, except for really cracking down on those stupid visas, any of them will make any real contribution to a real US recovery (I am an MS hater, but for the US, that is the only one that may possibly do so).

    The new US administration, when it arrives, will likely try to provide better jobs through fracking, cutting the tops of mountains for mining and quarrying in general, and a little underground coal mining. All of those are short-term, destructive, and ugly solutions (except for underground coal mining), lateral thinking is needed for your country’s recovery.

    World media and propaganda dominance mainly helps zionists there, with a large trickle down to the favoured players, a little to their workers, and a vast suction from everyone else.

    It is already in place, but won’t last forever, but there is no way of improving that to get improvements in everyday life.

    • Replies: @Anon
  110. Dan Hayes says:

    And the punishment for political prisoners was not necessarily draconian. I believe that Lenin even had personal servants during his Siberian banishment/exile!

    • Replies: @utu
  111. utu says:
    @Dan Hayes

    Perhaps thats’s why the revolt was possible because the Tsarist’s regime was too soft. And why was it so soft? Because it was constantly criticized by the West it was too harsh. The appeasement was not a good thing. Putin by kicking out NGO’s promoting freedoms and liberties for all kinds of strange things probably knew about it. I wonder who was advising Qaddafi? He thought that if he disarms, pays billions for Lockerbie and give cheap oil to Italians and bribes to Sarkozy he would be safe? With all this he still would last much longer if he had no qualms of doing to the rebels and protesters what Western media were accusing him of doing.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  112. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Che Guava

    Oh, I agree completely in re Google et Apple. Their style of “tech” industry is not going to be productive for the U.S. at all. As you say, eliminating (radically reducing, anyway) the H1B program will help but will not be enough by itself.

    Incidentally, I think part of the H1B support (apart from the obvious economic part) comes from a sort of hazy belief that H1B workers will fall in love with Americanism and somehow spread it.

    At this point I don’t know whether the MIC is part of the problem or of the solution. I suspect the former for many obvious reasons, but envelope-pushing programs in the past have done quite a lot, notably the X-projects and the space program.

    I’m showing my ignorance here, but what are SNs?

    As I said, otherwise I pretty much agree with you. I almost feel sorry spoiling the perfect number 111 with this comment.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
    , @unpc downunder
  113. Che Guava says:

    Hey, anon.

    Although why you are posting as anon on this, I don’t know.

    envelope-pushing programs in the past have done quite a lot, notably the X-projects and the space program.

    By and large, those don’t really qualify as MIC projects, sure, MIC companies were contractors, but they were mainly for adventure and pure research.

    Sure, very impressive work!

    The ME-262 almost certainly broke the ‘sound barrier’ in the late days of the European war, years before Chuck Yeager in the Bell X-1.

    The achievements of the USSR and Russia in space are also very impressive, first orbital flight, only Venus landers (if you haven’t read about them, I recommend reading about the Venera programme), first spacewalks, and the biggest contribution, by far, to work on health effects of long terms in low gravity, among others.

    Look at the price-per-unit of the latest US fighter/fighter-bomber. It is obscene. At the same time, they retire the A-4 ‘Warthog’, a uniquely effective design for ground support (also with some roots in German wartime design). What a waste of your taxpayer’s money.

    That is the MIC writ large.

    By SNs, I meant social networks, or social network systems, I omit the second capital S because it seems redundant.

    I never refer to my actual social associations as a ‘social network’, so taking the second ‘S’ out of ‘SNS’ seemed like a good idea.

    Regards, if you are the former Priss or not, you should make a new uname. Replying to ‘Anon’ in Unz comment threads feels strange.

  114. Hibernian says:

    For “allow,” substitute “force.”

    The “general coffers” include large amounts for war, welfare, and the corruption component of infrastructure development and maintenance.

  115. Hibernian says:
    @Philip Owen

    In the U.S., even in heavily Catholic areas such as most of our industrial cities, forthright defense of Catholic principles will catch a lot of flak, much of it from liberal Catholics including priests.

  116. Hibernian says:
    @Philip Owen

    Also, on the subject of Merthyr Tydfil, you reference the 1820s; is this when it was founded? I think water powered industry was beginning about this time in the Charles River Valley in Massachusetts and Paterson, New Jersey. Slater’s Mill in Rhode Island was earlier.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  117. Hibernian says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    The USSR was propped up by the USA in many ways, Henry Ford building truck plants, massive aid during WW2, grain sales in the 60s, Henry Ford II following his grandfather’s example in the Vietnam era, yada, yada.

  118. @macilrae

    Why are the best TVs made in Korea and Japan? LCD and OLED screens are both (I think) originally US inventions – why are they not made in the US now? True the breakthrough for white LEDs; used everywhere now, even in car headlights, came because of the Nobel-winning work of Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura in Japan but they could surely be produced (why not better?) in the US instead of China.

    There are no “white” LED’s. Almost all white emitting LEDs are a phosphor emission driven by blue LEDs. Nichia (Japan), Cree (USA), Osram (Germany) and Philips (Netherland) are the current leaders, with Cree, Osram, and Philips having extensive US manufacturing.

    The problem is a classic chicken-and-egg. When all the manufacturing is at place X, then basic research (science), practical (engineering) development tends to be near X for access to materials, fabrication machinery, and access to technicians. This extends to a lesser extent to marketing and to customer services.

  119. @Hibernian

    Serious iron working started in the 1740’s in Merthyr although there was some 200 years earlier. An engineer called Bacon raised the game with new technology in the 1760’s. Water power was more important in Northern England where they forged iron and steel with water powered hammers. In South Wales, they cast, extruded or rolled it. Quakers were strongly involved in iron making.

  120. @OutWest

    World War 2 pressed them back into full use that continued that continued into the 1960s. We weren’t that great at it but were the only production standing after World War 2

    Donkey dung!
    The US had a good manufacturing base before the war, and by the time it ended were cranking out quantities that were orders —plural— of magnitude greater than all other nations combined. In the true meaning of the word, it was awesome. To feather the cap, US manufacturing improved manufacturing quality (part accuracy and repeatability) by an order of magnitude during the same period.

  121. macilrae says:

    hoodathunkit said:

    “There are no “white” LED’s. Almost all white emitting LEDs are a phosphor emission driven by blue LEDs. ”

    Putting on my physicist’s hat I have to agree with you. However everybody understands what is today meant by a “white LED” and although it is a trompe d’oeil it works well enough as a backlight in our TVs to make us pretty happy, right?

    • Replies: @hooodathunkit
  122. Miro23 says:

    He (Trump) has talked about reopening shuttered factories. That is easier said than done. Once a nation loses its position in any advanced manufacturing specialty, it finds it almost impossible to get back in.

    An excellent (2010) article by Andy Grove (ex CEO of Intel) on Bloomberg supports Fingleton’s ideas:

    For example, talking about Lithium-ion batteries:

    “There’s more at stake than exported jobs. With some technologies, both scaling and innovation take place overseas.
    Such is the case with advanced batteries. It has taken years and many false starts, but finally we are about to witness mass-produced electric cars and trucks. They all rely on lithium-ion batteries. What microprocessors are to computing, batteries are to electric vehicles. Unlike with microprocessors, the U.S. share of lithium-ion battery production is tiny.
    That’s a problem. A new industry needs an effective ecosystem in which technology knowhow accumulates, experience builds on experience, and close relationships develop between supplier and customer. The U.S. lost its lead in batteries 30 years ago when it stopped making consumer electronics devices. Whoever made batteries then gained the exposure and relationships needed to learn to supply batteries for the more demanding laptop PC market, and after that, for the even more demanding automobile market. U.S. companies did not participate in the first phase and consequently were not in the running for all that followed. I doubt they will ever catch up.”

    And Grove gets into the scale of the manufacturing and employment that has been lost:

    “Meanwhile, a very effective computer manufacturing industry has emerged in Asia, employing about 1.5 million workers—factory employees, engineers, and managers. The largest of these companies is Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn. The company has grown at an astounding rate, first in Taiwan and later in China. Its revenues last year were $62 billion, larger than Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Dell (DELL), or Intel. Foxconn employs over 800,000 people, more than the combined worldwide head count of Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Intel, and Sony (SNE) (figure-C).”

    And he also looks at the solid academic support for outsourcing coming from the economics profession and quotes Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder:

    “The TV manufacturing industry really started here, and at one point employed many workers. But as TV sets became ‘just a commodity,’ their production moved offshore to locations with much lower wages. And nowadays the number of television sets manufactured in the U.S. is zero. A failure? No, a success.”

    And this attitude also seems to be the received wisdom in modern US management. One example among many could be Bossidy & Charam’s “Execution” which is an excellent management book but at the same time being completely blind to the national interest. For example it says:

    P196 “Do we have people who know how to source? Do we have people who can run a supply chain that extends worldwide?”

    P197 “The short and medium term milestones were to develop programs to move to low-cost manufacturing locations .”

    P247 “We also had a program to promote sales of high tech globally, using China as a low cost supply base.”

    P250 “Or maybe you wanted to shut down a plant this year and transfer production to a lower cost country.”

    It’s all in line with Jack Welch’s 70/70/70 rule (70% of research and development should be outsourced, 70% of that should be outsourced offshore, 70% should be outsourced overseas and sent to India)

    And Paul Streitz tells the same story in his excellent book “America First” :

    “Combine all this with mobile capital and technology and the quote of Gilbert Williamson, president of NCR could sum up the views of many corporate leaders, “I was asked the other day about U.S. competitiveness, and I replied that I don’t think about it at all. We at NCR think of ourselves as a globally competitive company that happens to be headquartered in the United States”.”

    “Or Brian Valentine, a senior vice-president at Microsoft, Nº2 in the Windows development unit, urging managers to, “pick something to move offshore today.” In India you can get, “quality work at 50% to 60% of the cost. That’s two heads for the price of one.”

    Grove’s very worthwhile conclusion was the following:

    “The first task is to rebuild our industrial commons. We should develop a system of financial incentives: Levy an extra tax on the product of off-shored labor. (If the result is a trade war, treat it like other wars—fight to win.) Keep that money separate. Deposit it in the coffers of what we might call the Scaling Bank of the U.S. and make these sums available to companies that will scale their American operations. Such a system would be a daily reminder that while pursuing our company goals, all of us in business have a responsibility to maintain the industrial base on which we depend and the society whose adaptability—and stability—we may have taken for granted.”
    Original article:

  123. @macilrae

    Very early on, before any other company, Cree -an LED maker in North Carolina- mapped that
    1) LEDs were a nice business to be in, but lighting is the money-maker; and
    2) although you can synthesize white-light from combined colors (still done) it cannot ever be as simply, cheaply, and practically as . . .
    3) the creation of white-light from florescence, a process where a higher energy wavelength like blue-violet or ultraviolet excites another material that gives of a white spectrum of light.

    Cree then put most of their R&D into finding and creating a shorter wavelength LEDs. Although most LED business was and still is overseas, Cree put their R&D into finding and creating a shorter wavelength LED and forged the path to white LEDs. The company still leads in high-power LEDs and also has a portfolio of high-power semiconductors.

    This is just one example I know of. If you look, you will find many, many other markets that are not “dead and gone” as so many claim. From steel production to clothing, there is still a nucleus in the US that can spark larger enterprises if our country cares to have them here.

    • Agree: Philip Owen
    • Replies: @OutWest
  124. @Anon

    The whole movement towards open borders and free trade (which started in the mid 60s) was based in part by a hazy belief that immigrants and foreign exporters would fall in love with Americanism and spread it.

  125. map says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    It will be very easy to do. It starts with tariffs large enough to make the value of going overseas not worth the effort.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  126. @map

    The same tariffs reduce living standards for the whole population but only benefit the increasingly small proportion (productivity rises and rises) that works in manufacturing. 11% of the workforce in the UK, less in the US I believe. Tariffs reduce trade and thus prosperity. The 89% will notice. The way forward is to accelerate innovation.

    • Replies: @map
  127. OutWest says:

    The U.S. has niche markets that (maybe) could grow. We make scientific instruments that have become near sole sourced in China by the competition. However, there’s some demand from U.S. customers that incorporate, for instance, a high resolution balance in their product. They recognize what they’re getting. But we have no chance at mainstream distribution.

    Also, we push the performance boundaries, i.e. we’re offering a highly specialized (expensive) device that measures light power/energy –mostly laser- as a function of the force developed by the light bouncing off a mirror. Actually sold several and have people coming from Europe and Japan to see us. Sort of an answer looking for the question. But we’ll make it in the U.S.

  128. Anonymous [AKA "PantherX"] says:

    First establish fifty state banks, so that the states can refinance all of their debt at lower rate, like the state of North Dakota does. It only takes 12 million dollars to financially start a bank, which then can use the fractional reserve laws to increase the amount of money. Each state would save billions, by paying off loans or bonds earlier and simply pay off the loans to the state owned bank. (Probably save taxpayers 500 billion)

    Trump could order the treasury department to coin money that is create or print money with approval by congress, as per the constitution which only gives the treasury the right to print money. A trillion dollars for infrastructure wouldn’t be inflationary if it adds to the productivity of the country. He could also audit the Federal Reserve tomorrow because it is actually nine private banks. The government doesn’t need permission to audit a private company, and conversely if the fed is public it doesn’t permission.

    Renegotiating trade deals with China and Mexico should be based on advanced knowledge of what is needed, more like swapping corn and bread for beef. President Trump could also order all government acquisitions to be one hundred percent American made, such as uniforms, food, trucks etc. for every branch of the defense, national facility.

  129. Che Guava says:

    I have read much about that proclamation now, it may have given impetus towards the revolution, but you may have put your comment better: it was opposed to, not supporting an Atlantic-to-Pacific empire, let alone hemispheric (as in the Monroe doctrine). It was easy to read your post as that being the opposite of what it was.

    Again, thanks for the education.

    I had known the British had imposed limits, knew the rough boundaries, but not the basis.

    Will look into the two historic figures, the one I heard of but never thought about, and the other I never heard of, next week. Don’t think they will require a reply, but I am sure they will be interesting.


  130. Che Guava says:

    BTW, never from Wikipedia in any topic, unless tech, and can’t finding any other explanation.

    • Replies: @Anon
  131. Anonymous [AKA "JoeBagodonuts"] says: • Website

    The author is apparently not very optimistic about Americas ability to do things and come hell or high water, in the end, find away to get done what we set out to do. All you have to do is look at the history of the United States and that will give you all the proof you need.

    I used to work in industry in the sixties and seventies and one thing I can say from experience is that the captains of our industry were always gracious and accommodating to foreign countries like China and Japan. I remember standing there working and watching tour after tour of them going through the plant and heard over and over from many of my neighbors who worked else where, the same story and these tours had their cameras clicking and flash bulbs popping and took and hoarded any information they could about the products being produced. I’ll never forget standing there wondering why in the hell are the companies letting them do that. Well, history speaks for itself not only our companies going off shore but these other countries starting up their own industries with our info and now we pay the price. America seemingly always finds away to bounce back through it’s melting pot of people and I just don’t picture it not happening again. Let’s be a little more optimistic. The cup is half full, now, let’s fill it to the top and over.

  132. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Che Guava

    What exactly do you mean? I don’t cite Wikipedia anywhere I was aware of. My history above is mostly from Bailey’s American Pageant, with other half-remembered sources read long ago. I can cite him directly for sea-to-sea grants, Mad Anthony Wayne, Canada, and Genet. I can’t cite him for “widely regarded”; that was an impression of mine, nor for Tom Paine, but I can dig up Tom Paine’s writings, these not being hard to find.

    Why the exception for tech?


  133. map says:
    @Philip Owen


    No, they won’t, because prices are already maximized at the retail level without affecting demand. Tariffs will simply eat into corporate margins.

  134. @utu

    The Tsarist regime was not too soft, nor did criticisms from the West mean that much in those days. The regime fell because Russia entered a disastrous war and was losing it, which created massive discontent on the home front, especially on the heels of the shameful defeat against Japan a decade earlier. The larger reason the regime fell is because during his rule Nicholas had managed to alienate the manufacturing and business elites, the sort of people who were pillars of support for the monarchy in the UK or Germany. I feel sorry for Nicholas II, but the man was a fool.

  135. OutWest says:

    There may be others, but Teddy R is the only avowed old style U.S. empiricist that comes to mind. The baggage of empire is too burdensome.

  136. bluedog says:
    @Dan Hayes

    True indeed and if Reagan had gone along with David Stockman his budget director who wanted to change Fanny and Freddie from a GSP program and force them to go to the street to get their money the melt down would never have happened, but the house republicans started to whine and cry that would hurt business so we got what we got a large mortgage bubble that blew up wiping out trillions in the process…

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  137. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Philip Owen

    VAT helps exports. To the extent that tax raised by VAT replaces taxes on the producers.

    The problem is that the US system uses payroll taxes instead of VAT. And unlike most export oriented countries, employers pay health care costs through private insurance.

    VAT only works to the extent that the consumption tax replaces a tax on labor. Either direct or indirectly (like health care costs).

    VATs also tax consumption, so they are harder to evade through a cash economy. The US is one of a handful of countries where people actually directly pay taxes (income taxes).
    We actually export lots of stuff and aren’t in a position to go nuclear in trade. On the other hand, we can do better deals. In theory the easiest would be to remove the tax burden on exports. But messing with tax policy is bloody.

    In contrast, immigration laws can be enforced by executive action. And buttressed by legislation by a republican congress. You don’t have to make a deal with another government.

    So, yes. I am with you Phillip.

  138. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Manufacturing is too big to easily generalize about.

    I would segment it based on the salaries it would support. For example, most textile manufacturing is gone. Do we really want it back.

    Norma Rae’s job went to China and then to Bangladesh. Meanwhile, we still make carpeting. Its done in massive, highly automated plants in Georgia (for example) — with a few hundred thousand in capital equipment per employee. Even then, its never going to be like the mythical ‘golden age’ UAW job of the 1950’s. It’s not like they employ thousands in semi skilled, undifferentiated factory wage jobs. They have warehouse type jobs all the way through engineering positions. It’s all good.

    It’s heavy stuff (advantage to manufacture here). It uses petrochemical inputs (advantage US). There is a lot of automation.

    This stuff is still in the US, despite all the disadvantages of higher costs (labor, regulation, safety, etc).

    Meanwhile, we export a lot of high tech stuff that isn’t all that labor intensive. Aircraft engines, for example. Boeing exports about $70 billion/year. So China exports all the cheap consumer crap in Walmart, but the world imports our aircraft and aircraft engines. The structure of our trade is favorable. That is, exporting higher value, higher tech, etc and importing low tech junk. There is entire libraries of books in development economics — all of which are addressing the attempt of countries to ‘move up the value chain’ instead of exporting commodities and importing higher value stuff.

    So, I guess the State of Washington thinks trade is free and fair. Maybe the deep blue state needs some ‘splaining’ from Trump. And maybe they already got it.

    What can be done? There are industries where we are being hurt by China subsidizing coal, for example — for cheap energy inputs. It’s wrong on every level. Bad economics and bad for the environment. Example? Look at nitrogen fertilizer.

  139. TwistTie says:

    Today was national peace officers Memorial Day. I watched President Trump give a tremendous speech honoring the fallen and supporting law enforcement . To have a president who now supports these brave men and women after 8 years of that degenerate Marxist Barry Hussein obomgo was glorious. Many of those officers are dead BECAUSE of Obongo. Voted for Trump in 2016 and will absolutely do it again in 2020. There are a group of bungling lefty monkeys running on the democRAT side so Trump should crush them handily. #Trumpslide2020! MAGA!

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