The U.S. Must Manufacture to Innovate

The U.S. Must Manufacture to Innovate — And Provide Jobs – Is the U.S. Killing Its Innovation Machine? – Harvard Business Review.

I thought this article was very good, but one point of the argument I just can’t agree with–“we must leave borders open to bring in human resources.”  I’ve heard this argument in many forums, and I always have the same core question.  Why not train an American?

I’ve argued in the past, and still believe, immigration reform must be connected with the employment levels within the country.  In periods of low employment (say 5% or lower) the country should be importing people to address labor shortages.  However, with periods of high unemployment, it makes no sense for the government to encourage the importation of labor, the answer must be train the citizens.

This article also quotes an interesting statistic, 47% foreign born Phds.  Really.  The underlying question that’s not addressed, why aren’t more Americans obtaining Phds?   Answer that one and we will have uncovered a core problem in this country.

The second argument I have trouble accepting is that competition is good and therefore unconstrained free trade is the ideal.    This is flawed logic, have these people ever encountered the concept of an overdose.  For small countries in particular unconstrained free trade encourages too much specialization, which is in effect a lack of diversification.  Thus the economies would suffer through all of the volatility associated with the one industry.   Unconstrained free trade is simply a bad idea, supported by those who seek to make huge profits off of ever cheaper labor.

These two complaints aside, good article and the core point, must manufacturer in order to innovate–I agree.

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