A group called “Before It’s News” recently provided a heavily hyperlinked article with the unwieldy title, “Is America in Decline? 24 Statistics About the United States Economy That Are Almost Too Embarrassing to Admit.” Here’s a sample from the middle:
#6 One prominent economist now says that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.
#7 According to a new study conducted by Thompson Reuters, China could become the global leader in patent filings by next year.
#8 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001. Approximately 75 percent of those factories employed at least 500 workers while they were still in operation.
#9 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.
#10 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.
#11 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of all U.S. economic output. In 2008, it represented only 11.5 percent.
The rest of their list is similarly appalling. In short, the U.S. needs to return to being a manufacturing nation, one that produces things. This goal would, of course, require some deregulation to make the U.S. more attractive for companies than outsourcing is, as well as a commitment to community on the part of those who must balance profit with other corporate goals. Ideally, this would, in the long run, include more employee ownership (cough, cough, Distributism, cough, cough) than we have in today’s economy.
On that note, mini-kudos to G.M. for deciding today to set aside at least 5% of its common shares for its employees, dealers, and retirees. On the one hand, Good for them! That kind of employee-ownership is exactly what we need more of. But, by the same token–5%? Only 5%?