I’ve been reading and hearing a lot lately about how we should be bringing manufacturing of high-tech products back to America.
Might be a good idea—if anyone can correct the reason it left in the first place.
Ostensibly, America de-industrialized because we were going to become the world’s leader in information technology and didn’t need to build hard goods … plus, other people could build things more efficiently (and less costly) than we could—or can.
So now … do we even have the technical capabilities in America to build the modern facilities, equipment, and production processes required to manufacture high-tech products?
We no longer produce the engineers necessary to support industrialization in the U.S. Even places like Silicon Valley now rely heavily on foreign-born nationals, or outsourcing, for technical development work.
Creativity and innovation in America has dropped continuously since 1990, and continues to drop. (Yes, it can be measured, and I will write about that in a future post.)
For instance: What really great achievement has anyone in the U.S. provided in the last few decades? Even President Obama, in a recent speech, lamented the fact that no one is building “Golden Gate bridges” any more.
Could America even do that today?
Here’s what I mean—let’s compare the Empire State building to the One World Trade Center building:
- The Empire State building has 102 floors.
- The One World Trade Center building has 104 floors.
- The Empire State building is 1,250 ft high (roof top).
- The One World Trade Center building is 1,368 ft. high (roof top).
- The construction drawings for the Empire State building were completed in 2 weeks.
- Designs for the One World Trade Center building took several years before construction actually started.
- It took just 419 days to construct the Empire State building—from start of construction to opening ceremonies.
- The One World Trade Center building had it’s first concrete pour in November, 2006, and completion is estimated to be in late 2013—7 YEARS.
- The Empire State building cost $372.8 Million (2012 dollars) to build.
- The One World Trade Center building is now estimated to cost $3.8 Billion (as of Jan. 2012—final cost will likely be more).
One thing to remember: The Empire State building was started in 1930 when there were no computers, no cell phones, no twitter, no facebook, no TV, no texting, and on and on.
The building was constructed on the strength of engineering minds that were not distracted by all the so-called technological “improvements” of today.
Are there any people around now who could pull off the accomplishments of the folks who built the Empire State building…or the Golden Gate bridge…or the Interstate Highway System, or……..?
In our haste to de-industrialize, America has destroyed not only its manufacturing infrastructure, but several generations of people who could operate the manufacturing industrial complex.
If America wants to reindustrialize, we will have to bring foreign talent onto our shores along with the factories.
What do you think? How can America reindustrialize? Or can we?