Every January, the global automobile industry gathers in the Motor City for the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). In a celebration of ingenuity, companies display futuristic concept cars, present cutting-edge technologies, and promote their latest offerings.
“I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be…have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple. Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.”
Changes are underway which could substantially diminish the relevance of export-led development strategies for countries in East Asia.
The global production of goods can be charted by each stage at which activity occurs and value is added. The great news is that Americans excel at the activities on the production curve that require the most creativity and know-how, and that generate the most profit.
Most products today are the result of creative, physical, and intellectual efforts by people in different roles across the globe—they are designed in one country, their materials are procured in another, their components may be made and assembled somewhere else. Their “Made in…” labels only tell us the country where that product last underwent some significant change or “substantial transformation”. That’s just a snapshot of one stop on their journey
American workers are increasingly anxious about robots and automation replacing them in their jobs. The underlying dynamic is that jobs are changing because of automation, not disappearing. That’s not a concern in and of itself. The concern is that not everyone is on good footing to adjust.
U.S. manufacturers will create more than 3 million job openings over the next decade – but two million of these future jobs could go unfilled. “If we’re not able to ensure a skilled workforce and a steady supply of skilled workers for manufacturers in this country, then [companies will] either go out of business or be forced to look elsewhere.” – Gardner Carrick of the Manufacturing Institute
Pull into a camp ground and you’ll find tremendous variety among recreational vehicles (RVs) parked there. Around eighty percent of them were made Elkhart County, Indiana. Today, less than 10 percent of U.S. RV production is exported, but the industry is finding opportunity in some surprising new markets including China, the United Arab Emirates, Korea and Thailand.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is usually measured in the millions, billions, and trillions. In this Cambodian shoe factory, the value to workers and their community can be measured every 374.41 seconds.
The marriage of the physical and digital worlds has unlocked limitless economic opportunities, providing a boost to productivity and propelling us into the next industrial revolution. Policymakers will need to work to keep up by removing trade barriers that could limit the global reach of the Internet of Things.