Calls to Boost U.S. Manufacturing Do Not Ignore the Gains Still to Be Made from Services

April 20, 2011

An article in the April 2, 2011 issue of The Economist, "Cash Machines," argues that “calls to boost manufacturing ignore the gains still to be made from services” and accuses those who call for more attention on policies to boost U.S. manufacturing of being “manufacturing fetishists.” But The Economist perpetuates a false choice. The United States needs both a robust manufacturing sector and a robust services sector—it’s not either/or. Moreover, calls for policies to boost U.S. manufacturing simply recognize manufacturing for what it is: a vital component of the U.S. economy, the preponderant source of U.S. exports, and a major source of well-paying middle class jobs. That U.S. manufacturing has experienced declines over the past decade is not a “natural” or “inevitable” market result, but rather a situation that merits a serious policy response.