In the words of German economist Friedrich List who stressed the imperative need of maintaining production and manufacturing as the backbone of a productive national economy: “The causes of wealth are something totally different from wealth itself. . . The power of producing wealth is therefore infinitely more important than wealth itself; it insures not only the possession and the increase of what has been gained, but also the replacement of what has been lost.” List, like the first American Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, didn’t regard the postulate of comparative advantage as some ideological imperative upon which to sacrifice a nation’s political economy. David Ricardo’s comparative advantage concept held that a slight price difference at a given point in time was considered sufficient cause to abandon an entire field of production and its future development in favor of imports under the notion a foreign manufacturer is better suited towards its production. List rejected this notion asking “Who would be consoled for the loss of an arm by the knowledge that he had nevertheless been able to buy his shirts forty percent cheaper?” He thus drew the vital distinction between consumption and production; between the use of wealth and the creation of wealth. In the long run, “The power of producing wealth is infinitely more important than wealth itself,” he argued. Manufacturing and making things are thus a powerful basis of building national wealth.
Unfortunately in the United States as CNSNews reports, “According to the BLS data, seasonally-adjusted manufacturing employment in the United States peaked in June 1979, when it hit 19,553,000. Seasonally-adjusted government employment peaked in May 2010, when it hit 22,996,000.” Having government employment outnumber productive manufacturing labor while paying the highest wages are a bad omen for any nation’s future whether in France, New Zealand, or the United States. As economists Stephen S. Cohen and John Zysman argued in their classic book Manufacturing Matters:
America must control the production of those high-tech products it invents and designs—and it must do so in a direct and hands-on way. . . First, production is where the lion’s share of the value added is realized. . . This is where the returns needed to finance the next round of research and development are generated. Second and most important, unless [research and development] is tightly tied to manufacturing of the product. . . R&D will fall behind the cutting edge of incremental innovation…High tech gravitates to the state-of-the-art producers.
All of the specious notions that we can evolve into a high-tech service economy without a strong manufacturing base contradict our historical experience as a nation. The Japanese like the Red Chinese consciously devour the productive fruits of our independent houses of research and development emanating from the Santa Clara Valley of California, Seattle, Boston, Raleigh-Durham, and other bastions of the American hi-tech economy whether by acquisition or espionage. Our nation’s chief competitors recognize strategic control of R&D is intimately wrapped up in the strength of a nation’s manufacturing base, and invest accordingly. Our leading aerospace and defense industries have been rendered vulnerable, sacrificing our nation’s strategic advantage in order to participate and invest in Chinese markets. Their tactics in pursuit of globalist goals have compromised our national security and extended the logistics of distribution for military armaments vital to our nation’s defense into the very cradle of our nation’s number one enemy Red China. Do we honestly think we can rely on China to replace the electronic components of our naval ships and fighter-jets when we’re in a protracted war with them? Should we act surprised when these electronics fail during a hot war because of sabotage?
In the Age of Globalization, Pandemic Viruses, and totalitarian trade titans like Red China engaging in asymmetrical economic warfare by currency manipulation, we’re confronting a reality that the worldview of Patrick J. Buchanan and Donald J. Trump—one of nationalism, populism, industrial policy, defensible borders, and strategic independence—was right from the beginning.