“America needs an industrial policy” says brooklynbadboy on Daily Kos

January 4, 2011
Jessica DuLong profile photo
Jessica DuLong

My dad is a mechanic specializing in Porsches, and I grew up hearing him rave about the German car maker’s fine craftsmanship and engineering. Could that be part of why I liked brooklynbadboy‘s Daily Kos post “America needs an industrial policy” so much?

After a brief description of the “extraordinary” German factories of watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne and piano maker Steinway (as well as a mention of Porsche’s divine engineering) the blogger goes on to explain Germany’s export success:

Germany’s method of creating wealth is straightforward: 1. Produce a highly educated workforce. 2. Have that workforce create and make advanced, precision things for high wages. 3. Export the things at a high price and then re-invest that money back into item 1. This is why Germany is the Number 2 exporter in the world despite having only 27 percent of America’s population and only 6 percent of Number 1 exporter China.

He then describes the U.S.’s failed 1-2 punch:

This stands in stark contrast to the America’s current policy, which can basically be summed up as: 1. Let the market work by having government not interfere. 2. If the market doesn’t work, give the market a bunch of public debt money.

… and cautions that

If America is going to grow and prosper, it has to make, build and export things around the world in far greater quantity than we do today. The information, finance and consumer economy, as we have seen, do not produce tangible wealth for the middle class. The first step toward making things again is having a government that makes heavy industry a priority over banking.