Sept 8 Current Mfg

Sept 8 Current Mfg - 1 September 8 Manufacturing in the...

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September 8 Manufacturing in the 21 st Century Review: community impact of mfg support for schools and direct subsidy of specialized industrial schools shippers’ pools for favorable freight rates united front against labor activism Review: patterns of economic/industrial development Development (R&D) is integral to industrialization but also a distinctively urban process because it depends on cross-fertilization of ideas. Often seems based on the unexpected encounter, the unanticipated question. There is a degree of unstructured communication connected with development work when we see it this way. There are patterns of urban economic development based on types of industries and their growth patterns. Large, capital-intensive, single- product manufacturing can be less flexible in adjusting to new markets, new technology, new opportunities. Urban complexes of diverse manufacturing are not efficient in terms of economic outputs 1
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per input, but they might be more adaptable and durable. No denying the economic power of large center firms, the firms that dominate their respective markets or sectors (Microsoft, DuPont, formerly GM but future not so bright there it seems). And there is no black and white contrast between large enterprises that are dominant in their markets and the networks of subcontractors and specialty producers such as Jacobs saw in Birmingham. Example: autos in Detroit. Despite River Rouge and other massive auto plants, parts suppliers still employed as many workers as the big auto firms at the height of US production: stamping plants making one trim piece, upholstery manufacturers providing fabric for seat covers, spark-plug manufacturers, etc. FACTORS ACCOUNTING FOR INDUSTRIAL DECLINE IN US – LATE 20 TH CENTURY 2
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As we saw in the recent debate over federal policy with regard to the auto industry, there is a strong tendency to blame the high cost of labor for a supposed lack of competitiveness and consequently the shrinkage of industrial production in the US. This view is overly simplistic. For one thing, wage-earners and their representatives have not been responsible for strategic blunders and bad decisions on the part of management. For another, there were several structural issues that combined to weaken the position of manufacturing enterprise in the US during the second half of the 20 th century. These issues might have been obscured by beneficial, sort-term circumstances: the uncommon prosperity of the postwar years and the lack of meaningful
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Sept 8 Current Mfg - 1 September 8 Manufacturing in the...

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