MIT is examining manufacturing in America…and although incredibly interesting, the initial presentation is to some degree, dare I say, limiting. MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is once again tackling the challenges of American manufacturing, innovation and economics. The new series is a follow-up to the 1990 book Made in America - Regaining the Productive Edge by Michael L. Dertouzos , Richard K. Lester , MIT Commission on Industrial Productivity. (disclaimer – I have not read the book yet)
The disappointments in the first of a series of presentations lay in the assumptions that Americans have consumed less as incomes have risen, that a standard of living has not dropped in America, and that a large focus was only in highly innovative technologies and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Rob Bloom, who served as Obama’s senior counselor for manufacturing, also stated, ”there are no toys made in America”. Although Mr. Bloom’s comment may have been a bit facetious – I would like to point out that Slinky, K’NEX and Crayola Crayons are just a few great American toys still made in America. What we often focus on as consumers is the less expensive, big branded entertainment toys at mass market that are innovated here and made elsewhere.
Rebuilding the American economy will come from numerous perspectives. It is exciting that the importance of manufacturing in America has taken a center stage. The environmental implications of such a shift will inevitably be an important part of this conversation as well. We will continue to look to thinkers and leaders on this very important topic.