They say that manufacturing is going away and that is a crisis. Manufacturing jobs can be pretty good jobs or they can be the hottest, loudest, dirtiest, most unpleasant jobs. I worked in the family company as a machinist when I was young. While it paid well for an 18 year old with no experience and a limited education it was hot, loud and dirty. A few years back my wife (for family reasons) took an entry level service industry job. But it still pays pretty well for an entry level job and it is cleaner, quieter and in a far more pleasant environment than most entry level manufacturing jobs. But service jobs are “bad” and manufacturing jobs are “good”.
Or maybe it is the loss of manufacturing jobs as a whole that is bad.
Later I worked in sales and management for our family business. It sold equipment to industrial companies so I was on the front line of the beginning of the collapse of the industrial economy in this country. We lost a lot of money. It wasn’t pretty and we should surely be among the people who are bitter over the shift from an industrial economy. We should certainly believe that a shift from an industrial economy is a crisis.
But before America led the world in the industrial revolution the world economy was agrarian. When everyone was a farmer the industrial revolution was scary also. All those farmers couldn’t figure out how we weren’t going to starve to death when we gave up the farms and started building and selling widgets to each other. A move from an industrial to an information based economy is just as scary and hopefully it will be just as successful.
I lost a lot of money when the industrial economy started going down but eventually saw where things were going and shifted my career. I had to start over to some degree but am now doing very well (better than I was in upper management in manufacturing) and having a great time (coming up with information based solutions is more challenging and more fun that coming up with physical solutions). Hopefully the change from Industrial Economy to an Information based Economy will mimic the success of the change from Agrarian to Industrial…though change is always scary.