You may be wondering how this story is relevant to the topics addressed on this blog. I just thought it was a good opportunity to make a point. Our politicians on both sides of the aisle have often proclaimed that what America’s economy needs is more entrepreneurs and innovators, and more than one has held up the example of Steve Jobs. No doubt, Steve Jobs was an incredibly successful and creative individual.
In spite of that, where are all of Apple’s products made? I will freely admit that I don’t know the answer to that question, since I haven’t gone to the Apple store and inspected their packages, but I’d be willing to bet that not a single product is made in the U.S. I do know that my wife’s Mac Book was made in China.
This isn’t unusual. Name any new product that has been introduced in the last 50 years, and you’ll find that that product was created by a U.S. company. But the vast majority are imported today. The net result is that all of this innovation has done virtually nothing for our economy.
Politicians are also fond of proclaiming that we need our universities to turn out more engineers. Why? Where have all the engineers gone? To the unemployment lines. We don’t need more until we put the ones we have back to work. Too much government spending? Cut spending on education. What’s the point, anyway? You don’t need a degree in engineering to fill out an unemployment application. High school drop-outs can do as much.
The point here is that it’s not a shortage of people like Steve Jobs or engineers that lies at the root of our economic problems. It’s trade policy that gives away their innovations to become manufacturing jobs in other countries.