Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Mrs. Buce does not like to be quizzed, but she puts up with it from time to time as the price of a happy marriage.

Flipping through FP Magazine, I asked:

In 1995, the United States' share of global manufacturing was 22.4 percent. In 2005, its share was --- percent.

"I dunno," Mrs. Buce said. "Three?"

Well, fair enough. I too have been inured to believe that our manufacturing output is in catastrophic decline.

But the correct answer, per FP, is 21.1 percent--a drop of less than six percent overall. (see September/October 2007, pps 22 and 94).

But wait, can this be right? Turn the point around--what, if anything, do we manufacture, and who does it? If you read this blog, I suspect that the number of people you know who are "in manufacturing" is about the same as the number who actually fought in Viet Nam.

Automobiles? Sorry. Textiles? Oh, give me a break. Telephone ringtones? Do they count?

After cudgeling our brains, we recalled that we do know two guys in Wisconsin who make false teeth. Seems to me they are carrying a heavy load.


MJH said...

First time commenter. Several month reader.

Airplanes. Despite today being pretty foggy, from my window at work, I can see about $1bil worth of them waiting to be exported. A not-pleasant exercise is to look at the trade deficit with Boeing and without Boeing.

Buce said...

Welcome, MJH, and point taken. I am thinking of having a dinner party for all commenters someday soon. I figure one crockpot ought to do.

So, airplanes, ringtones and false teeth. Hope for us yet.