Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tom Friedman Never Gives Up On A Good Fairy Tale

Tom Friedman tells us that US manufacturing jobs have been reduced by productivity gains. He also tells us that our future jobs will come from places like Silicon Valley, Austin Texas and the Research Triangle in North Carolina. He then proposes that the president runs his election campaign on the premise that these centers will create the jobs of he future. I guess this is another version of the story that he invented in The World Is Flat. He never gives up on a best seller. Almost everyone of his op-eds in the NYT makes the same claims about the future in a flat world. The only problem with his story is that it is a story unsupported by facts. Increased productivity in manufacturing is not the primary reason why jobs have been lost in manufacturing. The plants have gone away to another part of Friedman's flat earth. High tech giants like Apple in Silicon Valley employ one American for every 10 workers that are involved in its supply chain.

It is understandable why Friedman repeats his flat earth story. It provides a more attractive version of the future than the real story that is provided by the data that is discussed in the post that follows. That story will never be a best seller.

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