Christina Romer: Manufacturing Isn’t Special

The jobs of the future.

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For those who’ve been unconvinced by my own arguments against the need for special manufacturing-promotion policies, let me recommend Christina Romer’s recent column on the subject. As she says, to fight mass unemployment we need to boost demand. To fight inequality, we need progressive taxation and improved education. I would have added that we could use superior policy in the realms of immigration, patent and intellectual property law, and financial regulation. I think it is overwhelmingly likely that if we did some or all of those things, that the number of manufacturing workers would in fact increase over the short-term. But a dedicated effort to specifically boost manufacturing is neither necessary nor sufficient.