Ask More of Business

Asking More Commentary: Perspectives from Mendoza College of Business

Commentary Post - Jeffrey H. Bergstrand

Nostalgia for factory jobs that will never come back

February 17, 2012

If there is a central public sentiment about economics prevailing in America right now, it seems to be this: We want to go back to our manufacturing roots.

The heyday of manufacturing, the block-long plants that produce not just tangible goods, but big, heavy ones like cars, gave us economic stability once; it can do it again.

On Wednesday, President Obama spoke at the Master Lock factory in Milwaukee and said, "What's happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. What happens in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh and Milwaukee, that's what we've got to be shooting for, is to create opportunities for hardworking Americans to get in there and start making stuff again and sending it all over the world -- products stamped with three proud words: Made in America."

But as with most nostalgic visions, this one doesn't reflect economic realities.

Read the entire essay at CNN.com.