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De-industrialisation III

Listed author(s):
  • Walter Stanners

    (Over, Cambridge, UK)

The author of this note takes it as self evident that prosperity and the provision of "things" (buildings, roads, furniture, furnishings, clothes, machines and equipment of all sorts) go together. The way people generally speak and act is in line with this view. If this is so, domestic manufacturing must continually keep pace with gross domestic product, provided that the necessary "things" are not imported from elsewhere. However, many people are persuaded that domestic manufacturing is in terminal decline, and that the lost output is being replaced by imports from the developing world. Almost daily, one may read of manufacturing jobs being "exported" to the Far East. However, it is simply impossible to import goods without a more or less balancing volume of exports, and there is in reality limited scope for exporting a sufficient volume of services. Imports of goods must more or less be balanced by the export of domestically produced goods. How can a widespread perception of decline be reconciled with a reality of growth? The answer is that the "decline" which is perceived is a decline in employment in the industrial sector, but this decline is more than counterbalanced by the rise of productivity, so that the domestic output of goods by and large keeps pace with the growth of GDP. This note summarises the statistical evidence for the accuracy of this view. A substantial footnote discusses the role of journalists and academics in sustaining the perception of the decline of manufacturing.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0212003.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 13 Dec 2002
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0212003
Note: Type of Document - HTML; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on Lexmark; pages: 17 ; figures: 7 gif images
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