Sunday, July 20, 2014

USA Shoemaking

The Wall Street Journal had an article in their Marketplace section on Monday (July 14) about how shoemaking is getting a "foothold" in the US (get it?).  There might be a paywall and therefore a dead link, but the gist of it is that Merchant House International, who was part of the movement to offshore the US industry to Asian countries, is starting to shift some of its manufacturing back to the states.  Shoe manufacturing in the US accounts for about 2% of a 1.7 billion dollar market.  Why move back to the US?  A demoralized workforce ready to accept lower wages?  More right to work states ready to give manufacturers a huge break shouldered by American workers?  A little bit of this and many more reasons?  I'm skeptical that this shift benefits Americans even at the same time that I'm glad some shoe manufacturing is being re-developed - maybe Converse will come back and I can buy a new pair of Chucks and not feel like a traitor.

More than this, though, I feel like we should probably shift our focus towards technology manufacturing - don't get me wrong, Americans still need shoes, but we could be targeting manufacturing concerns that require skilled American workers who have a chance of elevating themselves to the middle class because the pay is better.

And, more than even this, I need more coffee.

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