Friday, August 12, 2011

Manufacturing Mesofacts

The Rust Belt is dead! Long live the Rust Belt! Despite a deluge of positive press over the last few years, Pittsburgh's lousy reputation remains stubbornly in place. The latest reinforcement of the mesofacts:

The future of manufacturing in America may look completely different from the way you imagine it. As President Obama toured the country earlier this year, sharing his vision for bringing back high-paying manufacturing jobs to America, one might think the same manufacturing jobs that were sent offshore to low-cost destinations such as China, would soon be returning to places like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit.

Instead, the new manufacturing hubs may be places like San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham, Austin and New York — vibrant tech hubs where young, creative individuals have access to cutting-edge technologies in fields ranging from robotics to nanotechnology. With new 3D printing technologies on the way, it may soon be possible to print anything you can imagine. As a result, the manufacturing companies of the future are more likely to be virtual, just-in-time collectives quickly assembled to plan, create and manufacture a product for a very specific market niche. In other words, say “good-bye” to the huge conglomerates and industrial titans.

Pittsburgh is a "vibrant tech [hub] where young, creative individuals have access to cutting-edge technologies in fields ranging from robotics to nanotechnology." In fact, Pittsburgh is a leader in such things. You might say the region wrote the book on the new wave of manufacturing.

Someone writing for the Washington Post should know better. However, journalists rely heavily upon geographic stereotypes and clichés when crafting a story. The mountain of revitalization just got that much steeper and higher.


Andy said...

I had the same reaction the other day when I heard Michele Norris on All Things Considered say Detroit was "haemorrhaging young people." Uh, Michele, if you'd been there sometime within the past decade you'd know young people (at least 20-somethings) are the only age group the city ISN'T haemorrhaging. The degree to which journalists "rely heavily upon stereotypes and clichés" explains much of the state of discourse in our country.

rootvg said...

The only young folks who aren't leaving that area are those who generally can't. They don't have college degrees or they have family in the area who also can't leave. That trend started twenty years ago and has only accelerated since and it's because the people who control that region don't want change.