Production in the Innovation Economy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

American Made?

Ron Bloom

In 1950, more than 30 percent of Americans were employed in manufacturing, working at jobs such as welding, machining and assembly. Today, that number has shrunk significantly: Manufacturing jobs make up less than 10 percent of the U.S. workforce. As the country seeks to reinvigorate its job market and move past an economic recession, the state of U.S. manufacturing has become a hotly debated topic.

To examine manufacturing’s role in economic recovery, students, faculty and representatives of MIT’s corporate partners gathered Thursday afternoon in MIT’s Wong Auditorium for a forum on “Rebuilding the American Economy.” The event was sponsored by the Department of Political Science and by Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE), a new MIT initiative that seeks to analyze the relationship between innovation, production and job creation. Throughout the forum, participants sought answers to a pervasive question: Can the United States keep its innovative edge if it loses its production capabilities?

MIT President Susan Hockfield opened the forum by harkening back to a similar period of economic malaise in the mid-19th century — when, as it turns out, the country was on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution. At the time, MIT founder William Barton Rogers “lamented” the citizenry’s lack of scientific expertise, founding MIT, in part, to cultivate a new generation of scientists and engineers who would develop innovative materials and manufacturing processes. read full article

Excerpted from MIT News Office article written by Jennifer Chu

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The Political Science Distinguished Speaker Series is designed to bring together faculty, students, local business leaders, state economic officials, and, most importantly, MIT technology and policy thinkers. The emphasis for the inaugural series, co-hosted by Political Science Department and the newly commissioned Production in the Innovative Economy (PIE) group, is "Rebuilding the American Economy."