Something has gone radically wrong with the American economy. A once-robust system of "traditional engineering" -- the invention, design, and manufacture of products -- has been replaced by financial engineering. Without a vibrant manufacturing sector, Wall Street created money it did not have and Americans spent money they did not have.Much of this has happened as a a result of the separate educations of the head and hand. We teach to the test, avoiding hands-on learning, thus sheltering the wealthy class from an understanding of the processes and dignity of human productivity, while isolating the poor from the power to create. The Reagan idea of "trickle down economics" implied that when the rich have lots of money and are protected from taxation, their dollars will be invested in putting people to work. But what if the investor class has no idea of work? You guessed it. They will only invest in financial schemes they think they understand. Human creativity is not one of those.
Americans stopped making the products they continued to buy: clothing, computers, consumer electronics, flat-screen TVs, household items, and millions of automobiles.
America's economic elite has long argued that the country does not need an industrial base. The economies in states such as California and Michigan that have lost their industrial base, however, belie that claim.
And so we have allowed our manufacturing sector to become uncompetitive and have rationalized its failure as a sign of our success. Talk about being a nation of idiots! As long as the financial sector was getting its cut off the top, who cared where the products came from or who made them? Who needs American manufacturing when the rich can feed their pockets from a small cut from the steady stream of flat screen TV's and other consumer products from China?
There is a slight loneliness in being a maker in America. Mine may be a lonely voice at times. But the joy of personal creativity is indescribable. We each are empowered to make necessary change. Take a kid to the wood shop. No kid? Make something. With practice you can make things to sell. Selling a few things, you will have helped to restore the economy.