Stuart A. Rosenfeld presents a timely analysis of the problems the United States and other industrialized countries face as they adjust from economies based on natural resources and goods to economies based on quality of human resources and high-performance, market-oriented organizations. Some of the questions raised include: Will American industry successfully face the competitive challenge of the global economy? Can US manufacturing raise productivity and innovate enough to remain healthy? Have the latest advances in process technology and management practice penetrated the rural industrial base? How can public policy help improve the competitiveness of the crucial manufacturing sector?
This book challenges the conventional wisdom in economic development policy. Past state and local industrial policy focused on locational decisions, not on issues of competitiveness. Building the competitive advantage of industry is more important than promoting the competitive advantages of location. Incentives to modernize are more important than subsidies to locate.
Competitive Manufacturing uses the rural South, the most industrialized rural region of the nation, to examine the strengths and weaknesses of manufacturing as the basis for economic growth. Using historical analysis, surveys, and intensive case studies, the author analyzes the technological capabilities of rural manufacturing, the factors that influence the decision to modernize, and the effects of technology on education and work. Comparative studies in Denmark and Italy point to new directions for US economic development policy.