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Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance by Willy Shih, Gary Pisano

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Prologue: Does America Need Manufacturing?

In 1950, manufacturing represented 27 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP) and employed 31 percent of the American workforce. By 2010, manufacturing was only 12 percent of GDP and employed 9 percent of the workforce.1 Should this trend worry Americans? That is the focal question of this book.

The question “Does manufacturing matter?” is not a new one. In the 1980s, books such as Restoring Our Competitive Edge (by our Harvard colleagues Robert Hayes and Steven Wheelwright) and Manufacturing Matters (by Berkeley’s John Zysman and Stephen Cohen) argued that allowing manufacturing capabilities to erode would be hazardous to a country’s economic health. With the Internet boom of the 1990s and Japan’s ...

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