Damn Martians!

by Don Boudreaux on April 30, 2011

in Myths and Fallacies, The Economy, Trade

The indispensable Mark Perry offers these data showing that manufacturing’s share of world GDP has declined significantly and steadily since 1970 – from roughly 26.5 percent of world GDP in 1970 to (gasp!) a mere 16.6 percent in 2009.

Recall how some trade skeptics (such as the intellectually flailing Ian Fletcher) – who will (because they must, in order to give their arguments even a patina of plausibility) twist, distort, and misrepresent facts and theories – insist that, even though U.S. manufacturing output has risen in absolute amounts, its decline as a share of U.S. GDP is evidence of economic naughtiness practiced by other countries and, also, a sign of U.S. economic decline.

I wonder how Dr. Fletcher and his like-minded protectionists explain the facts highlighted by Perry regarding manufacturing output as a share of world GDP.  Are aliens from other planets damaging earth’s economy with unfair interplanetary trade practices?  Or is humanity across the entire globe foolishly switching to the production of services out of a collective failure to understand that manufacturing – because only it results in the production of tangible, real, masculine stuff – must not decline as a percentage of world GDP lest we earthlings be cast back into poverty by our short-sighted insistence on consuming and producing too many girly-girl services?


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