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America Has Not Deindustrialized

Here’s a letter to Reason:


Stephanie Slade masterfully defends classical liberalism and free-market conservatism from the fusion of confusion with authoritarianism that is national conservatism (“The Rise of Right-Progressivism,” June 2023). But she mistakenly concedes to the NatCons their claim that America has deindustrialized.

Despite incessant assertions to the contrary, America emphatically has not deindustrialized.

Industrial capacity in the United States rose steadily over the past several decades and hit an all-time high in December 2016. Despite covid, it has stayed quite close to that level ever since. Today (April 2023) it is only one percent lower than its all-time high. Not surprisingly, therefore, American industrial production has also risen steadily over the past few decades, hitting an all-time high in September 2018. Although falling a bit during covid, it has recovered nicely; today it, too, is only one percent off of its all-time high.

Like progressives – their close cousins – NatCons are not only allergic to the economic way of thinking, they are also ignorant of basic economic facts.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030