Vaclav Smil’s books kept showing up on Bill Gates’s reading list, so I decided to give them a try a few years ago and I understand why he is Bill Gates’s favourite.
I’m currently reading Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing and he says the following in the book:
“I wrote this book because I wanted to narrate the great, and a truly nation-building, story of US manufacturing—and because I believe that without the preservation and reinvigoration of manufacturing, the United States has little chance to extricate itself from its current economic problems, meet the challenges posed by other large and globally more competitive nations, and remain a dynamic and innovative society for generations to come.”
The book discusses how the United States became the world’s leading economic power after establishing a firm foothold in the manufacturing sector, and how this leadership is now in jeopardy as American factories lose ground to competitors like China.
When we manufacture things, we add value, which in turn generates economic growth, new employment, and improved living standards.
The emphasis ought to be on making things.