The first event in the 2023 Ten Years Hence lecture series Is Globalism Dead on ThinkND featured Harry Moser, Founder of the Reshoring Initiative and Member of the Department of Commerce Investment Advisory Council. In this talk, Moser discussed the United States’ role in globalization, concerns about American business and employment, and broader impacts of onshoring on economic equality, the environment, and more. Following the formal presentation, O’Rourke and Moser answered questions from the student audience.
Moser began the conversation by connecting his forthcoming discussion to his personal experiences, explaining how the rise of imported goods into the United States eliminated the factories and jobs to which his ancestors, including his father and grandfather, dedicated their lives. Referencing the historical research of Ray Dalio, Moser observed the rise and fall of great economic empires and provided evidence suggesting the current decline of the United States that will soon be replaced by China as the leader of the world order. The United States no longer prioritizes competition, low manufacturing costs, and innovation, leading companies to offshore labor and production in order to prioritize price. The U.S. has a trade surplus — more imports than exports– and produces raw materials and commodities, aligning more with the character of a developing country than a global economic leader. Additionally, the United States invests less on boosting productivity and instead continues to accrue debts and trillion dollar deficits, condemning the nation to a declining role in world trade. However, despite these concerns internally within the United States, China’s position as global leader is not certain given their declining supply of labor, increasing wage rates, and aging population.
Moser emphasized that hoping for China’s economy to stall is not a sufficient solution to the decline of the United States. Instead, he recommended reshoring as a means to target the economy’s lack of competitiveness, productivity, and income growth to bring more equality to the hollowed-out middle class and more opportunities for employees in all sectors. Additionally, reshoring manufacturing will have positive effects on the environment and thus the future of climate-based business processes. Localization and/or nearshoring operations will resolve the losses made in past decades by outsourcing many aspects of production.
Being economically self-sufficient, or simply more independent that it currently is, will help the United States avoid disruptions that can be damaging to both workers and consumers. Natural disasters, governmental crises, etc. can limit the amount of products US-based companies can sell, can impact costs and prices without much control or notice, and can be damaging if international agreements are suspended. In other words, there is higher economic risk when companies offshore elements essential to their business operations. Companies’ overall costs can be lower when manufacturing is done on American soil or that of neighboring countries, especially once the costs of tariffs and mitigants are considered in full. Additionally, Moser echoed the Business Roundtable in emphasizing the responsibility corporations have not only to shareholders but to all stakeholders including communities, employees, and suppliers. Investing in companies that will greatly benefit from reshoring is a smart decision to benefit investors and the corporations themselves, all while on a macro level boosting the US economy. There are also price advantages to be gained from investing in a skilled American workforce, implementing a lower corporate tax rate, and more– all governmental initiatives– to encourage bringing jobs back to the United States. However, beyond Wall Street investment and government involvement, it is also the responsibility of companies to secure reshoring opportunities including the Import Substitution Program or total cost of ownership system.
To conclude his presentation, Moser answered questions from students in the audience about tariffs, free trade rules, investment in other countries including education and training, incentives available to corporations, and more.
Visit the event page for more.