Russ Roberts has an excellent blog post over at Cafe Hayek, with a powerful takeaway for the folks who think government needs to "do something" to attract, or preserve, jobs (i.e. Goodyear/Firestone giveaway). (warning, the post is fairly long)
The lesson is this: the economy is – and should be – a dynamic and constantly changing system. When government tries to protect industries or preserve jobs, it ends up killing part of that progress. Slowing economic change makes everyone worse off. While it would be sad for those Goodyear and Firestone folks to lose their jobs, attempts to preserve dying industries ends up huring everyone involved. Those folks would then be prompted to pursue other careers in industries resulting from a natural progression of the economy, jobs that often will be more lucrative and satisfying.
This from a man who lost his Detroit auto manufacturing job, and is now pursuing a career in radiology:
"Either way I will absolutely, positively be 100% happier," he says.
Roberts’ take home point bears repeating here:
Preserving manufacturing jobs for their own sake is the road to stagnation.
The natural forces of competition and self-interest are encouraging manufacturing workers to get more education and find new work.