With evidence that the U.S. economy may be finding its footing, recently appointed Democratic Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) is tackling the question of American manufacturing.
In an interview with Wired magazine, prolific author and thought leader Vaclav Smil insisted that nations will fall apart without incorporating domestic manufacturing on a broad scale.
"In every society, manufacturing builds the lower middle class," Smil told Wired. "If you give up manufacturing, you end up with haves and have-nots and you get social polarization. The whole lower middle class sinks."
With the U.S. economy expected to add an additional 5 million jobs over the next two years, as Voice of America reported last week, the American manufacturing corridor remains a question.
Newly-appointed Democratic Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), drawing from his experiences as the former mayor of Newark, appeared to agree with Smil.
In a recent senate session with Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Booker argued for a greater need for transparency with regard to commerce management, citing a need to help U.S. manufacturers achieve greater exports.
"Once people know they're being measured and what they're being measured on - if you're a manager you measure the things you care about because people care about how they're being measured," Booker said.
But manufacturers are additionally hindered by what Booker sees as a skills mismatch, and he is looking to "islands of excellence" like Chicago's Austin Polytechnical Academy to help understand how the shortfalls in labor skills can be eradicated more broadly across America.
"Now, looking around the country, there are some great examples of people stepping up to do these," Booker said. "These are islands of excellence when what we really need is a hemisphere of progress."