Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan
Chapter 25: Searching for advanced manufacturing in the United Kingdom and United States: definitions, measurement and public policy
The refocusing of political and economic attention on manufacturing following the global credit crisis and recession of 2008 has led to the re-emergence of an old problem – are our definitions of manufacturing fit for purpose? Do we have definitions that allow us at the national and international level to understand how manufacturing industries are evolving and whether they are declining or thriving? This chapter examines the existing definitions of advanced manufacturing, putting these in the context of how the definition of manufacturing has evolved, and finally discussing current usage of the term in policies developed by the United States and the United Kingdom. Before the 2008 financial crisis most Western governments had stopped worrying about manufacturing in any real sense, as manufacturing as measured fell as a share of gross domestic product and a precipitous decline in employment occurred over a 20 year period (Pilat et al., 2006). Hand in hand with this lack of focus on manufacturing was a shunning of industrial policy in any explicit form (Livesey, 2012). During this time whether manufacturing was measured or defined appropriately just did not seem to matter – manufacturing was gone, deindustrialisation had occurred and the West’s future lay in services, primarily financial services.
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