There is little talk of industrial relocation, but its consequences are seen from time to time. As it happened during Covid-19, we did not have protective masks, because almost all of them were manufactured in Asia, and the few that were manufactured in Germany, were kept for them and were not exported to other countries.
When a country loses industrial capacity it becomes poorer. Without palliative.
Industry is the environment that creates reasonably well-paying jobs and needs investments in technology and human knowledge to stay competitive. And that creates wealth in the long run.
The current problem with offshoring is that before companies closed because they were not profitable, but now they close because they are not profitable enough. And that is defined by financial managers based on short-term objectives to prioritize the value of investors.
These investors cry out if any government dares to express a contrary opinion, invoking “free trade” and the freedom of the people, but they only defend their particular freedom to expand their benefits at the cost of the damage of society.
The decisions have nothing to do with the wealth of a country, or with social justice, or with anything; just increasing their own profits. Period.
In recent years, many companies have gone to other countries with more lax environmental laws and workers with lower wages. And that has happened in all western countries.
And the result in these countries (Europe and the USA) has been to have a society that is less and less equal, and with a greater number of poor people, defining as poor someone with a job that barely gives them to live with dignity.
We find that we ALL buy a lot of very cheap things, most of them manufactured in Asian countries, and on which we absolutely depend to supply ourselves.
As a data, I will say that between 2000 and 2016, 5 million manufacturing jobs were lost in the USA, and 20% of the companies dedicated to these tasks closed.
And something similar happened in Europe.
And just to point out something curious, when in 2013 the Walmart company promised to sell national products, it could not find any manufacturer in the USA that made socks, and it had to continue bringing them from Asia.
In my opinion the origin of all this is the pathological search for profit. The benefit above all else and regardless of the consequences.
If a company is making money and its employees doing a good job, and the possibility of having more benefits is seen by moving the company elsewhere, it is done. Regardless of the social consequences, or the country’s wealth, etc …
That is nonsense. We are living in a time of savage capitalism, without any limitation. And governments do not say a word in the holy name of “market freedom”, when any moderately intelligent person knows that the market is not free. There are a few who control it and benefit from it.
I don’t know how long this is going to last. But what I do know is that this future is not positive for having a more just and supportive society, and I hope and wish that one day it will change.