I didn’t care much for Upper Mismanagement, The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber piece on “Why can’t Americans make things? Two words: business school.”
This begs the question that US manufacturing is in fact in decline. I know this has been fisked many times before, but let me lay it out simply. While there has been a large decline in the fraction of Americans in manufacturing, the actual output of the US manufacturing sector is not in decline. Check out this chart from the Federal Reserve on real output from 1959 to 2005:
We can see that the level of Manufacturing Output has almost monotonically increased since 1959 through 2005. Certainly it gives no evidence of long or recent declines in manufacturing in the United States. This is hardly what we would expect to see if we faced a MBA driven decline. Basic fact checking should have killed this pointless and sensationalist piece.
But wait, maybe we’d have grown faster without the MBAs. How did major competitors with fewer MBAs do? Here we can see that the major Western European countries don’t seem to be doing any better in keeping their manufacturing bases, even though they have far fewer MBAs then Americans do.