Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Green book of the week - Make It in America: The Case for Re-Inventing the Economy

Just in time for the State of the Union Address we have a guest book review of a book that I'm sure President Obama could use for citations in his upcoming speech tonight. This post was written by Daniel Fielding of the Green Technology Blog.

Make It in America: The Case for Re-Inventing the Economy by Andrew Liveris

Book review by Daniel Fielding

There is a tremendous potential for growth in the production of new products designed to help save energy and reduce our carbon footprint: batteries for hybrid/electric vehicles, cheap solar cells for the masses.

These are the ideas within the pages of Dow Chemical chairman and chief executive officer Andrew Liveris’ new book, "Make it in America: The Case for Re-Inventing The Economy”. The book was recently released in paperback, but in the future, it says environmentally friendly e-ink devices will be more common.

Liveris goes on to explain why production is of such central importance to revitalizing the economy of the United States, as well as maintaining American competitiveness in domestic and global markets.

In the book's introduction, Liveris writes that the manufacturing sector of the economy is capable of producing jobs, value, and domestic growth in ways that the service sector cannot. The new sector, according to Liveris, is in the manufacturing and research of green technology domestically within the United States.

He addresses the intricacies within his 240-page book published by Wiley and Sons Inc.

"It isn’t the economic downturn that got us here. The recession only unmasked deeper, systemic problems, among them the fact that America has, for decades, neglected the things that matter most to its economic health and long-term strength, The manufacturing sector has created some of the world’s most important innovations, that built the middle class, has eroded – in part due to reasons beyond our control, in part because of our own neglect. As a result, we haven’t just lost millions of jobs we haven’t just lost the tools to create long-term prosperity. We’ve lost an important part of our national identity."

Liveris makes a case against neoliberalism, arguing against purely free market principles. Liveris believes that solely abiding by free market principles is not enough to put the United States back into a position of leadership and prosperity, governmental intervention is necessary.

"Of course, stimulating demand is a critical first step toward building a vibrant renewable energy sector. But it is just a first step government policies must also reduce risk and uncertainty for manufacturers in this area. I’m often asked, given the uncertainty around renewables, how Dow has managed to jump with both feet into the business of solar and battery technologies. The answer is simple. We had help.

"There was far too much risk, far too many unknowns, for us to enter the market to this degree. But the federal government and the state of Michigan came to us and provided investments. They removed enough of our uncertainty. With this guarantee of governmental support, the Dow board looked at my proposal to build two new plants in Midland, and approved it in nanoseconds.”

Andrew Liveris has 30-year career with Dow Chemical. He has worked in marketing, manufacturing, new business development, sales, and management. A large portion of his career was spent in Asia. He was the general manager for Dow’s operations in Thailand, and then was promoted to the head of all Asia-Pacific operations. He began his career with Dow in 1976 in Australia.

He has been a member of Dow's Board of Directors since February 2004 and was elected as Chairman of the Board effective April 1, 2006.

This post was written by Daniel Fielding, a freelance writer who focuses on gadgets and the environment. He is the lead editor for Shades of Green, a Green Technology Blog.