January 9, 2011 AT 10:30 pm

“If we don’t become a country that makes things again, we won’t have enough jobs for our people” – Lynn Tilton

The WSJ has a fantastic profile on Lynn Tilton

Through her New York-based holding company, Patriarch Partners, Ms. Tilton owns all or parts of 74 companies with revenues of more than $8 billion and 120,000 employees. By most measures, Patriarch is now the largest woman-owned business in America.

Ms. Tilton, 52 years old, built her fortune from an unlikely corner of the economy: down-and-out industrial firms. Her strategy is to buy manufacturers headed for the scrap heap and bring them back to life with new management teams and products. In the process, she’s become an unlikely crusader for America’s rust-belt. “The key to America’s future is manufacturing,” she says. “We simply have to become a country that can make things again.”

“If we don’t become a country that makes things again, we won’t have enough jobs for our people,” she said. “Without jobs, we could have social unrest. And that’s not science fiction.”


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5 Comments

  1. Of course, no one will pay anyone a livable wage in America to make things. It is cheaper to send all the work to China and that’s what business has chosen to do.

  2. This is well spoken and the same goes for every other country on the face of this old world.

  3. We have worker safety laws, insurance, and workman compensation which is necessary in a civilized economy, but this all costs money… so why do we still offer tax credits to entice manufacturers to outsource?

    US trade policy is insane… what’s the point of making it illegal here to exploit children in factories, but say it’s OK to outsource work to places where it is commonplace? In a lot of countries, you can be arrested for joining a union. This does not help makers on either side of the trade, but it does serve the interests of owners.

    How about we restore tariffs on imported goods made by exploited workers? If we do not, when unemployment gets high enough in the US… we will be demonstrating to make our laws match China’s just so we can keep whatever we still have left.

  4. I totally agree. I teach Economics in a college setting, and we discuss how we have moved to a service based economy. WHY not start focusing on what we can build, not what we can service?

  5. I can’t find the link right now, but there have been numerous studies recently that show that manufacturing in the US has disappeared, nor has it really declined… it’s just being automated to remove more of the "hands on" assembly. I think it’s a tad too much of the "Chicken Little Syndrome" to say we are moving primarily to a "service based economy", without looking at the whole picture.

    Having worked closely with Indian, Chinese, Taiwanese, and other South-East Asian CMs and ODMs, I understand that they are people, just like everyone else, trying to earn a living. They have their strengths and they have their weaknesses, and as their economy/society grows into this new role, things will start to balance out. I use Japan as an example. People quickly forget history and this isn’t the first time in recent history that this exact situation has played out.

    End of the day, Adafruit, Sparkfun, and MakerBot have all proven that we can MAKE things in the US and sell them, while earning an honest wage.

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