a plant in Michigan. But it chose a Korean battery cell manufacturer because of their know-how in manufacturing the cells. Also, because a battery-powered vehicle has far fewer moving parts than a combustion engine vehicle, fewer people are needed to design and build such a car. “Battery manufacturing is radically less labor intensive than machining lines would be,” said Burns.
Of course, new technology also has the potential to create jobs. Rodney Brooks, founder, chairman, and CTO of Heartland Robotics, and MIT professor emeritus, pointed out that the United States has many thousands of small and medium-sized companies that are involved in manufacturing, and many of these companies are operating the same way they were 50 years ago. New technologies could revolutionize and reinvigorate these companies, returning manufacturing jobs to the United States.
To keep value in the United States, the know-how responsible for creating that value needs to exist here. This know-how is not always in high technologies. As Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO, Xerox Corporation, observed, Xerox wants to build things in the United States but is having trouble in the Northeast finding manufacturing engineers. The United States has “lost the low end—the building of the physical gear