Monday, February 5, 2024

Securing the Future: Lessons from George Washington's 1790 Speech on Economic Independence

 


In an era marked by unprecedented global uncertainties and dynamic shifts, the counsel of America's founding father, George Washington, resonates more profoundly than ever. Over two centuries ago, Washington presciently cautioned against the perils of relying on others for essential goods, particularly in the critical realm of national defense. Today, his foresight reverberates as the United States grapples with multifaceted problems that significantly impact its economic security and resilience.

Washington's wisdom highlights the imperative of economic self-sufficiency, especially in sectors crucial to the nation's defense. The challenges faced in the 18th century regarding the procurement of military supplies find echoes in the complexities of modern global supply chains, where vulnerabilities can surface unexpectedly. The call for a robust domestic manufacturing base, as articulated by Washington, holds as much relevance today as it did in the formative years of the Republic.

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"A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite, and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent on others for essential, particularly for military, supplies." ~ George Washington: Speech in the US Congress, January 8, 1790

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Drawing a parallel between Washington's insights and the contemporary urgency to revitalize the U.S. manufacturing sector forms a compelling argument. In an age where offshoring has resulted in job losses and economic shifts, Washington's vision of a self-reliant nation gains renewed significance. Addressing the challenges of unemployment and underemployment requires a strategic investment in domestic manufacturing, not only to create jobs but also to foster a skilled workforce essential for future prosperity.

Historically, the United States stood as a premier manufacturer of goods; however, over the last four decades, a substantial portion of manufacturing has been outsourced. This shift not only impacted employment but also diminished the incentive for young people to acquire skills crucial for a thriving economy. An active and engaged workforce not only sustains a nation but also drives innovation and increased productivity.

As we confront the challenges of the present and future, leaders in both business and government must focus on long-term solutions to address unemployment and underemployment. By heeding Washington's advice and investing in domestic manufacturing, the U.S. can secure its economic future, reduce dependence on external sources for critical goods, and maintain a robust, self-reliant foundation.

In conclusion, George Washington's warnings from 1790 serve as a timeless guide, emphasizing the paramount importance of economic self-sufficiency and domestic manufacturing for national security and enduring prosperity. By embracing these principles, the United States can adeptly navigate the complexities of the modern world, safeguard its interests, and build a resilient and self-sufficient nation for generations to come. Washington's wisdom remains a beacon, guiding the nation towards a future founded on strength, independence, and sustained economic well-being.

 All of this and more is discussed in "Downsized: The Deindustrialization of America."

 

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James P. Hodges, Ph.D.

Winner of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Medal of Honor
Member: National Speakers Association, American Society for Training and Development

 



Cynthia F. Hodges, JD, LLM, MA
Attorney and Author


• “Den of Vipers: Central Banks & the Fake Economy” @ https://rb.gy/k1erzu

Auriga Books, LLC
Email: cyn (at) cynthiahodges.com
 
 

 
 
 

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