Manufacturing Green Prosperity
The Power to Rebuild the American Middle Class
by Jon Rynn
July 2010, 293pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38476-9
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38477-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Eighty percent of world trade is in goods rather than services. Yet the United States has watched plant after plant close as manufacturing jobs have been exported. A powerful new theory argues that a solid, green manufacturing base is crucial to economic prosperity and ecological sustainability. How can such a vision be realized?

This timely set of solutions based on a new theory of economics shows how America can reverse its inexorable economic decline and stop the bleeding of its middle class by rebuilding its manufacturing sector on a green basis.

Manufacturing Green Prosperity: The Power to Rebuild the American Middle Class connects two critical issues: the importance of manufacturing to the growth and fair distribution of national wealth and the need to create an environmentally sustainable society. In so doing, the book offers groundbreaking arguments demonstrating the centrality of manufacturing and shows ways in which creating a green economy will rebuild U.S. manufacturing and expand the middle class.

Drawing from the fields of political science, economics, ecology, history, engineering, and philosophy, the author challenges existing myths about manufacturing, exposes the weaknesses of neoclassical economics, and proposes a production-centered alternative. America, he persuasively argues, needs a sophisticated, green manufacturing base in order to create an entirely new transportation and energy infrastructure-one that will make cities ecologically sustainable; prevent the worst effects of global warming; protect vulnerable ecosystems; and counter the depletion of oil, coal, and other critical natural resources.


  • Tables and diagrams
  • Quotes from leading scholars
  • Primary government data
Jon Rynn, PhD, is visiting scholar at the City University of New York's Institute for Urban Systems. He received his doctorate in international relations from the City University of New York and was adjunct professor of political science at Baruch College. He blogs about environmental and economic issues for the Roosevelt Institute's, and for Rynn has worked with the Institute for Policy Studies, and for many years was a research assistant for the late Seymour Melman, one of America's greatest scholars of manufacturing.


"In this excellent book, Jon Rynn shows us a way out -- in effect a 'New Green Deal'. But Rynn's approach entails discarding many of the neo-liberal shibboleths of the past 30 years, notably our irrational hatred of 'industrial policy'. Rynn shows how to use government fiscal policy in a manner that is no longer directed toward financial bailouts, but designed to encourage businesses to reinvest in more efficient technology or in new product innovation, both of which could help improve U.S. export competitiveness. Alternatively, public/private cooperation in R&D projects like Sematech could be explored with various emerging energy technologies, for example, in order to reduce U.S. energy dependence. At best, favorable effects on business investment will arise be secondary or peripheral results of some of the infrastructure and green tech investments in the current fiscal stimulus package, but we need to do more over the medium and longer term. Rynn's book provides the blue print." —Marshall Auerback, global portfolio strategist, RAB Capital plc, fellow for the Economists for Peace and Security and a blogger with of the Roosevelt Institute. Mr Auerback is one of the contributors to the upcoming Companion to Minsky book by Edward Elgar Publishing.

"Jon Rynn's Manufacturing Green Prosperity is a valuable contribution to the efforts to improve our world. It combines empirical research and historical analysis with a visionary articulation of the kind of society possible and needed if we are to avoid the very real threat of escalating ecological and social disasters this century. Those who understand the truth of these dangers will be strengthened and challenged by the reading of this book." —Ted Glick, Policy Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network

"Jon Rynn, a protege of the late Seymour Melman, has written an important book. Building on Melman's seminal works, Rynn's aim is to propose nothing less than alternative political-economic paradigm to shape recovery policies aimed at reversing the catastrophic deindustrialization process that has been a cancer eating away at our economy since the 1960s. That this cancer metastasized after 1980 is now clearly visible in retrospect, taking the form, in alia, of stagnant wages impoverishing a shrinking middle class, a rapidly worsening distribution of income in favor of the super rich, a collapsing merchandise trade balance, a massive loss of production jobs, a crumbling infrastructure, a deregulation of industry and finance enriching corporations at the expense of the people, an out-of-control Pentagon that is now spending more in inflation adjusted dollars than it spent at the height of the cold war, not to mention the rise of political gridlock, a dumbing down of the education system, all lubricated by the vapid sound bytes of an enervating mass media. Rynn's sweeping synthesis and recommendations will be controversial, and no-one, including this reviewer, will agree with all of them. But that is beside the point. Rynn has written a very important book that should be read and debated vigorously by concerned citizens across the ideological spectrum -- all one has to do is to drive through our nation's rust belt to see why our future depends on just the kind of debate Rynn's book will stimulate." —Franklin C. Spinney, retired Pentagon analyst and author of Defense Facts of Life: The Plans/Reality Mismatch, Westview Press, 1985

"If you are among the 95 percent of this country for whom the current economy is not working, then this book is for you. Rynn offers a blueprint for rebuilding our cities, our transport, our energy systems, and the rest of our economy in a way that is good for people and the planet."—John Cavanagh, Director, Institute for Policy Studies

“Right now America’s economy is declining in real wealth production and heading for ecological disaster at the same time.  In this insightful book, Jon Rynn shows he we can solve both problems simultaneously.  The solution is to invest in new green infrastructure and manufacturing.  This is a timely and convincing call for action that our political and economic leaders should read and heed.” —Peter Barnes, author of Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons
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