The United States holds the unenviable position of having a higher statutory corporate tax rate than any of our major trading partners - and all OECD countries. Among 135 nations, the U.S. rate is exceeded only by the United Arab Emirates.
China became the largest manufacturing economy in the world (with a 23.2 percent share of manufacturing activity) through extremely fast growth in the physical volume of value-added and modest inflation. The U.S. is in second place with a 17.2 percent share. China has more than four times the population of the United States, and though its manufacturing intensity of $1,978 per capita value-added in 2013 is high for a developing economy, it is well behind advanced countries such as the United States ($6,338).
Speed of production may be an issue in these early days of deployment, but the possibilities for what can be produced with a 3D printer appear to be limited only by the imagination. With chess pieces, cars, small houses and medical equipment being printed, additive technology has certainly earned its considerable attention.
The consensus among analysts is that cheaper oil should be broadly neutral for Latin American countries in general, with clear winners and losers. Their expectation is that net oil exporters will suffer from lower oil prices and net oil importers will benefit. Although we can agree with that general short-term diagnosis, it is predicted that a sustained period of lower oil prices will have a net negative impact on Latin America and on the prospects of U.S. manufacturing companies doing business in the region.
The evidence of strengthening in African manufacturing is increasingly persuasive. Between 2000 and 2010, the share of the African population living on less than $1.25 per day fell from 58 percent to 48 percent. In no small part, the falling rate of extreme poverty is driven by much-improved output performance.
Following OPEC's decision at the end of November to maintain production at its current level, the Brent spot price of oil closed at $70.02 per barrel, down 39 percent from its closing price of $115.19 on June 19, 2014. Similarly, the WTI spot price fell by 39 percent over the same period, closing at $66.15 at the end of November. What's next? Will the price of oil continue to fall, and if so, how far? Will the price of oil level out? Or will it rebound?
Few economic entities have been grabbing as many headlines in recent years as the factory. Increasingly human-like robots, self-replicating 3D printers, and software programs that are directing complex supply chains have all been in the news. Reactions have been varied, with some worrying about employment implications and others sensing the possibility of a new era of U.S. industrial might.