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Silver Lining in the Stratospheric Price of Oil?

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View Sarah Burt's blog posts
20 June 2008, 8:03 AM

The Wall Street Journal reports that the rising cost of shipping everything from industrial parts to living-room sofas is forcing some manufacturers to bring production back to North America and freeze plans to send even more work overseas.

This could stem the loss of domestic manufacturing jobs, if not result in a job increase at home.

Transportation costs are just one component of the larger wave of inflation throughout global manufacturing. Raw materials such as steel and petroleum products such as plastics and petrochemicals have all seen sharp price increases, making the components of manufacturing, as well as the cost of transporting manufactured goods, go through the roof.

I raise this issue with some trepidation: environmentalists must choose their words exceedingly carefully when ruminating on the benefits of high oil prices providing a long-overdue incentive to conserve. Pious "I-told-you-so" finger-wagging from bike-riding greens looks unattractively like schadenfreude... taking enjoyment in the misfortune of others.

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