I read today an essay from The New Yorker that said the 20th century railroads made the mistake of thinking they were in the railroad business instead of the transportation business. I think American steel is making a similar mistake. A lot of American manufacturing in general survived WWII with their physical plant intact. The European, Chinese and Japanese combatants were bombed virtually into oblivion. That gave America dominance in the 1950’s but left them with aging plants trying to compete with rebuilt, modern plants elsewhere in the 1960’s. It’s too soon to say what the effects of tariffs, threatened or imposed, will be in American steel. But there is another perspective.
America’s forte is its high tech basis and its educated workforce, not low cost. America already has companies investigating asteroid mining and space manufacturing. American steel from asteroids would reduce CO2 emissions, pollution and other externalities that have large costs. It would also create new jobs that don’t exist today. It won’t happen overnight, but what will 21st century opinion writers say about American industry? Will they cite mistakes or vision?
See http://inigopress.com/life-on-mars/ for where this might lead.