STATE OF BUSINESS: Fairy Tale

The machine tool industry—which makes the machines with which other industries make goods—is no monster economic unit. In a peak year it may gross $200,000,000, about as much as the automobile industry (cars and trucks) grosses in an average month. But it is a key unit —when other industries stagnate it stagnates, when others expand it is busy. For ten years the machine tool industry has lived mainly on orders from 1) the automobile industry; 2) foreign buyers (British, Japanese, German) who wanted to make goods at home instead of buying from...

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