Comment – The patriots act…

ConExpo throws spotlight on campaign to rebuild America.

20110322-041440.jpgDemolition and construction professionals have traveled from far and wide to attend the ConExpo show and to see first-hand the equipment that will be shaping their businesses in the months and years to come. And there is certainly plenty to see.

But aside from impressive equipment displays by usual suspects Caterpillar, Volvo, JCB and Komatsu, together with some equally impressive harnessing of communications technology from, among others, Verizon, the overwhelming theme on the opening day of the Las Vegas extravaganza is of an industry uniting behind a single cause.

The I Make America campaign may have seen very little exposure across the Atlantic, but here in the spiritual home of the US equipment manufacturing sector, it’s presence is permeating every aspect of the show and the displays it comprises. Even in a country as famously patriotic as the US, the Stars and Stripes is, perhaps, more evident than ever before.

Unlike the well-intentioned but ultimately flawed Buy British campaign of yesteryear, I Make America is putting the manufacture of demolition and construction equipment at the very heart of the country’s post-recession recovery.

It would, of course, be easy to dismiss this campaign as an example of American protectionism; a knee-jerk if belated reaction to the erosion of it’s market share in the face of competition from – primarily – the Far East.

But while Europe’s economy languishes in the doldrums, appointing blame – the banks, governments, economists – the Americans have rallied. Through a mix of stimulus funding and now this latest campaign, the US is striving to lead the construction industry out of recession with a united front.

It is a shame that a supposedly unified Europe cannot claim likewise.