Getting the story straight
from Robert Locke
In the Collapse of the American Management Mystique, Oxford UP 1996, I wrote about the rapid decline in American staple industries, “in automobiles and in the related industries of steel, glass, and tires. The total number of workers in the automobile industry declined from 802,800 in December 1978 to 478,000 in January 1983. By 1980 Japan had become the world’s major automobile producing nation. As Japanese replaced American, American automakers world market share decline from 27.9 percent in 1970 to 19 percent in 1982. That’s a crisis. The story in steel was even worse. In 1982 eighteen major steel companies recorded a combined loss in that year of $3.2 billion. American steel was an industry in crisis. Half of the routine steelmakers jobs vanished between 1977 and 1988 (from 489,000 to 260,000.) To these horror stories could be added many others about American failure in mass-production industries – transistor radios , cameras, binoculars, sewing machines, color televisions, VCRs, CD compact discs, as well as in glass and tire manufacturing…..” p.160
I just heard Donald Trump, in his speech about economic policy, blame Hillary Clinton for creating this crisis, with nary a word of clarification raised by commentators on his speech about the fact that this collapse in Detroit and elsewhere had nothing to do with the Clintons. It occurred during Ronald Reagan’s watch.
Economists and so-called media expert need urgently to take courses on industrial history, to spare us a lot of anachronistic baloney.
Trump is advocating the resurrection of an industrial-manufacturing economy that has been long gone from the American scene. Nobody, I hope, seriously believes that American’s economic future depends on the resurrection of industries that represent the past. America’s innovativeness has depended on the Information Revolution. Does anybody seriously believe that through protectionism the US can flourish by recreating the staples industries that disappeared in the 1980s?