The Fall of an American Rome: Deindustrialization of the American Dream

The Fall of an American Rome: Deindustrialization of the American Dream

The Fall of an American Rome: Deindustrialization of the American Dream

The Fall of an American Rome: Deindustrialization of the American Dream

Excerpt

In passing along the highway one frequently sees large and spacious build
ings, with the glass broken out the windows, the shutters hanging in ru
inous disorder, without any appearance of activity and enveloped in soli
tary gloom. Upon inquiry what they are, you are almost always informed
that they were some cotton or other factory, which their proprietors
could no longer keep in motion against overwhelming pressure of foreign
competition.

— Henry Clay, 1820, in his founding of the Whig Party and American
System

This is the story of the de-industrialization of America. It tries to tell the story based on the facts, not from a political viewpoint — which is not as difficult as it may seem, since both American political parties support free trade economics. Nor does it try to center the responsibility on the union, the workers, management, politicians, or even the American public, since there is plenty of blame to share. Even the economic policy of the country since 1945, which clearly must carry a large portion of the blame, was accepted for all the right reasons. Free trade was expected to promote world peace and democracy. No one foresaw what the ancillary effects on the United States would be by the 1970s. To this end, I hope to show the destruction on our cities, workers, managers, and country. As far as blame, I have excluded no one from suspicion for we all are to blame. I have found no villains or conspiracies, at least not of the “black helicopter” type. In fact, our misguided polices have been for altruistic goals most of the time.

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