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

By Quentin R. Skrabec Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 14. MONT PÈLERIN’S CAMELOT IN THE 1990S

The dreams of the Mont Pèlerin group of European economists seemed centuries away in 1947, but the political environment and world socialism supplied the force to achieve nearly all the goals in 50 years. The victory in academia came within a few years far ahead of anyone’s prediction. Mont Pèlerin Society meshed perfectly into the United Nations and world peace movement. They had envisioned the support of international bankers but believed national politics would slow the drive. How would bankers and politicians overcome the natural nationalism of workers in their individual countries? Initially, America was more than willing to share their wealth for world peace, realizing some workers would be displaced. Men like President John F. Kennedy knew that adjustment payments and retraining would be needed for displaced workers. Social movements in the West also played into de-industrialization. America’s scars from Vietnam would make a new generation look differently at the hard work of the previous generation. This had surfaced at the highly automated Lordstown auto plant to meet Japanese competition.

The 1990s was the triumph of free trade arrangements such as NAFTA and the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO); these seemed little threat to the powerful unions in the United States. The World Trade Organization, which is an international organization to monitor trade disputes between nations, had also seemed unlikely to have been given so much power over nations. The WTO replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which was imple-

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