The Steel Crisis: The Economics and Politics of a Declining Industry

By William Scheuerman | Go to book overview

8
Economic Decline and Democratic Demise: Prospects for the Future

. . . every 1 percent increase in the American unemployment rate correlates with 920 more suicides, 650 more homicides, 500 more deaths from cirrhosis of the liver, heart, and kidney disease, 4, 000 more admissions to state mental hospitals, and 3, 300 more people sent to state prisons.

Robert B. Reich

If corporate America no longer finds it profitable to make (for example) as much steel as we need, why don't we do it ourselves.

Staughton Lynd

The current crisis in steel represents a watershed in the industry's history and reveals the impact of ongoing structural changes in the economy on our political institutions. Immediately following World War II, U.S. steelmakers dominated the globe. A well-lubricated industrial gargantua, the United States industry accounted for 61 percent of the world's steel, and it appeared that steel's international dominance would remain unchallenged in the foreseeable future. Expounding on the benefits of the United States' uncontested political and economic hegemony, prophets of the American celebration draped garlands of praise on the powerful domestic steel industry. America's celebrants looked to the future with unrestrained hope. And why not? For the nation's industrial machine provided a level of material prosperity unmatched in human history. Ideology fell dead, victimized by the efficiency of U.S. industry. Steel played a critical role in the nation's industrial success, and the industry's infallibility quickly became

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The Steel Crisis: The Economics and Politics of a Declining Industry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • List of Tables and Figures xiii
  • 1 - Steel on the Slide 1
  • 2 - Law and Social Power 22
  • Notes 39
  • 3 - The Golden Years: From Dominance to Decline 45
  • Notes 61
  • 4 - Protectionism and Disinvestment 64
  • Notes 94
  • 5 - Instrumental Politics and the Trade Act 98
  • Notes 125
  • 6 - Recovery, Relapse, and Retrenchment: The Trigger Price Mechanism 129
  • 7 - Restructuring: The Politics of Disinvestment 151
  • Notes 182
  • 8 - Economic Decline and Democratic Demise: Prospects for the Future 185
  • Notes 206
  • Index 209
  • About the Author 221
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