From Model T to Rusty America
By Anthony J. Mountjoy | Mon, 20 Jun 2016 08:00:00 EST
The automobile certainly changed the world. In 1913 Henry Ford organizes the first major U.S. assembly line for car production.
He may not have realized it at the time, but this model would soon directly compete against small and medium sized businesses in other industries because of stock abstraction.
When industrializing the economy at scale only profit seems to count as a metric for success. We start to hear words like efficiency and growth. Some have noticed the better the stock market funnels liquid returns out of market, in direct proportion the promised prosperity never materializes for workers or local partners.
These are the classic signs of the socialist plague having passed through. Like the locusts described in the bible, every bit of production is consumed and nothing but broken bones and empty promises remain. This completed the political narrative we hear every year now. Its all about the jobs, and we vote in whoever will bring those jobs and like a drug addict we always need more because without constant growth this model isn't sustainable for any real length of time. People and their capitalist activity used to make jobs for real people. Politicians make jobs for their friends and voters.
The Model T was a hit ushering in the age of the "horseless carriage" by achieving a main street price point. It also came to mean "Made In America" acting as an early example of local manufacturing success. At first all was wonderful. Job, jobs, jobs, but soon the incentives for cheap labour elsewhere was too strong. Stock holders hold no national loyalty, being only loyal to money, they cared only for stock evaluation and if that stock goes up by throwing American workers to the wolves so be it. They call this good business. I call it exploitation of a resource. It's the results of invasion for personal gain alone not innovation and the mutual prosperity that brings.
Years later international trade pressure and currency manipulation would drive the automotive manufacturing base out of Detroit and other car capitals to Mexico and overseas. The wide swath of economic destruction this left behind is now affectionately referred to as "The Rust Belt". As with almost all hollowed out markets, outdated regulations maintain the failed conditions indefinitely while banks wait for a bail out or inevitable "revitalization effort".
Other than the occasional rap star [ Eminem ], most have given up on Detroit. This shows the value of home town loyalty. Is it fair to ignore this? The health of a country's manufacturing sector is obviously a big part of the general success of its people. I guess the stock market isn't the answer for everybody after all. If the Rust Belt is any indication, there are in fact dire consequences when we sacrifice core industrial control for a single market and some stock profits for a narrow group of global elites who barely pay taxes. Is it worth cannibalizing ones own country to make someone else rich? Does it still look good on paper once we see the results?
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