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An Alternate Explanation for the Rust Belt

July 9, 2011 14 comments

I am sure that almost everyone who lives in the USA knows about the ‘rust belt‘. For noobs, here is a brief explanation-

The Rust Belt, also known as the Manufacturing Belt or the Factory Belt, is an area in parts of the Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic States, and portions of the eastern Midwest. It is an area of industrial decline, especially involving steel making, vehicle manufacturing, and other heavy manufacturing. The region can be broadly defined as the region beginning in central New York and running west through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois to the western shore of Lake Michigan. Some definitions include cities as far north and west as the city of Duluth and the Iron Range. The area immediately bordering Lake Erie is considered to be the “hub” of the Rust Belt. The region extends southward to the beginnings of the coal-mining regions of Appalachia, north to the Great Lakes and includes manufacturing regions of Southern Ontario and Quebec in Canada.

The ‘rust belt’ has expanded since this original definition and now encompasses many other states (in the mid-west and south-east). Even aggressive attempts by state governments to retain such industries, especially the ex-slave owning retarded ones, have only delayed the inevitable. Note that new well-paying jobs in other industries have not replaced

There are supposedly a number of inevitable reasons for this dismal state of affairs. They include-

1. Labor unions
2. High wages
3. Lack of tax breaks
4. Technological obsolescence

But is that really the case?

Countries such as Germany, Japan, Korea and even countries like France have a robust manufacturing base. Add up their populations and you will see that the sum is almost as large as the USA. Their living standards are comparable to the USA and if anything are markedly better for the average person. These countries also have very strong unions, high wages, high taxes and should have been adversely affected by the same technological pressures as manufacturing in the USA. So.. why do they still have large and profitable manufacturing sectors?

In my opinion, the explanation for this “anomaly” comes down to the psyche and beliefs of the average person in the USA Vs other developed countries. In the USA, almost everyone believes that they can be billionaires if they work hard enough. They actively discount factors necessary for such incredible success as luck, nepotism, ability to scam and defraud at industrial levels etc.

They actually believe that being rich has something to do working hard to produce useful and innovative stuff or services.

While that might have been partially true at some periods in US history, it has not been the case since the early 1980s. Most rich people in the USA now make their money through systematic scams (finance, real estate), guilds (doctors) or local scams (many small business). We even reward useless jobs (many public and private bureaucratic jobs) far better than useful and productive jobs.

But maybe that is the real American dream- to make money through theft, scams, frauds, murder and other questionable means.

Think about it.. if the majority of population harbored such beliefs, even if entirely on an unconscious level, they would be far more malleable to manipulation by bigger and better sociopaths to act against their own best interests. Maybe the beginning of US deindustrialization was caused by white discomfiture at ‘uppity’ blacks having decent jobs and lives. This was exploited by the “elites” to dismantle manufacturing-type industries so they could make money from each step of the process. As I have previously noted, outsourcing a business is quite profitable in the short-term to those who oversee the whole process.. even if the long-term effects are bad and hard to reverse.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

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LOL: July 9, 2011

July 9, 2011 3 comments

Could you use this cover art for any book in the USA? In any case, the original cover is in Italian.

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Categories: LOL