An Alternate Explanation for the Rust Belt

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.

Comments?

  1. Commander Shepard
    July 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    “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?” -AD

    Paul Krugam contends political changes in the USA since the 1980’s have dismantled middle class institutions. This never occurred elsewhere or even north of the border in Canada. The closest thing to this trend abroad was in the UK under Thatcher.

  2. Ryu
    July 10, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I think you’ve done a disservice to blacks. There are alot of them in the eastern Great Lakes, but most still live in the South.

    Never underestimate your enemy.

    I’d put the blame on global work arbitrage and being able to make bank by destroying things rather than making them. If the breakup value of a company is twice it’s book value, they’ll scrap it and break it up. This whole thing began in the 70’s as finance grew and started getting their paws in other businesses.

  3. July 10, 2011 at 8:47 am

    ryu–

    I’m mixed race, gonna hunt me down by ip address and try to subvert me with your gay white power?

    thought not, mangina….

  4. Mr. Stricter
    July 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    The dismantling of industrial society was tribal warfare basically. Them “the rich” elite vs everyone else against everyone else.

    It was exasperated by changes in technology eliminating whole types of jobs, making outsourcing easy and by entry of women into the workplace.

    As for Europe etc, I agree they have a generally better society from a humane standpoint but a lot of it is unsustainable at least in its current form as its “markets” depend too much one other nations being net consumers as vs producers.

    Don’t worry about that. The USA will cease to exist as a functional entity before we reach that point.

    In not that long the US economy will contract to where our policy rightfully puts it, 2nd tier maybe 3rd in places.

    The USA will be a failed state before that point is reached.

    This will gut any economy with any high value goods depending on importing them here and once we are basically forced to have our military come home, will mean they will have to seriously consider their own needs. No more free riding and thats a good thing.

    Now something more commie might work to a degree, a market society with a lot of state ownership ,mandated inefficiency and import controls combined with radical social welfare (i.e something like social credit) but such an economy is radically different than anything we know and unless it either imports whole classes of people who are OK with poverty or has massive redistribution, it risks people not having children. The physical resources are there but there is no social carrying capacity. There is no good answer to that short of pretty extreme measures.

    Society versus No Society- Take you pick.

    A last note, I remember during the early days of the Japan will rule the world 80s’ Japan telling the US they should be more like them, that is high savings, high disciplined, isolationist closed markets, and anti immigration. Had I a time machine (assuming that Japan and Europe weren’t singing the International) just to point and laugh. Has we done that, the size of the US at that time would have allowed us to remain somewhat well off but the rest of the world, not so much.

    The Japanese lost because of their mercantile and close-minded culture. However they are still a very functional and competitive system.

    The USA has no national ‘glue’ to hold it together like Japan.

    Of course in the longer run (assuming we protected our borders) we’d be hurting too as our population would have aged and shrunk but thats not all downside. The resulting society would probably have been better than what we have now.

    • July 11, 2011 at 7:35 am

      The Japanese = one big family.
      The Americans = are there any families left?

      • Mr. Stricter
        July 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm

        Japan is an arch example of a socially CONservative society (in that it is designed to resist change and any generation would have a society that resembles the last one in its beliefs and traditions whenever possible) combined with an economic LIEberal system (populist in that wealth is distributed widely)

        When this could be managed, society worked fine. So long as this happens via private or public sector, all is well.

        The problem is that the Japanese society depended too much on export to sustain their zero sum savings habits and when that system collapsed, their Elite like all other Elite went to Economic CONservatism (that is hording wealth and cutting wages)

        This tanked the economy and as Japanese seem to be peaceful and responsible, the birth rate. This is basically an end game and unless Japan pulls its self together, The Chinese assuming they make it can just take the little island if they wish.

        The US isn’t different really though we have the worst of both worlds, Social LIEbralism (change for the sake of change) and Economic CONservtism (wealth hording)

        Basically we are just using our stored wealth to put a boot on everybody and once the leg gets tired, BOOM!

  5. Mr. Stricter
    July 10, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Japan’s closed mindedness actually is its social glue. The fact its mostly mono-ethnic and insular and traditional in many ways makes them inflexible but is also a great source of strength.

    I’d have to disagree with Japan being a functional system however . A shrinking population and a growing class of dropouts /non participants combined with social solidarity like that can actually be worse then internal tensions. Tensions can blow up and end up with one or more winners and societies can come back from that fairly easily, either through a division (several smaller states) or through violent removal of unwanted elements or through collapse and rebirth cycles. Europe has some of the same issue but they have more foreigners to hate which at least can motivate people

    A society that is too sick to breed or care enough about lost chances has no future.

    As for the US going failed state. I doubt it. It may become a hollow state with a weak federal system and lots of local control (ala Mexico) split apart or something else buts its unlikely to drop to the level of say Somalia. It will also do its economic damage long before that.

    To the point about Society vs No Society, I mostly agree with the caveat that if technology continues the 1% may simply decide to keep say 20% for servants and markets and what all and try to exterminate the other 90%. I don’t know if that qualifies as society but its near possible.

    Its also possible we may get a welfare state sans breeding. We’ll pay you off to not have kids or the like.

    Also more likely crappy societies can persist for a very long time which is what I suspect.

  6. July 11, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    In response(and agreement) to Stricter’s point about excess humans being exterminated or phased out once they’ve outlived their usefulness.

    • abprosper
      July 12, 2011 at 1:06 am

      Thanks for the link. Depressing but not much of a surprise. My opinion here, if such an attempt is made it will be made on b.s. ecological grounds and try to be done with great care possibly by some “humane” method of sterilization.

      It hasn’t happened in scale yet for a lot of reasons including the fact that not all the rich are sociopaths, many are and more behave as such but some of them, enough of them are still human, secondly its pretty hard technically 3rs, passive neglect is morally defensible (it might even be right actually) and and 4th its really risky and difficult. Troops often won’t obey such orders and machines, while obedient are easily hacked. One disgruntled drone drone could redirect the machines in such a way that it is an end game for the powerful. Thats assuming the greedy SOB’s would even spend the money on such a plan or could keep a secret.

      The biggest problem is that the rich are just as sociopathic to each other as poorer people. They have no unity.

      Its important to note that if it came to a fight quantity has a quality all its own and they are greatly outnumbered, There are also a lot of us who may not like “others” and might even make the 20% cut but who would not go along with such a plan. The results if the elite failed would be well, Pol Pot 2.0 for them and such horrific even our host would be a bit repelled. Giga Kill comes to mind . To tell you the truth if it came between global genocide by the rich for the rich, even if I made the cut and humanity being reduced to the tech level of the Amish or even pre-literate savages I’d take the latter.
      —-

      Come on, torturing every single rich person, their kids and grand-kids to death is the right thing to do- even if there is no obvious reason to do so. Same for CONservatives and lLIEbertarians.

      Like any American I want to be rich but push to shove, if the only people left are utterly evil, better no one win.

      I doubt this will happen especially before before society ends though and population wise, Europe and such are genocide themselves anyway if they don’t fix things so while possible its not a great worry.

  7. sth_txs
    July 12, 2011 at 5:00 am

    NAFTA and WTO have done anyone any favors. This has caused problems for Mexico and the US. Unions, in SOME cases, became to greedy with their stupid demands. Japanese are able to assemble cars here in the US for US customers, and still pay Americans a decent wage.

    Also, I get tired of hearing how there is ‘no middle class’, but no liberal or conservative wants to abolish federal income tax or SS tax or allow us proles to choose what we would like to use as money.

    I don’t think all Americans are asking to be millionaires, but many know if there pockets were not constantly picked they would be a lot better off. Funny how one of my uncles was able to retire in early 1970’s with a car, a modest 2 or 3 bedroom home, and take of himself and did not have a formal education and did not have to worry about a 401k or IRA.

  8. WhiteHistory
    July 12, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Articles like this show proof that you Eastern Indians should not be allowed to move to the USA.

    Personally, I think people like you should be exterminated to the last man, woman and child.

    You think America is like India. You think the only way to get ahead is by thievery and graft. It’s totally inconceivable to you that somebody might start a business and make money by selling products to willing customers. In your little mind, it’s just not possible, and that’s all the proof we need that importation of people like you is destroying the USA.

    As for your Rust Belt comments, ask yourself this: Would you rather have a factory full of German workers or a factory full of urban black American workers?
    —-

    Well-paid and well-treated workers are remarkably similar.

    • July 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      WhiteHistory,
      By the nature of the American constitution, no one can prevent anybody from moving to the USA. From its beginning, your American English ancestors have created a system that is penetrable and fragile, and that can be sabotaged by no others than the American Englishmen themselves.

    • MaMu1977
      July 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      You do realise that German workers see workplace inebriation as a fundamental right, right? It’s not unheard of for a lower to upper class German worker (regardless of sex/gender, occupation or employer to have a mid-morning beer and an afternoon beer (or two) while still enjoying a 2-liter beer/3-4 martini/5 shot or mixed drink lunch. Given America’s differing insurance standards, different healthcare standards and our more puritanical mindset, I’d say to be careful what you wish for (lest you invite potential business partners to your factory and shock them with the sight of tipsy auto workers.)

  1. July 17, 2011 at 1:02 am

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