The Decline in Manufacturing Employment

Manufacturing Employment

Foner pointed out that in the 1990s Walmart emerged as the nation’s largest employer, whereas it had been General Motors in the 1970s. The shift which took place in 1990s, symbolizes the way the whole economy was shifting toward a service economy, a retail economy, and de-industrialization, as well as the continuing decline of manufacturing in the United States due to globalization, the shifting of jobs overseas in search of cheap labor, and the increasing importation of manufactured goods into United States. The problem with that was that the manufacturing jobs were very well paid and had strong union protections, pensions, and health benefits, and many of the jobs in this newer area were low-paying and offered very few benefits, so this became a problem for the American standard of living.


Globalization And Its effect On The Wealth of Nations

Foner commenced the chapter by describing the WTO meeting in 1999 and how it symbolized the growth of globalization and its mass acceptance since 135 countries were represented in the meeting. Foner mentions that Globalization is called “the concept of the 1990s” when the media proclaimed a coming of an age of borderless economy, where cultures would be submerged to create a “global civilization” and the interest of the state would be subordinate to the global interest. Such as labor shifting from one country to a cheaper country, these losing nations would allow such shift since it makes sense economically, and it would mean more profits for its citizens (capitalists/investors to be specific).

I think the effect of globalization is far reaching and deserves more attention. Millions of jobs were lost and gained by nations because of the access to global markets for businesses and reduced barriers to trading. Consumers also got the taste of products from all over the world at lower costs, most of the things we use and wear are made off shore. There are two sides to Globalization, one is the incontrovertible effect that globalization had on the lives of most denizens of this planet (whether economically or socially). And the other is the creation of  entities (multinational-corporations) that has accumulated huge power and influence on a global scale. These corporations, with billions in revenue and hundreds of thousands of employees, can practice political influence (special interest, campaign donation and the fact that it provides jobs to constituents) to tip the scale toward higher advantage for them, leaving small business with no chance to compete, and creating an oligarchical environment in which a few large corporations really run the show within a given industry, leading to higher income inequality (gap) where rich get really rich and the poor remains roughly the same, if not worse. The top 1 percent of the global population owns 40% of the wealth according to a study conducted in 2000. The image below renders the wealth distribution in the US.