Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How globalization has turned against a best friend

“Manufacturing matters mightily to the wealth and power of the United States and to our ability to sustain the kind of open society we have come to take for granted.”

That was the opening sentence of “Manufacturing Matters” by two University of California/Berkley professors, Stephen Cohen and John Zysman, published in 1987. The co-authors, early critics of globalization, called “subcontracting production” to foreign countries “the fast track to disaster.”

Like other opinion-leaders, however, newspapers became cheerleaders for globalization and its major components, free trade and free investment. They argued that the growing decline in manufacturing in the United States didn’t matter much anymore.

In the past eight years that decline has meant the loss of 42,400 factories and more than 5,000,000 manufacturing jobs. Besides, 90,000 more factories are in peril, reports Richard McCormack, editor of Manufacturing and Technology News.

“When a factory closes, it creates a vortex that has far-reaching consequences,” McCormack points out.

Newspapers, too, have been caught in that vortex. Two months ago, the Washington Post headlined “The accelerating decline of newspapers.” How could it be otherwise?

Newspapers do not exist isolated from the communities they serve. When people in those communities hurt economically, so do newspapers. In December 15,300,000 Americans were officially counted as unemployed and 11,700,00 others were working part-time against their wishes or wanting a job but not seeking one during the past four weeks.

So in this depressing climate, newspapers, too, have joined the “sunset” industries, for a variety of reasons. A major one is that they have been so successful at preaching and practicing global free trade that the ideology has added them to its victims.

When will newspapers, from the New York Times and Washington Post on down, start learning from their own experience? Lesson number one: manufacturing matters.

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Anonymous said...

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Joan Stepsen
New gadgets technology

Anonymous said...

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1. declining newspapers
2. unemployment increase

The book by William Julius Wilson; "More than race," has an analysis of how movement of jobs abroad hit inner-city blacks especially hard.