« John F. Long, a builder of modern Phoenix, dies at 87 | Main | McCain on the economy »

March 03, 2008

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jon, you make it sound like without NAFTA there would be no problems in the heartland, that jobs and pensions would be secure. The fact of the matter is that the world changed dramatically and competitive advantages went to the low-cost producer. Industries could never have maintained the labor cost structure that autos, airlines, steel and other major sectors managed to build in the '70s and '80s, that came back to haunt them in the '90s. There would have been no customers for their goods and services at the prices the manufacturers would have had to charge.

The sad reality is that the world passed Ohio and Michigan and other Midwest states by. Their factories were built on high-skilled, high-priced labor. But overseas competition and advancing manufacturing technology obsoleted them.

You've written so eloquently about Arizona's slow decline to irrelevancy in the global market. You might start including the rust belt when you talk about states who no longer control their own destiny. They're all in the same boat. And really, if there was anything that actually could have been done about it, there was no collective will to do so. Much like global climate change, sadly.

It's a tough one, Bob, and I don't have the answers. I was in the Midwest in the late 1980s and again in the mid-1990s, and watched as many companies restructured, adopted top technology and practices, and became competitive...for awhile. These were much more nimble, productive, technologically advanced and lean companies than they had been in the '70s and much of the '80s. But it wasn't enough.

Toyota makes boring, homely, predictable, reliable cars that are available in a range of sizes and are decently fuel efficient. You might also notice that Toyota seem to be growing while the US auto makers aren't. Maybe excitement isn't what most consumers want in a car?

NAFTA is American code for "Mexican".
What do you mean indeed? Any study I've seen shows that NAFTA has been good for the USA and Canada. Maybe not so much for Mexico, as the rich there really do get richer, at the expense of the environment and worker's rights.
Of course then we get into migrant workers. The USA has always depended on illegal workers. Demonizing them now is hypocritical to say the least (hey there southern Americans whom this angers, who cuts YOUR lawn?)
I suspect the real reason the USA wants to build a border fence, followed by a wall, followed by a minefield, followed by robotic guard towers, is that the They know that in 20 years or so millions of refugees will want to cross the border to escape the effects of global warming.
What we are hearing now is just the groundwork for what's to follow.
As for Canada, if millions of South Americans are fighting to head north looking for food, water and daytime temps less than 120F, where are the Americans going to go?
Oh, oh.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)