Case in point: the massive investment in infrastructure and State-side manufacturing jobs.
In order to magically make that happen, President-Elect Derp will have to unequivocally break with nearly 40 years of Rightist orthodoxy: the last, battered, corroded vestiges of the “Reagan Revolution”.
See, Reagan’s administration was, effectively, the beginning of the frenzy of outsourcing/offshoring of so-called “Blue Collar” jobs. The “Free trade” fetish (IE: sweetheart deals with specific “trading partners” – particularly China), etc. In many ways, Bill Clinton’s shitty “Third Way” bullshit which culminated in NAFTA in 1994 basically ensured the (half-assed) “industrialization” of Mexico, by creating the “Rust Belt”.
(Fun Fact: “Made in China”/”made in Mexico” are the primary legacies of the “Reagan Revolution”, and the subsequent decades of “Conservative” fetishization of so-called “Free Trade. Just sayin’.)
Including Donald Trump’s shitty clothing-line:
Bottom line: 30+ years of “outsourcing” and “offshoring” simply cannot be (magically) reversed, unless you repudiate the “free trade” ideology behind it.
So a credible first step toward “making America Great again!” would be for “The Donald” to actually manufacture his shitty clothing line here in the United States. Just sayin’.
At any rate: the “Rust Belt” insurgency behind Trump’s presidency is going to be exceedingly pissed off when he fails to (magically) resurrect the dying, Opioid-addicted wasteland formerly known as “Small-Town America”, during that oh-so-magical first hundred days:
So, no. For the last 30+ years, The Right-wingers have invested a tremendous amount of time and effort into conditioning their “base” like Pavlov’s dogs: whenever somebody says “The free market”, or “Free Enterprise”, or “Free trade”, Right-wingers are SUPPOSED to start drooling.
Except, there’s the problem: Rust-belt “Conservatives” are finally waking up to the fact that they have been totally screwed over. Let’s not forget: opposition to “Free trade” used to be a “Leftist” idea, commonly associated with those oh-so-evil Unions Right-wingers reflexively hated.
Which is not to say that some sort of magical “reindustrialization” is actually going to solve anything. The only “cure” for deindustrialization and “lost jobs” and suchlike would be a principled stand against the concepts of EFFICIENCY and TOOL-USE, as such.
The ability to make (and use) tools has been the defining characteristic of humans. It is at the base of all human cultures, all the way back to the paleolithic:
(Fun-fact: the hippy-dippy bullshit about “harmony with nature” is conclusively repudiated by one simple, irrefutable fact: Even the most basic stone tool has been altered from its preexisting (“natural”) state, by human action.
The above is why I cannot take serious the hippy-dippy “nature”-fetishism which infests far too much of what passes for “The Left”:
What is nature? Nature is existence—the sum of that which is. It is usually called “nature” when we think of it as a system of interconnected, interacting entities governed by law. So “nature” really means the universe of entities acting and interacting in accordance with their identities.
Here’s the thing:
The “industrialization” of the U.S. was (in many cases) deliberately designed to leverage the preexisting state of the population. In most cases this state was mass illiteracy, and a system where anything beyond what we now understand as “Elementary” school was regarded as something of a luxury or status-symbol. A few generations ago, it was possible to “get away with” being borderline-illiterate — so long as you were capable of performing whichever mind-numbingly simple palette of tasks your prescribed job-funciton involved. So long as you could manage to stumble through the prescribed steps someone else had already discovered, you could probably have at least a half-assed chance of being able to buy whatever consumerist “Status symbols” your overlords decided to condition you (through advertising) to “want”.
As Ayn Rand puts the issue:
In proportion to the mental energy he spent, the man who creates a new invention receives but a small percentage of his value in terms of material payment, no matter what fortune he makes, no matter what millions he earns. But the man who works as a janitor in the factory producing that invention, receives an enormous payment in proportion to the mental effort that his job requires of him. And the same is true of all men between, on all levels of ambition and ability. The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains. Such is the nature of the “competition” between the strong and the weak of the intellect. Such is the pattern of “exploitation” for which you have damned the strong.
Bottom line: the ignorant and bigoted could get away with “free-riding” on the intelligence and conscious clarity of OTHERS.
Now, here’s the thing: Their Overlords never actually gave two liquidy shits about them, even when they were economically useful. In particular, they were utterly apathetic as to whether their “human assets” were otherwise ignorant/bigoted/delusional. They didn’t give a shit about any of that, because from their perspective, their employees were merely another form of “tool”, which just happened to be made out of meat.
Now, here’s the double-edge of the above paradigm:
Where exactly is the (short-term) “incentive” for the intelligent person at the top of the above “pyramid of ability”, to even PERMIT those below to eventually overcome the “helpless ineptitude” she mentions?
If anything, the “helpless ineptitude” is of benefit to the guy at the top, inasmuch as a “helplessly inept” person (or an aggregate composed of such persons) will be incapable of eventually becoming a competitor.
Thus, the (otherwise incomprehensible) spectacle of an “educational” system specifically designed to ensure that the vast majority of its victims were just barely capable of the bare minimum level of functioning their “owners” required from them:
Just barely “literate” enough to be able to read the advertising slogans/brand names associated with their “status symbol”-based lifestyles.
But, here’s the thing: that system was already foredoomed before it even got off the ground.
Look at this:
Let’s be honest: ANY sequence of (mindless) physical motions which can be performed by one of the “meat-bots” upon which the “traditional” industrial economy was based, can be performed with INFINITELY more efficiency and precision by some form of robotics/computer technology.
So, there’s the first fact-bullet in the head of Trump’s (and Bernie Sanders’) ideological boilerplate about “good manufacturing jobs going overseas”:
Those jobs didn’t “go” anywhere — they don’t actually exist, anymore.
Quite frankly, the only place you will still find anything resembling “traditional” (IE: repetitive and mindless) “industrial”-age grunt-work is: 3rd-world “sweatshops”, and shitty “temp”-work here in “Developed” countries.
The thing is: The only reason THAT shit even exists is because the owners don’t even give enough of a shit to automate it out of existence.
For example: sweat-shops. In principle, it would be ENTIRELY possible to automate the process of manufacturing clothing, to the point where an entire room of “robotic” sewing-machines could out-perform ANY 3rd-world shithole which (currently) specializes in exploiting “brown people”.
The ONLY reason they don’t bother to do that, is the EXACT same reason why they built the sweatshop in Bangladesh/Guatemala, etc. — in the first place:
From an “economic” perspective, “workers” are nothing more/less/other than a (regrettable but CURRENTLY necessary) “cost of production”. 3rd-world sweatshops are (currently) LESS EXPENSIVE than simply automating the “job” in question out of existence entirely.
So, there’s the first thing: the only way to ‘resurrect” the decaying corpse of Rust-belt America would be to somehow BAN ANY FURTHER RESEARCH INTO COMPUTERS/ROBOTICS.
That’s also why I can’t really take the “anti-globalization” bullshit seriously: there is no such thing as a truly “self-contained” nation-state.
The only way to actually achieve what both Trump and Sanders are advocating — and actually make it “stick” — would be a total ban on computers/robotics, coupled with a total ban on “foreign” commerce, of any kind.
The closest real-world example of a nation-state which doesn’t engage in “foreign” trade, and where goods/services are both produced and consumed domestically is: North Korea.
Quite frankly, the end-product of THAT (other than mass starvation and authoritarian death-squads) is probably the most pointless “product” ever:
So, yeah: “economic nationalism” (whether of the Trump or Sanders variety) is abysmally stupid.
Furthermore, the (inevitable) rise of robotics and so-called “3d printing” technologies will inevitably result in the complete eradication of what people currently understand as “the economy”.
Are you REALLY going to bother to drive to Wal-mart for underwear, when you can just crank out 40 pairs on the “home fabrication unit” sitting in your back bedroom?
The combination of the “digital revolution” and robotics represents an utterly inevitable and unstoppable transition. This transition will be at least as radical and pervasive as the previous revolutionary steps forward: Agriculture, metallurgy, the “industrial revolution’, itself.
This is the (inescapable) reality which none of the currently-fashionable sociopolitical ideologies can even begin to acknowledge — except possibly in an extremely idiotic and counterproductive manner.
For example, half-hearted advocacy of STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/mathematics) education — “marketed” to the populace as a MERE MEANS to remain “economically competitive” against “foreigners”.
Question: assuming you’re fortunate enough to have (say) a Subaru plant in your general area. Is that a “local” or “foreign” business-concern? Moreover, should you be concerned if there is an up-tick in people riding around on bicycles (for health reasons, or out of eco-friendliness, or whatever?)
The same basic argument holds for Lefty/Righty babbling about “infrastructure” projects: While it *IS* true that the “infrastructure” of the U.S. is in serious need of repair/maintenance, the tacit assumption is that current patterns of “infrastructure” usage will continue in the future.
This strikes me as the equivalent of trying to prop up the “local economy” by opening a chain of Government-backed VIDEO STORES renting VHS TAPES — without banning Netflix/DVD media, etc. first.
OLD paradigm structures aren’t “dying” (because they’re not “alive” — pseudo-animism pisses me off). Nor have they unilaterally become “obsolete”. “Obsolescence” is nothing more than a “marketing” buzzword which is predicated on the failure to recognize that every means of doing something involves some sort of cost-benefit analysis.
But here’s the thing: Existing ways of doing things aren’t exactly “competing” with new ways of doing things — EVEN WHEN the two (superficially) resemble one another.
You can’t really claim (for example) that FM radio “competes” with physical CD sales/streaming services. They all coexist — and influence one another — in what realistically could be described as a “media ecosystem”.
For example: How much of the “new media” (blogs/youtube videos, etc.) derives its subject-matter from recapping/discussing/debating/critiquing “old media” such as “broadcast”/cable TV?
Further, in many cases, supposedly “new media” stuff like (for example, DemocracyNow, and/or audio “Podcasts”) implicitly — or explicitly — “inherit” structural elements derived from the “old media” (with which they are — supposedly — “competing”).
I’m off-topic, here.
My point is: Trump’s “base” (xenophobes/White nationalists, “small town” folks who mis-remember their youth as having resembled Leave it To Beaver or the Andy Griffith Show, etc.) — are going to be sorely dissapointed, and/or enraged WHEN he fails to magically time-warp everything back to whatever bullshit they happen to be mis-remembering.
And THAT is when things are gonna get ugly as fuck.
Because, let’s be honest: disgruntled “nostalgia” tends to lead to stuff like THIS:
(Hint: David Duke was fawning over Trump — just sayin’.)