• Trumponomics in post-industrial America: understanding the causes of deindustrialization and its role in the emergence of right-wing populist economics

      Greenman, David A. (2018-05)
      Since 2001, the American economy has swiftly shed over six million manufacturing jobs. To this day, large swaths of the American rural working class are left struggling to compete with domestic and external forces that are driving American labor away from the production process altogether. Much of the political rhetoric surrounding this economic phenomenon is dominated by politicians pointing fingers across the Pacific towards China and their ‘unfair’ trade practices. This technique of political and economic scapegoating was heralded by Donald J. Trump who emerged onto the American political stage with the immediate incrimination of China in the economic woes of the American working class. Although the American trade deficit with China is an often cited cause of American deindustrialization, are there other factors at play? To what extent can the increasingly widespread variables of automation and service growth explain the “hollowing out” of the American manufacturing sector? Additionally, to what degree is Donald Trump’s anti-globalist and economic nationalist rhetoric responsible for his shocking electoral win in 2016? I explore these topics together and illustrate the troubling recent shifts in the American labor force as well as the American electorate.