The Manufacturing Industry (as we know it) is DEAD.
Whether we like it or not, industries are going to be making their products – cars, air conditioners, kitchen appliances, and the like – in other countries due to the cheaper cost of labor. And if these companies can’t physically leave America, then they’re going to invest in technology to decrease their labor cost anyways. They are going to replace their hourly wage, entry level manufacturers with machines. And there is nothing we can do to stop it. It’s just how the evolution of technology works.
No matter where manufacturing companies are located American citizens will not be employed by them, at least not to the extent of the past. So whether or not Carrier, or Ford, or whoever is on POTUS’s Weekly Hit List, is bullied into staying in America and keeping 800 workers (while still laying off 1,300), this doesn’t actually solve anything. Many jobs beyond manufacturing are in peril due to evolving technology. Truck and public transportation drivers are likely to be a thing of the past due to self-driving cars within the next 20 years. Goods-producing, mining, and manufacturing and the significant decline of working class jobs by 2020 was predicted as early as the 1980’s. This isn’t news; It’s just not well-known.
Keeping immigrants out and not letting anyone in does not address the problem. This is what dictatorships do, and America does not want to be a dictatorship. It is a democracy, and all of the noise from the people is democracy itself in all its glory.
The Real Enemy: Neglecting American Education
An action that DOES address this employment opportunity decline is taking the proposed $30 billion+ allocated to immigration “reform,” and redirecting it to education.
There will, of course, always be a need for some humans on the manufacturing floor. Someone will need to push some kind of buttons, operate some sort of machinery, know a basic level of computer science. But this isn’t a core component in curriculum. Our education is failing our citizens at the most basic level. It isn’t preparing us for the reality of today’s workforce.
The manufacturing industry is evolving, but education (and access to it) is not. If we had the option for an updated trades school curricula and supplies, trades workers would be taught to succeed in today’s workforce, not the workforce of 1980. If we had the option for updated public school curricula and supplies, citizens would be more likely to be curious about the world, and put their energy towards changing it instead of focusing on simply surviving. If public colleges had the opportunity to offer free tuition, more students would take it.
One study of Baltimore students that took 15 years showed almost no children from lower income families made it to college, while nearly all of the wealthier children did. It also found that, of the diminishing trades opportunities available to high school or college drop outs, 89% of them went to white men (who, coincidentally, had the highest percentage of drug use). And that’s just one city!
If we actually allowed our citizens even just a fighting chance at intellectual and academic opportunities, there would be more qualified Americans, and our companies would hire them. But we don’t. It’s not the immigrant’s faults that their country prepared them better for the reality of today’s workplace environment. Most major countries on the planet offers free access to public university, or at least government subsidized tuition. It’s no surprise that immigrants are more qualified for our jobs than we are. So, no, these immigrants are not taking our jobs from us, but our country IS taking our education from us. We are, statistically, one of the worst major countries in the world at math. However, we ARE one of the best in THINKING we’re the best at math. We get an A in ego and C- in knowledge. Education is the primary setting where all inequalities can be reduced and, at the rate we’re going, it doesn’t look like we’re going to pass unless our policies change drastically.
References That May Not Be Open Access
Autonomous Vehicles: The Coming Insurrection (Overview). MarketLine. July 2015. ML00019-020.
Livingstone, D.W., and Antonie Scholtz. “Reconnecting class and production relations in an advanced capitalist knowledge economy’: changing class structure and class consciousness.” Capital & Class, vol. 40, no. 3, 2016, p. 469+. Business Collection.