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A View of a New America – You Won’t Like It

Guest Author:  The following was received in an anonymous e-mail.  Some search engine research found parts of the e-mail on The Economic Collapse and rense.com.  The e-mail is reproduced here in full.  The only editing has been to add section headings and to change the type-face.

CHANGES ARE COMING

Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come.

1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book.You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can’t wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you’re holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.

6. Music.This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalog items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, “Appetite for Self-Destruction” by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, “Before the Music Dies.”

7. Television.Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It’s time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The “Things” That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud services.” That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.
In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy. If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And “They” will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.  All we will have that can’t be changed are memories.

Nineteen Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind

The United States is rapidly becoming the very first “post-industrial” nation on the globe.  All great economic empires eventually become fat and lazy and squander the great wealth that their forefathers have left them, but the pace at which America is accomplishing this is absolutely amazing.  It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution.  It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from automobiles to televisions to airplanes.  It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II.

But now we are witnessing the deindustrialization of America .  Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone.  Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period.  The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little.  Do you know what our biggest export is today?  Waste paper.  Yes, trash is the number one thing that we ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money on whatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us.  The United States has become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now  just a shadow of what it once was.

Once upon a time America could literally out produce the rest of the world combined.  Today that is no longer true, but Americans sure do consume more than anyone else in the world.  If the deindustrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of a future are we going to be leaving to our children? Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things.  So if the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a staggering pace how in the world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to be a great nation?  We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable.  Every single month America goes into more debt and every single month America gets poorer. So what happens when the debt bubble pops?

The deindustrialization of the United States should be a top concern for every man, woman and child in the country.  But sadly, most Americans do not have any idea what is going on around them. For people like that, take this article and print it out and hand it to them.  Perhaps what they will read below will shock them badly enough to awaken them from their slumber.

Here are 19 stunning facts about the deindustrialization of America:

1. The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.  About 75 percent of those factories employed over 500 people when they were still in operation.

2. Dell Inc., one of America ’s largest manufacturers of computers, has announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an investment of over $100 billion over the next decade.

3. Dell has announced that it will be closing its last large U.S. manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem , North Carolina in November.  Approximately 900 jobs will be lost.

4. In 2008, 1.2 billion cell phones were sold worldwide.  So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States ?  Zero.

5. According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

6. As of the end of July, the U.S. trade deficit with China had risen 18 percent compared to the same time period a year ago.

7. The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since October 2000.

8. According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to 10.1 million. During that exact same time period, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

9. In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.

10. Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul , Minnesota .  Approximately 750 good paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in Minnesota does not fit in with Ford’s new “global” manufacturing strategy.

11. As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.  The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

12. In the United States today, consumption accounts for 70 percent of GDP. Of this 70 percent, over half is spent on services.

13. The United States has lost a whopping 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

14. In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use.  Today it ranks 15th.

15. Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

16. Printed circuit boards are used in tens of thousands of different products.   Asia now produces 84 percent of them worldwide.

17. The United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States.

18. One prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

19. The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in the 51 years that records have been kept.

So how many tens of thousands more factories do we need to lose before we do something about it? How many millions more Americans are going to become unemployed before we all admit that we have a very, very serious problem on our hands? How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we realize that we are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy? How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide? The deindustrialization of America is a national crisis.  It needs to be treated like one.

And to underscore the above: 11/9/10:  The largest private employer in Saginaw, Michigan will soon be the city government of Beijing, as a 104-year-old unit of General Motors will be sold to new owners from China.  The $450M purchase received little attention this summer, but it is a landmark deal – the first time Chinese investors have bought a U.S. industrial operation of such scale and history. Apparently they don’t want any more Bernanke T-Bonds.

Disclaimer:  GEI editors have not independently checked or verified the facts and figures presented in this article. 

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6 Responses to A View of a New America – You Won’t Like It

  1. derryl says:

    Where do you begin to address the deindustrialization of America?

    To reindustrialize, become economically self-sufficient by manufacturing things like electronics and other consumer goods, America would have to bow out of globalization and open markets to erect import tariffs and import replacement strategies to bring home the wealth creation and the jobs, because America’s cost structure is way too high to compete with Asia in consumer goods manufacturing.

    Or to compete, America would have to radically reduce its cost structure by deflating the values of real estate and all other US prices so American workers could afford to work cheap and still afford to live in America. This would require radically reducing the nominal value of all debt along with a 1:1 reduction of all the dollars in the world that were created by those debts.

    I suppose this would be accomplished by a deflationary collapse that wiped out all the debt and all the banks and all the money. Kind of a mass bankruptcy “clean slate” approach to deflating the cost structure. Except that a deflationary free fall would not go smoothly and the economy would collapse along with the financial system. The economy provides our food and water and heat and light and medicine and gasoline and all our other necessities of life. If goods stopped moving for even a month there would be mass deaths and chaos.

    And it would be impossible to get back all the dollars because they have fled the banking system and are now owned by players in the capital markets; and the people who now have the money are different people than the ones who owe the debts.

    To collapse the debt without leaving all the money out there where it would come back in and buy the nation on the cheap, you would have to revoke the currency and start over with a new one. To begin to solve America’s money problems, deindustrialization aside for a moment, this will probably have to be done anyway. It is not safe to leave trillions of US dollars pooled up in the hands of globalist speculators, not if you plan to use the same dollars in a functional economy.

    In the debt-based money system we use, money supply and inflation must always increase or the system collapses due to unpayable debt. The debtors must have an ongoing source of income money to earn to repay their debts, even while savers who earned their money from the debtors remove that money from the economy to play it in the capital markets where it is inaccessible to most household debtors. Either that or the capital markets (the financial economy, the global money casino that bets on currencies and equities and government debt and real estate without producing anything) must be abolished and the money kept circulating in the real economy by a “narrow banking” system that really and truly does lend out depositors’ savings to business investments and low LTV mortgages. The Bank Act would need to be repealed and the money issuing power restored to Congress where it constitutionally belongs. Banks would become financial intermediaries between savers and borrowers, which is what most people naively believe banks are now.

    To restore a viable low cost manufacturing sector, bureaucrats and their 1000s of safety nazi and green delusion regulations, and all the associated fees and taxes and fines that support excessive public sector employment and salaries and pensions, would have to be eliminated. This is millions of people who have no training to do anything but shuffle paperwork and extort money from businesses and taxpayers. Right now they do little but add to America’s cost structure, as the productive sector is forced to support this very large and politically powerful parasitic sector.

    How do you begin to sell this plan to the electorate when corporate interests, who own all the mass media and fund all the green NGOs and safety nazi alarmists, would be victims of the new policies? These interests are able to make people believe in “global warming” in the middle of a blizzard. They can make people believe there is a flu “pandemic” when nobody is dying in the streets, nobody is even sick, and in fact the flu season is even milder than normal. They have hypnotic control over people’s perceptions of reality and have for decades proven their power to make most of the people believe in the opposite of the truth. At times I feel I have been transported into the Dark Ages where reason is abolished and ignorance and superstition fill everybody’s minds with mass delusions. How do you begin to oppose this kind of power?

    How do you pay for oil imports and other industrially necessary imported resources while you are deflating your money supply to reduce your cost structure to rebuild a consumer goods manufacturing sector? And how do you deal with your foreign debts? Default? Inflating away your debts by printing money is more politically possible than deflating your money and defaulting on your foreign debts.

    Mechanized industry can produce all the goods the nation can consume and export with far less than full employment in the productive economy. What do you do with the rest of the population who are not needed in production? So far the government has been hiring them in the ever expanding web of bureaucracy and niggling regulation, and service industries like finance have been hiring them to ‘innovate”, and this is choking the real economy to death. People have a psychological need to do useful work, which is why the parasite sector convinces themselves they are “helping”.

    Mass unemployment is psychologically depressing. How do you create “make work” that doesn’t interfere with the real work that needs to be done? And that makes people believe they are “contributing”?

    I don’t mean all this as a lament. It is complicated, but these are all issues that need to be addressed. I think that if it is within human ability to identify our problems, it is within our ability to figure out how to fix them.

    • Douglas Roberts says:

      Hi Derryl -
      There are lots of problems, no surprises there, but solutions will present themselves as soon as the padded walls of our economy are breached. Don’t allow yourself to think like orthodox liberals would like; think like there’s no money and solutions present themselves. We have avoided all common sense solutions – where people actually have to use their brains and act intelligently.

      As a for instance, our leaders act like bankruptcy is a fate worse than death. No way. America has a whole system for dealing with bankruptcy. Most people would not see anything different occur, versus government “rescues” with massive government borrowed money. When the money runs out, people and institutions will do what is needed.

      Right now, the biggest source of unrealized potential energy in America is to realign the populace to actually like business and to encourage it. It is to change the schools from government indoctrination centers to places that actually teach content instead of creative thought.

      I could say more, but I will say that I loved this article and appreciate the thoughts coming from this site.

  2. Sunil Chandra says:

    While most options detailed by Derryl are difficult to implement and have unacceptable down sides, one way out is lowering of wages. It continues to amaze many of us outside the US, that over 15 million Americans are jobless while most others continue to enjoy their old wage levels from the good old days. This clearly should be an unacceptable state of affairs. The country has to leave behind old fashioned notions of unfettered “free enterprise” as the corporate world lost such right of freedom when it badly let down the country. The time has come for the Government to play a more proactive role in reindustrialization as well as in job creation. Corporates need to be pushed to create more jobs – better still, offer them tax incentives on a higher employment density.

    New problems cannot be solved using old solutions and the sooner the administartion realizes this, the better will it be for America and for the rest of the world.

  3. Sunil, you might have hit the nail on the head – the problem in America is that it does NOT have unfettered “free enterprise”. Free enterprise, would just pay the wages it wants – but the government has minimum wage, set regulatory standards for operation, literally limited liability – and taxes the crap out of USA operations.

    The manufacturer of a product produced outside of the USA and imported in the usa will pay the wages normal at the point of production, will have less regulation (and not suffer the costs of complying to that regulation), will have literally zero liability (as their is no one to sue in the USA), and will never pay tax (as exporting countries generally refund to manufacturers all taxes paid in the production of the product).

    Specifically in the USA – if the cost of labor is reduced – it is still faced with the big costs of liability, regulation and taxes. The cost of labor is being reduced by automation which puts even more people out of work.

    There needs to be a head to toe government review of its laws and regulations. foreign and usa products should be taxed at the point of final sale – and not in the manufacturing chain. Minumum wage laws need to go. There needs to be liability limits – and for products manufactured outside of the USA, they need for provide proof of liability insurance for products sold (or provide a bond in lieu).

    I believe equalizing wages to the rest of the world is a necessary process, but unfortunately will not make a big dent in the unemployment.

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