[Marxism] Fwd: Trump, trade and technology | Michael Roberts Blog

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Dec 10 06:17:39 MST 2016

The biggest reason Trump — or anyone else — can’t bring back home these 
manufacturing jobs is because they have been lost in large part to the 
success of efficiency. Manufacturing output in the US was at an all-time 
high in 2015. Over the past three-and-a-half decades, manufacturers have 
shed more than seven million jobs while producing more stuff than ever. 
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reported in The Manufacturing 
Footprint and the Importance of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs that “If you try 
to understand how so many jobs have disappeared, the answer that you 
come up with over and over again in the data is that it’s not trade that 
caused that — it’s primarily technology,”…Eighty percent of lost jobs 
were not replaced by workers in China, but by machines and automation. 
That is the first problem if you slap on tariffs. What you discover is 
that American companies are likely to replace the more expensive workers 
with machines.”

What these studies reveal is what Marxist economics could have told them 
many times before.  Under capitalism, increased productivity of labour 
comes through mechanisation and labour shedding i.e. reducing labour 
costs.  Marx explained in Capital that this is one of the key features 
in capitalist accumulation – the capital-bias of technology – something 
continually ignored by mainstream economics, until now it seems.


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