In America, war between old and new industries challenges culture
Edward Goldberg, 11/07/17
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The 2016 election brought into daylight two sharp fissures in the American electorate created by globalization. The first fissure is between the “newocracy,” America’s new aristocracy that benefits from globalization, such as the multinational manager, the technologist, and the aspirational members of the meritocracy, versus the refugees from globalization. The second fissure more hidden from the headlines, but equally important, is the outright political war between the new globalized technology industries and the old industrial industries, such as steel and coal.
What has made the United States the principal creator of the knowledge age is its ability to adapt to change, an ability derived from American cultural respect for the freedoms to take risks, to innovate and to be entrepreneurial. Innovation by definition brings about change, creates winners and losers, and challenges the power of the entrenched interests that have become accustomed to the status quo.
Intensifying the war between the old and new industries is that in the American system, the notion that government and industry are totally independent of each other is a simplistic myth. How long the losers survive, and how quickly the winners can grow, is partly determined by which industries get government support, and which do not. For instance, the old industries today want government protection from imports with penalizing duties, while the new industries want free trade. While “made in America” is an important slogan for U.S. Steel, protectionism is an anathema for Apple with its need for global sourcing and exchange of ideas.
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