The story of Youngstown’s decline is one that many of you are familiar with. A big industrial steel town that was destroyed by the capital migration of the steel industry to the developing world. Nothing replaced it and today Youngstown is one of the poorest cities in the United States. While an extreme case, it’s story is not very different from Detroit, Flint, Rockford, Toledo, Camden, Harrisburg, Schenectady, and dozens of other cities, not only in the industrial heartland, but throughout much of the nation.
Hopelessness dominates the life of many of those who remain because stable employment, the core of an enjoyable and dignified life in our world, does not exist. And in this era of extreme capital mobility and the concentration of the world’s wealth into the accounts of the global 1%, Youngstown is likely to become closer to the model for the world’s economy than the exception. Too often, this isn’t realized, but this article does a good job placing Youngstown in context:
The 20th century employment model based upon domestic production of goods no longer exists in the Rust Belt. And as globalization and the service sector surge forward, the experiences of 21-year-old Bowman will be shared by millions more young people in the US and across the globe.
This is the logical progression of the global Gilded Age. Anytime you have people winning struggles to create quality jobs and dignified lives, that means those takers are stealing money from the makers who through their beneficence are providing them jobs. So the jobs have to go to people who will be truly grateful for work at sub-living wages, poor worker safety, no environmental protections, and no unions.