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Market forces

Surely anyone reading this blog has read a lot of stories making this basic point:

There’s a reason that Donald Trump didn’t have a crowd of wind power workers standing behind him at his rallies, and it goes beyond just his disdain for windmills off the coast of his Scottish golf course. The reason is that anyone who knows how to build or service wind power was out building and servicing wind power. It’s not just the fastest growing segment of America’s energy picture, it’s the fastest growing occupation, period.

The fastest-growing occupation in the United States — by a long shot, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — might surprise you: wind turbine technician. …

In 2016, for the first time, more than 100,000 people in the United States were employed in some manner by the wind industry, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the American Wind Energy Association.

But Trump lined up coal miners. Why? First because Trump’s anti-regulatory bent was beloved of coal mine operators who expect to increase their profit per ton by using cheaper practices requiring less labor. Second, because … they make great props. Coal miners are the go-to occupation when it comes to dangerous, under-appreciated labor. They also happen to be in a failing industry that’s in a steep decline on its way to extinction, so they’re always available.

via Daily Kos

This is by no means a new phenomenon. I’ve read a lot of history, though I freely admit I may have missed some things. But I’ve never heard of a major political party, candidate or office holder suggesting that we turn back the hands of time. I don’t recall Teddy Roosevelt promising to squash the auto industry to preserve the jobs of carriage makers, or Franklin Roosevelt trying to stop refrigerator production in order to keep the icemen comething.

Oddly enough, this is being pushed by the party that is supposed to believe in market forces. In fact, of course, it’s a party that disrupts market forces whenever those forces threaten the interests of the carriage makers and icemen of our day, provided, of course, that those carriage makers and icemen fill the campaign coffers of the Republican party. It’s a recipe for national disaster, since it discourages innovation here. It’s also a recipe for worldwide disaster, since it reduces the chance of a effective response to climate change to almost zero, for make no mistake, the Republican Party is filled with climate denial because that’s where the money is.

I should add that I am not a believer in allowing the market to bring us anywhere it wants to go. There are certainly times when market forces should be diverted or channeled. That, for instance, is why we have laws protecting the environment, which laws have pushed the market toward wind power rather than coal. It’s why we have laws protecting us from snake remedies.

It’s a major failing of the present day Democratic Party that it has failed to articulate an argument to win over the icemen of our age. Their decision to back Trump was not entirely irrational (90% irrational is about it). Nothing Hillary had to say gave them any hope, and, for many of them, they listened to Trump’s advice to black people: “What have you got to lose”, and applied it to themselves. Black people know the system all too well, and were perfectly aware they had a lot to lose, but the white males from the backwoods still think they’re special and that the system is supposed to work for them. It will be interesting to see if they ever wake up and listen to that nagging voice inside them telling them they’re being played for suckers.

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