The Corner

“Mark Steyn Seems Unaware…”

The blogger Canadian Cincinnatus dissents from the general thesis of After America:

What determines the future is not one particular set of physical tendencies but the vector sum of all of them. While Mark Steyn listed many trends in his book, he did not mention the increased competetiveness of American manufacturing or the US’s increasing energy self-sufficiency. These are important factors that should not have been left out.

I didn’t mention the US’s increasing energy “self-sufficiency” because, aside from higher oil prices making domestic production more competitive in recent years, I don’t see it. As for “the increased competitiveness of American manufacturing”, see page 212:

At America’s founding, 90 per cent of the labor force worked in agriculture. Today, fewer than three per cent do. Food is more plentiful than ever, and American farms export some $75 billion worth of their produce. But they don’t need the manpower anymore.

So the labor force moved to the mills and factories. And they don’t need the manpower anymore. Manufacturing produces the same amount with about a third of the labor that it took in 1950. By 2010, the US economy had restored pre-recession levels of output but without restoring pre-recession levels of employment.

Which is yet another chill in the citizenry’s winter of discontent.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.