Backwardness as Economic Policy

Welcome to the age of Trumponomics

Richard Florida
Dec 2, 2016 · 2 min read

With Trump, the U.S. has elected a president who has an economic policy that is completely backward from what the country needs.

He has empowered finance capital, which, as in every crisis, needs to be reined back in. Now it will expand. He is focused on the old economy — everything from mines to factories — as a way to cultivate a new GOP majority.

He is going to do this by using out of date and ineffective incentives (such as corporate welfare), which are costly and ineffective. He is reinstating the worst of state and local economic development, using the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth to do deals.

He is also doing a massive stimulus at a time when unemployment has shrunk to 4.6 percent overall and construction unemployment is just 5.7 percent.

Across every possible dimension, Trumponomics moves backward instead of forward, emphasizing the old economy over the new.

Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Karl Marx are all doing somersaults in their respective graves.

It is as if the signal strength of the U.S. economy — the knowledge sector — does not exist.

Perhaps this is because the knowledge economy is populated by the “smarty-pantses” who have never respected or kowtowed to “The Donald.”

And there is absolutely no focus or conversation about the 70 million low-wage service workers — who account for 45 percent of the labor force — whose jobs desperately require upgrading. Of course, those are jobs that employ a largely female, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial workforce.

Trump’s is a backward-looking economic strategy that is based on propping up dying industries. It is at best a kind of Luddism; at worst, a massive redistribution of wealth to the FIRE sector of the economy, which is finance, insurance and real estate. It does nothing at all for the knowledge and service sectors, which together employ three-quarters or more of Americans.

Welcome to the age of Trumponomics!

Richard Florida

Written by

Director ofCities, University of Toronto, @MartinProsperiT, Distinguished Fellow, NYU Schack, Founder, @MIAUrbanFuture, Founder & Editor at Large @CityLab.

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