Is the Trump-Bannon Economic Nationalism for Real?

Many people see it happening, the Blockbusterization of America. From 2001 to 2016, department store jobs fell by 46 percent. The decline of these jobs have come about due to the fact that the New World, the online world, is replacing human interaction in the economy at a rapid pace.

Now, there is nothing groundbreaking in this acknowledgement. Pretty much any person on the street understands that technology is replacing the old brick and mortar stores of the past. You will hear many people call it a “shame” and “sad” to see. But, it seems like the impact will not truly be understood until technology has swallowed a giant portion of the economy.

It is undoubtedly true, that technology has increased efficiency and access to more goods and services for everyone. Economies throughout history have been driven by technology and to try to stop that is to put your head in the sand. The difference is that when technology improved in the past it didn’t eliminate this amount of jobs in the process. “The next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle class jobs obsolete,” said President Obama in his farewell address.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has only been focusing on NAFTA and other trade agreements as being the main reason why American manufacturing jobs have been lost. But, a study conducted by Ball State University shows that 87 percent of manufacturing jobs have come about due to increased efficiency and 13 percent because of trade agreements.

This last weekend, news broke that Amazon had purchased Whole Foods for a hefty $13.7 billion. Amazon is looking to cut the prices Whole Foods charges customers in order to compete with other grocers. This sounds good for everyone that has shopped at Whole Foods and received the higher than expected total when checking out. The problem is that in order to cut prices, companies usually look to cut jobs. This is no more evident in the technology sector.

We haven’t heard one peep from Donald Trump about what this acquisition might mean for American jobs and employment. All indications are that the merger will not face any scrutiny from Federal officials. We cannot as a society attack efficiency and productivity or else we run the risk of being left behind in the global economy. But what is our game plan going forward? Will Steve Bannon use this opportunity to push for his view of “enlightened capitalism” that takes into account one’s fellow compatriots over profits?

By even giving voice to the millions of Americans who are losing jobs to technology, the Trump Administration could gain approval from a majority of Americans, at a time when the President’s approval ratings are at record lows.