The Changing Face of the US Economy

Fading Era of Industrialization

The US economy has undergone substantial change – vis-à-vis industries and approach – over the last five decades.  For example, the industrial economy has undergone a huge abatement with the mechanization of a lot of the older industries.  Consequently a lot of the industries have moved their businesses out of the country seeking lower costs.

The numbers speak for themselves. For example, in 1979 there were 19.4 million manufacturing jobs in America.  Today, there are only 12.7 million.

So what has replaced this?  According to Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, a knowledge-based economy that he has dubbed “FTE”: Finance, Technology and Electronics.    He believes that this is concentrated in specific areas like Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle (Microsoft).

This is also known as the sharing economy – an economic principle continuously in flux.  Referred to as “one of the fastest growing business trends in history,” it has encountered over $23 billion in VC funding investments since 2010. It uses technology to simplify the process in which goods/services are exchanged between two or more entities.  The original idea is that there are enough entities/individuals who share values who can benefit from a skill/asset that is not being utilized to full capacity which occurs through a shared marketplace/peer-to-peer application.

The concept of the sharing economy is not a new one (rural communities lived that way for thousands of years;bartering; the kibbutz concept; communal living etc.).  But with the Internet it becomes a lot easier and more accessible to the masses.

Yes the US economy is changing.  But a lot of that change is just  making life a lot easier and a lot less labor intensive for the average person.