How do we build Socialism in Western Nations when they've been largely deindustrialised and lost manufacturing...

How do we build Socialism in Western Nations when they've been largely deindustrialised and lost manufacturing, with almost all their income being based around Finance and services?

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how does that change anything?

If it worked for countries that were decades behind in industrial development…

[citation needed]

Are you being intentionally retarded? One of the core tenets of Neo-liberalism is deindustrialisation and outsourcing of manufacturing. outside of Germany, this was huge and one of the largest points of the Reagan and thatcher years.

It may be possible as capitalism continues to break down - we just have to be there to spread the message and provide a community for those who are being ground into the dirt by the existing global paradigm of neoliberal capitalism. Marx was largely right about the factors that would grind capitalism to a halt, how it eventually turns inward and begins to self-cannibalize, but he was wrong about the timing of such an event (largely based on his misunderstanding of human nature, or perhaps more accurately, how well the spectacle would be able to sway your average Joe) and he had no way of knowing about how climate change and resource scarcity would build into capitalism's breakdown.

All the same, people are being exploited and the contemporary structure and methodology of society is unsustainable. Make them, your friends, your peers, your family, everyone you can, aware of that, and show them who their true enemy is - (hit for Holla Forums lurkers, it isn't jews, blacks, soyboys or feminists - it's the rich, it's the people at the top of the economic pyramid, it isn't people with less power than you, it's people with MORE power than you).

All the core capitalist countries still have substantial amounts of industry in them. The deindustrializing effects of globalization are exaggerated to distract from the real culprit of job losses automation.

It would still be relatively easy to build socialism in the Capitalist core their industrial base is not what it one was but they still have well developed infrastructure, telecommunications networks, and human capital reserves. The real problem is that supply chain are globally integrated, the folly of building socialism in one country is even more apparent now than in the 20th century. The revolution will be global or won't happen at all. The USA is the only place where socialism in one country can work.

Nah, you got it wrong. The manufacturing capacity is still there - look at outputs of manufactured goods, tons of steel, and so on. It's just that it's all so automated very few people work there anymore. Building socialism in this case just involves spreading the fruits of that automation wider, not building outdated labour intensive factories here just to give people something to do.

Talking about burgerland. Manufacturing for military industry still exists and it includes most components necessary for restarting a civilian manufacturing economy.

This. We need to adapt to whatever form labor takes, not what it was a century or even a decade ago.

It doesn't matter whether a nation is deindustrialized or industrialized, as long as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen with nobody working to stop it, only exacerbate it. There comes a clear breaking point.

And that breaking point will only be exacerbated by climate change's effects on the poor.

That just isn't true. Hundreds of factories across the US and UK have shut down since the 80's, and manufacturing accounts for a now tiny share of the economy compared to what it used to be.

Woah, hey there Hoochie, haven't seen you for a while.
I second what you've said - wealth inequality in itself can be enough to generate a revolution, but the destabilizing effects of climate change, resource scarcity and the breakdown of global trade will exacerbate social/economic issues to the extent where the average person cannot avoid it, cannot help but deal with it as a reality of their life, and at that time, perhaps, they will do something about it.

You're being fooled by the money fetish. The only true measure of industrial production is the volume and quality of goods involved, not their value as measured by other (real but also increasingly representational) commodities.

This isn't entirely true, at least in the UK. While manufacturing has been the neglected child of our economic policy, iirc it still accounts for more of GDP than the City of London. It's just politicians fall over backwards to placate the city, which filters all the way down into giving it disproportionate influence.

That doesn't change the fact we need a clear line to build socialism on following the revolution.

two interesting graphs. both exclude financial services, but the ONS writes that

£124bn financial, £155bn manufacturing.

That doesn't change the fact it's increasingly been shrinking in terms of actual fraction of our GDP. UK manufacturing sector has shrunk by 2 thirds in just 30 years.

Volume hasn't gone up that much at all, especially considering the increasing population.

I'm all for optimism, but we gotta accept we aren't Germany and that industrialisation is real. Yes, manufacturing is still here, but it can't sustain the entire economy if we attempted to build socialism alone. What manufacturing there is left is increasingly specialist also.

So how do we explain the fact that manufacturing only accounts for 1/10th of the British economy?

At least according to the Office of National Statistics

(Please don't think I'm attacking you. I want to believe you're right.)

Production has simply tracked consumption.

Because the value of the service and financial economy has increased enormously. Relative=/= absolute numbers.

Doesn't that graph show the Primary and Secondary Sectors are dying in the US, or am I being dumb here?

Also, why has consumption decreased?

Other sectors grew faster while manufacturing has more-or-less remained where it was before. It hasn't actually shrunk, it's just not growing, or not growing as fast as other sectors. I'm by no means being optimistic about the state of UK manufacturing - I'm just saying that it's not too dead for us to change direction yet.

There's a secondary point when you look at the makeup of what has grown. You'd think, from the way we go about it, 50% of the UK's GDP was financial services, but it's a sector smaller than manufacturing and one that gets far more attention. You've got large growth mostly in non financial services that could plausibly be socialised - we're going to need "Information and Communication" staff, and while "Administrative and support services" may be bloated there's little problem with socialising managers either. With a little more love from the government (and more importantly, a little more animosity to the city) it's not outside possibility that manufacturing could grow again in the UK. There's nothing special in the air in Germany that means they can make things and we can't.

Keep in mind though that my primary mindset is around paying our way in the present capitalist world more than how we're going to orient things in a revolutionary scenario, Britain might well run into problems manufacturing everything it needs in those circumstances, though food is probably a greater concern than manufactured goods.

I'm no economist so this is just wild guess, but there was time in history (at about time of opium war) when 1/3 of UK's economy ran on taxing tea trade. That does not mean less tea is imported there now.

I believe that while communist revolution would "hurt the economy", people's lives can remain largely unaffected - if, of course, UK would not be banned from global trade.

My guess is the infrastructure deficit - there is a lot of steel that should be going into new bridges, roads and railways but that isn't because of muh debt muh deficit. This is imho a bigger problem for the US right now than a raw lack of industry; the supporting infrastructure literally rots away.

This is a very good post, thank you for all this.

I'm still just confused as to the obvious contradiction in the statistics

Also, if manufacturing hasn't actually decreased, but rather, stagnated, why is it that so many faced unemployment in the Thatcher years and the far North remains abandoned, and unemployment is higher there? it isn't as if the population boomed or anything.

Also, is outsourcing just a massive meme then if manufacturing hasn't dropped that much? I suppose a better question would be why hasn't outsourcing happened, and the manufacturing sector shrunk?

Like, your posts have basically muddled my entire perception of the British Economy and i'm incredibly confused now.

So why the manufacturing decline? A decreased demand for infrastructure explains the loss of the Primary sector, but what about things like the Midwest Car Industry? If it's just that the Service and financial sectors went up, why is Detroit still such a shithole?

Outsorcing is not a meme. It simply means that instead of making stuff in UK to be sold to Poles, porky from UK built second factory in Poland.

So then why hasn't manufacturing shrunk more in the UK?

I guess because there was such massive market gap.

if a country like the DPRK could rebuild after being utterly levelled in the 1950s, i see no reason why wealthy countries couldn't re-industrialise easily

In the ONS statistics, 7.2% GVA is financial, so (not going to actually do the maths) manufacturing should come out somewhere around 10%, high 9%, within the ballpark. Note that the two graphics I posted (which appear to show manufacturing at ~15%) exclude financial services. The largest part of GDP is non financial services. Then you've got manufacturing+production, distribution, financial services, construction and agriculture.

As for unemployment, automation combined with nothing popping up to replace manufacturing and people not moving elsewhere, the government no longer believing in demand management policies, and shifting of what makes up our manufacturing base. (i.e. a move from say manufacturing televisions to cars, which may be less worker intensive.)
Also note in the first graph that manufacturing output does drop off during the Thatcher years (being lower in 1981-4ish period than in ~1969, before recovering a bit), and then there's the decimation of primary industry. I don't have data to hand, but primary resource extraction has probably seen large real-terms decline. I doubt we mine anywhere near as much of our own coal, or make as much of our steel as we used to - and if we do mine any coal, it'll be with far less labour-intensive methods than were used in past.

For outsourcing, it has and it hasn't happened. It's less that Amstrad stopped making computers in Britain and moved to making them in China, and more that Amstrad stopped making computers period and we started importing them from China. In terms of goods, we do import much more than we export (see third image for what we export in goods) - and even when you factor in services (current account basically = balance of trade including services.) we're importing more than we export, but it's largely services, including non financial services that we "export." Our persistent failure to balance imports and exports is concerning, and one of the signs we have screwed up economic management - even if we haven't killed the manufacturing sector dead. Note also that if manufacturing seems like a relatively small part of our exports, we've got a reasonably sized domestic market to make things for.

One reason among many is that it's quite hard to make certain things like aeroplane parts, or certain computer technology. You could hand Chinese factories the blueprints for some of those things, and try as they might they just couldn't actually build them in any reasonable space of time. You need the skills and technology to manufacture the manufacturing equipment, or manufacture the equipment that will manufacture that equipment, and that's going to cost a lot more money (not to mention time, something you can't save up and spend later.) than just staying in the UK, especially if there's any funny business with export licences.

Also we've got/had EU membership, so we don't pay tariffs whereas goods made in China would, which could knock off any savings even if you did go down the route of making things there.

So how do we reconcile the contradiction in evidence? There's obvious decline and unemployment in the Rustbelt and North England, but at the same time… manufacturing numbers haven't really dropped.


That'll be automation. Chart is from the USA, but shows the general trend quite well.

Stop looking for political solutions to a game that’s already rigged from the start. Even if you had socialism among western countries in Europe, what would stop said country from being flooded by 3rd world refugees from any of the countries that the US & NATO are destroying? What would stop the environmental destruction? Your alternative isn’t a real alternative at all, just a different path to the same destination, even if you don’t realize it. So go ahead and cling to “muh modern civilization”, it’s about as useful as clinging to the titanic as it sinks.

Wow SocDem poster, once again shown you're the smartest here. I'm just going to try to take in everything you've said.

The general point I've received here though is:

Thank you. As a followup, is there any reason why the UK can't subsidize manufacturing further? especially in the rustbelt.

Seems like that's the ultimate solution to both the trade deficit and unemployment. But I'm not educated in economics so I'm probs missing something big.

What would you recommend then?

That's the gist of it. It's worth mentioning that it wasn't just automation under Thatcher - the real process was more like:
Inflation is high > Government increases interest rates to control inflation > borrowing costs increase > manufacturers (And other employers) that can't meet repayments at insane interest rates go bankrupt > unemployment skyrockets > new businesses appear, or the capacity of those that survived grows, but employment doesn't recover fully due to automation, and because the government doesn't believe in trying to spend more to boost demand and just leaves unemployment to settle where it may.

But I left that out since it complicates the explanation (indeed, the above is itself a massive oversimplification) while mostly being historical. I mention it now because I could never forgive myself for implying it was a benign technological process the Thatcher government had no part in.

There might be some - EU laws discouraging it, questions about justifying handouts to Porky, or the risk of cosseting industries from competition when they do need to modernise - but my impression is the main reason before that is that politicians daren't think of it, preferring to avoid intervening in industry and being more concerned with what the City asks for. There's also the case that psychologically we love a highly valued pound and worry about devaluation - even if what a high pound means in practice is that our goods or more expensive to buy abroad, and other people's goods are cheaper to buy here, though on top of that I remember it being mentioned that British manufacturers are very short termist - so if the pound devalues, they prefer to take higher profits from that by selling to the people they were selling to before, rather than by taking advantage of it by expanding to sell to new people who can now afford to buy their stuff.

I'd agree manufacturing is the solution to getting us out of our messy situation as well, but my knowledge is quite general, so I can't say much on on the best ways to go about helping it, other than for governments to take the first step of wanting to help it. Lowering the value of the pound (Japan's central bank does this with the Yen.), finding solutions to the short-termism of British industry and politicians, and generally boosting the attention government gives manufacturing are most of what comes to mind as options - nothing exciting like "If we spent half of what we do on Jobseeker's allowance on subsidizing car exports, you'd be able to get 75% of the unemployed working in the car industry, and slash the trade deficit." - uncharacteristically you could say I've only got very market oriented solutions. Labour's policy of a National Investment Bank is interesting, in terms of having a bank specifically created to lend for infrastructure and for long-term business investment where (I've read, anyway) British private banks are usually doing a pretty bad job at offering what industry needs, since they can get a safer return throwing money at people bidding up house prices.

Specifically on unemployment and in post-industrial areas it's probably again a matter of lacking the will, afraid of the cost, or just not interested in intervention rather than any inherent reason we couldn't do anything. For the present Conservative government, they know they aren't going to win seats up there anyway so there's little reason for them to care electorally, but I can't think of any reason why we couldn't offer subsidies, or tax breaks, or some other kind of incentive to get businesses to set up in areas of high unemployment. Another thing to consider would be higher infrastructure spending, and rebalancing that spending outside London, since that helps make areas more competitive in general. Most of that thinking applies to any industry - even if we decide we're going to try and run a trade deficit until the sun burns out, there's little inherent reason a social media company should be based in London rather than the north of England, it's just a matter of finding a way to push things outwards rather than accepting the country should be run in the interests of one city.


So in other words you want us to live like sub-saharan shit skins? Nah.

Howdy. You must be new here

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Just woke up, thank you for this explanation user.

Anprims are the most embarrassing leftists by far

bullshit. Most western countries sans United States Japan Germany are shit tier starbucks restaurant museums and financial industry bubbles. Look at steel and manufacturing by country it's not even close.

Out of all of those books, she'd be least likely to understand Submission. Women can never understand Houellebecq.

Maoism in the first world, put your trust in the lumpenproletariat as Mao did in the peasants, organize around unironic, non-alienating enthusiasm and community building.

Well OP you're asking for too much. If someone cracks that problem, they'll be the next Lenin.

As it is, I'd like to say that the true rise of leftist activity will start when Porky runs out of people "willing" to be exploited. At the most extreme case, this would mean every country on Earth would be equally industrialized and have the same capitalist class structure, which is patently absurd. However, having all countries at least start to industrialized would be an immense boon.

Right now China's on the way out for cheap labor, as its production costs are reaching the same as America's, but there's still s shitload of potential cheap labor in Asia, and Africa is almost completely untapped. If those countries manage to do as China did and invest that foreign investment into industrializing, it would greatly shorten the time for hopefully world revolution to start. But that's a big if and they won't, because China was a singularity. All other sweatshop countries will just squander that investmnt and keep their people miserable, like they have been doing since the end of WW2. China, having been outside the capitalist world for several decades after the NWO started, wasn't part of that arrangement, and so was more or less alowed to develop itself without retaliation.

Gee I wonder if having no proletarians or peasants will impact the viability of a workers' State.

What are you talking about? Proletarianization is happening so quick and so suddenly it's causing shocks to the system, the proles are everywhere and you're one of them, every single one has revolutionary potential in some fasion

This guy got it. We could easily re-industrialize the first world and make the USSR's industralization in the 30s look like neoliberal stagnation.

Red Manifest Destiny will save the world, the quick conversion of the capitalist hegemony to a socialist vanguard state on the international stage would be literally unstoppable.

Internal shifts mostly. The US still builds a lot of cars, just not in Detroit. Even things like semiconductors that are steroptyped as typically Asian made still get produced in the US to a large degree. In short, there is still an industrial base. It's not as large as it could or in some cases should be, but there is enough to work with for building a socialist project. The Soviet Union gave it a good run with a lot less.

Jest let the US highways rot and build trains. Cars are a waste of material anyways.

absolutely bourgeois

Agree in principle, but in the transition you will still rely on cars as you have to reshape your entire built geography. Yo need to keep the roads for a while still to simply maintain the productive capacities that will build your trains and dense towns and cities.

Literally the "would that end racism?" but leftoid version.

You realise that the implementation of socialism in formerly imperialist nations would still fuck up the imperialist system, right?

If you live in sweatshop country, yeah. Meanwhile, the West has spent the last few decades exporting its proletarian jobs, and melded everything between lower-middle class and lumpenproletariat together into the precariat, which most definitely isn't showing much revolutionary potential. Porky effectively commodified the Western proletariat and sold it to China and other sweatshop havens.