New Castle News

January 31, 2014

Major economic shifts are changing America

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

Most people will recall that, early in our American history, farming was a dominant economic activity.

Consequently, the political and social structures and institutions in the country reflected that dominance.

After the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution took hold in the United States, causing a radical shift in how the majority of the people earned a living.

Manufacturing became a dominant economic activity, resulting in a change in the country’s political and social structures, leading to major disruptions in people’s lives.

A similar radical shift can be discerned beginning in the 1970s and 1980s with the OPEC oil price shock and continuing to date.

In this latter period, manufacturing, as measured as a part of the Gross Domestic Product, has steadily lost ground; finance and financial services (broadly defined) have grown steadily more dominant in terms of their presence in the GDP.

Whether we realize it or not, this new paradigmatic shift is disrupting our political and social structures and institutions.

Are our local, state and national leaders aware of this? If this shift is creating a new set of winners and losers, how will society react?

Frank DeFelice

Ashberry Lane

New Castle