Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A puzzlement in two charts

Like all good loosely leftish agitators, I'm never free of the suspicion that our corporate overlords really run the show. After all, notions of neo-liberalism, surplus value, exploitation, all the intellectual paraphernalia of leftism, assure me that's how our advanced capitalism works.

But then there is this (click to enlarge):

According to the Brookings analysis, the less-than-500 counties that Clinton won nationwide combined to generate 64 percent of America's economic activity in 2015. The more-than-2,600 counties that Trump won combined to generate 36 percent of the country's economic activity last year.

Clinton, in other words, carried nearly two-thirds of the American economy.

With the exceptions of the Phoenix and Fort Worth areas, and a big chunk of Long Island, Clinton won every large-sized economic county in the country.

Jim Tankersley, Washington Post

Bringing the focus in a little closer to one of the country's strongest economic drivers, there's this:

Mr Trump, who is said not to use a personal computer, has railed against giants like Amazon and Apple, and has promised to cut the country’s H-1B visa programme, a source of skilled workers for the sector. He has criticised the “terrible” National Institutes of Health, America’s largest science-funding agency, and is expected to cut research funding for NASA. More than 100 tech founders and investors signed an open letter in July denouncing the future president as a “disaster for innovation”.

Mr Trump’s testy relationship with the tech industry reflects a growing divide between the Republican Party and America’s most advanced industries. In counties that favoured Democratic presidential candidates between 2000 and 2016, employment in high-tech industries grew by over 35%. In Republican-leaning counties, such employment actually fell by 37%. Today, there are more than three times as many high-tech industry workers in places that voted for Hillary Clinton as there are in those that favoured Mr Trump.

The uneven distribution of tech talent can be explained in part by job growth in historically liberal places like San Francisco and Seattle. However, changing voting patterns in formerly conservative places like Houston, Dallas, and Fairfax County, Virginia account for most of the shift. In 2000, 36 of the 100 counties with the highest number of tech industry workers voted for the Republican Party. By 2016, this figure had fallen to just 19.

The Economist

Okay, so Trump and the GOPers have got the fossil fuel sector on their side. But the rest of advanced capitalism, decidedly not so much so.

These aren't the people I'd look to lead the resistance to our emerging autocrat. If I had my druthers, I'd look to the National Domestic Workers Union and other marginalized folks who keep the world going. But it is nonetheless true that the most vibrant sectors of US capitalism suddenly find themselves on the outside looking in. They aren't going to like that. When they get their wits about them, they are going to create bumps on the GOPer road. Naturally, they'll also throw the rest of us under the bus if it serves their interests.

But whatever friction they create, it might serve the interests of broader, more democratic (small "d") resistance. Enhancing friction is the name of the game right now...

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