Greater City Providence


  • So frustrating. Anyone got any better ideas how to create jobs in this state…Sigh!

  • Well, the horse called jobs left the state long ago.

    Our manufacturing was our core. The promise of the service industry was an empty one.

    In order for jobs to return to the U.S. we have to do a few things. First, it’s time to play hardball with China. Revoke most favored nation status, and if you really want to play hard, stop exporting food to China. She’ll change her tune mighty quickly.

    And before manufacturing comes back to the U.S., we need to bolster environmental law. No more free ride.

    On the same front – repeal NAFTA and the other treaties. They have done nothing but EXPORT jobs from the U.S. The only bright light at the end of that tunnel is something I’d known for a while, as the middle class rises in China and India they’ll start demanding higher wages. We’ve seen evidence of that with Foxcon already. So manufacturers will try to lower wages in the U.S. and move back here. That’s why our leadership need to put rules in place, like say DOUBLE the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and penalize any business that exports jobs, say make them pay the total U.S. salary plus 500% if they want to export a job.

    But the real first step – we need to stop this notion, this legal fiction, that corporations have the same rights as people. They should not have those rights. Imagine the U.S. if corporations never had the ability to influence the political sphere, just look at advertising alone. The whole industry would have to tell the truth, for fear of having their corporate charter revoked.

    I am seeing encouraging activity on that front – here in RI they’ve actually revoked a few corporate charters for malfeasance.

  • In other words, there is no easy answer. Unfortunately, the hard answer means that we are a generation or more from solving the problem. I feel like we are chasing jobs at all costs without analyzing the outcome and neglecting the basic functions that cities and states should be focused on.

  • Not that I disagree with most of your post, Tony, not least the evident frustration it contains, but I have to ask you, why would the manufacturers, facing the rising middle classes of India and China and the uneasy prospect of having to pay their workers fairly, decide to return jobs here the US? Why wouldn’t they rather do what they’ve already been doing for about 120 years and book it to some underdeveloped part of the world, someplace completely new where they can pay workers (who’ll be happy to have it) a meager fraction of our minimum wage?

    Remember your US history! The hemorrhaging started right here in NE, with the manufacturers heading for the American South. At the time, the US didn’t care because it was chiefly internal migration, so even though the state of RI was eventually decimated in the process, Uncle Sam was still getting his dime, so he was happy. Trouble was, he/we failed to foresee that the manufacturers would move again, which of course they did when conditions/pay improved for the Southern worker — only this time, the greener pastures lay overseas. And they’ll move again, and again, these corporations, to fatten their profit margins, to wherever workers are willing to sacrifice their lives for a few dollars a day. Because, I hate to paint with the broad brush, but corporations don’t actually give a damn about the people or the communities where they make their money — in fact, just the opposite: the corporation that has a heart only punishes itself in the long run, losing its competitive edge to a greedier fellow.

    We should be the first to point this out. Has any state been hurt more by this process than RI? I’d even argue against Michigan, based on their size — more natural resources, more metro and micro urban areas, more variation. Our only natural resource is our geographic location, and we have only the one urban area, whose strength lay in commerce and manufacturing. The ships grew too big for our natural harbor to be convenient, we lost the manufacturing aaaand … yeah. We had three centuries of economic dominance, but post-WWII, we’re looking mighty geriatric.

    Related to this topic, I sometimes wonder whether the state of RI shouldn’t sue the federal government for biased national economic policies favoring sprawl and punishing density post WWII.

  • Yes, the 38 Studios situation is frustrating and unsettled, and we can bemoan the loss of manufacturing to China; however, what of Colin Kane leading the EDC? If he were to head it, how would it impact the development of the 195 land? Would he continue that work? What if a big company were to come in to invest in the 195 land and needed EDC funding?

  • Yes, but do you know or care who commanded the 7th Cavalry after Custer? I confess, I do not.

  • The thing that I think is most frustrating about the jobs issue is that, month after month we hear one bad jobs report after another. And yet, nobody that is a government official offers any ideas for investments that may begin to reverse the economic bleeding. Do they not have any clue what needs to be done?

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