The United States is moving towards a service economy; however, if American manufacturing goes away, then so will our services.
In the 1960s, manufacturing in the United States accounted for 53 percent of the economy, by the 1970s 25 percent and only 9 percent in 2000. Americans have had a long history with manufacturing, but in the past several decades America has been losing its grip on this sector. This loosening grip is due to globalization and outsourcing.
The goal of President Trump’s America First policy is to bring back jobs to the United States. During my week of field research in Washington, I asked officials if they thought President Trump’s America First policy was the most effective way to bring back jobs. I had an array of responses: Some said that it was good but would need a few adjustments. Others were against it.
One official said, “Under the America First rhetoric, you can forget the idea that to grow as a nation we need the help of other nations,” referring to the isolationist theory. Isolationism originated in 1940s about a year before the United States entered WWII.
For America to continue to prosper, it needs to stay competitive especially with how economically globalized our world is. To stay competitive, America needs the support of other countries amid negotiations that will benefit the United States in trade deals.
Our economy depends on trade, trade depends on manufacturing, and many American jobs depend on domestic manufacturing. It is very important for the U.S. to protect the manufacturing sector. But officials I interviewed said we need to freely participate with other nations in a global economy to reach our goal of preserving and bring back American jobs.