When you look at the declining productivity gains over the past few decades, much of the slowdown can be attributed to this "disease," wherein more and more employment has shifted away from manufacturing and into services. Manufacturing processes are more easily automated than most service jobs, so the shift to large-scale, centralized manufacturing has improved efficiencies and profits in that sector.
|From Albert Bates at The Great Change|
The changes coming to manufacturing also apply to farming, since our farming is almost all conducted on factory farms nowadays. The graph that tells the story of the world's predicament has appeared here before, but looking at the details of when peaks occur in food production, then other industrial output, and finally services per capita shows the order in which we should expect to see prices rise. Even now, we are seeing the price of food rise faster than inflation. Those rising prices, first in food and then other manufacturing, will attract more entrants into the production sectors. Entrepreneurs start locally. Most of those new businesses will not easily scale as they will struggle with the same growth limiting forces that gave them an underserved niche in which to launch their business.
A retrenchment from globalism will drive much of this return to small scale. The current administration's overt and inadvertent dismantling of trade and foreign relations will facilitate this retrenchment. In that respect, their steps and missteps will aid the transition to localism. There is a difference, however, between localism and nationalism. Old Blowhard promotes the latter, but has no interest in the former. Additional steps must be taken with respect to commerce that will foster localism in order to keep employment up and pollution down as we revisit industrialism and later descend into agrarianism.