From Business Insider:
“A central tenet to President-elect Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was that free trade had decimated American manufacturing.
Workers across the country were having their jobs taken from them and given to lower wage workers at plants in Mexico, China, and other countries. Their lost jobs and economic success were because the amorphous establishment had failed to protect them from the future.
They are partially right. Elected leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, failed to protect and help them adapt to the changing economic landscape. However, it was not trade that did these workers in, but automation.
According to the Brookings Institution, 85% of the manufacturing jobs lost since 1980 have been as a result of technological innovations that have rendered human workers obsolete. Companies now rely on automated machines to perform the tasks of low-skilled workers. The machines never tire, can work 24/7, cost less over their lifetime than the worker they are replacing, and maximize output. For the manufacturer, automation is an economic no-brainer.”