Deindustrialization the destruction of U.S. factories that could not compete with sweatshop wages - the process that had absolutely nothing to do with how educated we were began in the 1960's.
That wasn't a typo, the dysfunctional model of globalization that is the love and joy of every well fed egotistical transnational CEO began decimating U.S. jobs in the garment and apparel industry 15 years before low-wage labor sinks dragged all workers both low-skilled and high-skilled into the abyss.
At the time, the garment and apparel industries were already ranked at the bottom in terms of labor remuneration. But in the end even relocating from the unionized Northeast to the South in an attempt to reduce wage rates even further would be a futile effort. The reality then as now wasn't that U.S. labor was deficient; less capable, uneducated, somehow inferior to its counterpart overseas: it was just too costly compared to its sweatshop equivalent.
Around the mid-to-late 1970's after oil-shocks and a multitude of other externalities that further perturbed an inherently destabilized global economic framework the great razing of the U.S. industrial engine in favor of substantially cheaper foreign labor began in earnest.
In an attempt to address inherent labor wage imbalances many of the largest U.S. domestic companies began hiring legions of lobbyists and sourcing their labor from around the world. The birth of crony multinational corporate influence, capital migration/mobility to lowest wage labor sinks, U.S. real-wage erosion, the loss of citizen constituent power, and run-amok non-representative governments can be traced back to these reactions by U.S. major domestic firms in the mid-1970's to a globalizing market.
Those firms not large enough to raise the capital required to indirectly control governments and become world players in the game of crony capitalism simply died. Only the largest would flourish during this short-term window. Their elite core of CEO's and other executive circular thinkers from 'top-notch' universities would reap a harvest in the billions of dollars from the toil of a new labor serfdom that could be mobilized anywhere around the earth.
No matter how you sliced it workers lost out. The "race to the bottom" had begun. Over the many intervening years all professions would be affected. Regardless of educational status, or other differentiating socio-economic characteristics all laborers would see their benefits whittled away, real-wages decline, their contribution commoditized, their roles dehumanized, and dignity denigrated in a world controlled by super-multinationals.
So what is the underlying driver of the forthcoming worldwide decline? It's a majority of global citizens who are unable to spend income at ever increasing levels when their real-wages keep falling.
Essentially, it is a global economic framework that has morphed into a contorted dysfunctional contrivance. Absolutely no amount of tweaking at the nation-state level can stabilize this inherently capital friendly, labor unfriendly model. Those who suggest (some of my earlier essays were also shortsighted) that massive infusions of governmental capital by a nation-state in the form of investments in infrastructure and education can somehow raise a nation-state above its fellows have forgotten that technological parity in a 'speed-of-light' global economy is the great capital equalizer inhibiting long-term nation-state economic superiority. All these great leaps forward would be short-lived bursts - essentially unsustainable.
We have only a single solution that may stabilize our lopsided capital friendly dysfunctional global economy.
Labor's interests must be in balance with Capital's interests. Free unobstructed flows of labor across nation-state boundaries similar to how capital migrates with little to no governmental interference is the essential component of eliminating the destructive labor-sinks that crony multi-nationals gravitate toward.
Other essential components to righting our collapsing mega-business ruled planet involve downsizing all governments to their barest functionality, outlawing all forms of lobbying, and breaking down every barrier that divides us.
This means we need to realize that ingenuity, the creative spark, technology, our creations, every element of our humanity is easily duplicated behind whatever nation-state boundaries we live. Only a truly global world united across all boundaries by rules of business, economics, and commerce that are exactly alike regardless of where you decide to work or build your factory has the hope of ever stabilizing this mess we call a 'global' economy.