Noah Smith teaches finance, writes for Bloomberg News, and blogs at noahpinionblog.
In this Bloomberg News piece that went up yesterday,he works some ground many of us have also trod: that economics needs a dose of sociology to get a fuller picture of the world.
A whole lot of us, for better or worse, define ourselves by our jobs. One of the first questions you usually get in a social situation, when you’re introduced, is “what do you do?” meaning “what’s your job?” I saw some outtakes from one of Trump’s speeches, and he hit the mark with his audience, telling them how essential their jobs, or the jobs they used to have, were to defining America. Our country, in the minds of millions, is defined by our industrial might, what were called the “smokestack industries.” People were proud of and felt secure in jobs in large corporate factories, such as the auto industry. They had decent salaries, pensions, and their kids would eventually come take their places on the line. That sense of security is long gone, and that makes for a very large, receptive audience to a “make America great again” message, no matter how phony. People believe what they want to believe, which is how hucksters and hustlers make their livings.
More on this down the road.