The decision by Alaska’s governor, Mike Dunleavy, and US President Donald Trump to sacrifice the environment for a gold mine is an extremely bad one, but I understand why it has happened. The offshoring of Americans’ jobs to Mexico and Asia has put millions of Americans into a situation in which their livelihood is not assured.
To open up protected environment and national monuments to mining is Trump’s only way of creating real jobs. The problem is that the external costs of the jobs in terms of ecological damage exceeds the value of the wages and mining output. In other words, the mining cannot cover its costs, but people devoid of alternative prospects cannot think about the future. The future is down the road, and many Americans are no longer confident they are going to be here down the road. For many, it is now or never.
So, we can add to the external costs of the offshoring of American jobs that I documented in an earlier article the ecological damage from the go-ahead government is giving to mining ecological fragile lands in an effort to replace some of the offshored jobs.
People will blame Trump for destroying salmon and the ecosystem dependent on salmon, and Trump is in part responsible, but the real responsibility rests on the global corporations who moved their production for US markets abroad and on Wall Street that drove the process. All that capitalism has left to loot in America are the national monuments and forests and protected ecological areas.
The offshoring of US jobs was an act of suicide by the United States.
Copyright © 2019 Paul Craig Roberts
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.