UAW and the Automotive industry in the 1970s

Dear Professor Wolff, My name's Sean, I'm a philosophy major from Sydney. My question is about the automotive industry in the US during the 1970s. From what I gather, the domestic auto industry suffered during the 1970s and onwards, due in part to the 1973 oil crisis and increased imports from foreign investors, particularly investors from Japan, which were producing vehicles that were more fuel efficient. I'm aware of the fact that the UAW and Ford filed for a Trade Safeguard Case that was rejected by the USITC. Eventually, Japan agreed to impose voluntary economic restraints upon itself. So I think I more or less understand all of that. My problem is this: the voluntary economic restraints did not work and the the domestic US auto industry continued to degrade. Why is that? How would these voluntary economic restraints have been different to, say, raising tariffs in the ordinary way, and what kind of difference do you think it would have made if the USITC did not reject the UAW's calls for trade safeguards? I would even be grateful if you could just point me to some good sources, thank you! --Sean


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  • commented 2016-08-28 11:16:56 -0400
    To clarify, I ask this because I’ve often seen people attribute the decline in the US auto industry to Trade Unions, and I don’t buy that. My instinctual reaction is that it probably had something to do with various Neoliberal policies that were beginning to emerge around that time.
  • published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2016-08-28 11:02:58 -0400

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