Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Import pressure causing extremism

Are foreign countries causing political extremism? This article from the NY Times seems to suggest so. We have discussed this idea in class a lot, and the Times seems to present a rationale for the political polarization that we have seen in recent years. The article explains how a small town in Alabama called Courtland that once had been a lively manufacturing location has essentially had the life taken out of it due to increasing imports from China. It goes on to introduce two residents, a mother and a daughter, who support Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump respectively. Both believe that these politicians are what America needs to be able to fight back pressures from Chinese imports. The essence of the article can be summed up in one quote, that “exposure to import competition is bad for centrists … We’ve known that political polarization and income inequality track each other, but that pattern is simply a correlation. We’ve now found a mechanism for how economic changes create further political divisions.”
Do you think this could be a reason why Sanders and Trump, both more polarized candidates, have seen a good degree of success in this election?

Here's the article


  1. I'm not sure that the actions and decisions of foreign countries or domestic companies are the reason that people find solace in political extremism. Political beliefs stem from either your personal or religious morals and ethics, or your individual experiences. Individual communities often are extremely polarized because the group of people have a lot in common and therefore similar experiences. What I find interesting is that so many people seem to agree with political extremes.

  2. I agree with you Anthony, but I also think it is really interesting that this election in particular, these "outsiders" are so popular. I think it could be a combination of all of these things, as well as maybe voters being fed up with the status quo of politics and wanting to have their voices heard.