To the Editor:  China and Steel

Steel and cars were once the backbone of our country. My dad worked for a steel and aluminum mill in Edgewater in a plant that once made Ford cars.  Steel started to lose its strength right after JFK stood up to Management and the unions pushing for high prices, and he demanded a roll back to prevent inflation in all prices set for customers. Do not blame JFK, as we were entering what Daniel Ball, an economist, called a Post- Industrial future for the US and Europe. 

Later, with trade steals, steel mills headed to third world nations, including China where in the 1950s then leader Mao Zedong in the 1950s called “for an iron smelter in every backyard.”  Yes, Mao was given to hyperbole and crises like starvation, but maybe not so, as farmland was built on with many steel mills, and steel paid off in the long run! I am not forgetting about starvation!

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China began its work with steel and exports to climb to second as an economic power surpassing Japan and others, and causing many American manufacturing jobs to leave the United States for China, a national tragedy to many workers now 40 and above!

Steel output did grow immensely in China, as production slipped in the US, and China was offered Most Favored Nation (MSN) status with the help of the United States. China could now export steel, and build a boom at home, based on steel as a commodity product.  China found out early unlike Brazil and Russia today that an economy based solely on commodities is not a good move when prices fall on items such as, steel and oil!

China has begun to diversify its economy, and has started developing a service sector to sell services, and built products for a home market.  More and more, China has felt the corruption of state-owned steel industries, and has launched a big project to cut-back on steel for the above idea of diversification, and finally, to admit to its population the danger of climate factors with its immense air and gas pollution! 

Bill Weightman, Hardyston